Wednesday, 5 May 2010

The Adventures of imagination.

Today I have blogging block. Yeah, I know it is unlike me.

Perhaps you were expecting to visit and find some witty analogy or cute goddaughter story, but that's not what I got for you today.

Okay, maybe I have. But it's not a goddaughter story.

I was thirteen when my first little girl cousin was born. I remember cuddling her, and her falling asleep on my shoulder. When she was about three-years-old she hated having a bath, getting water in her eyes scared her. So I created a story for her.

Actually, I picked up a grey flannel and created a character called (wait for it) Mr. Flannel.

My elderly grandparents had a seat which fit across their bath. This 'bridge' was Mr. Flannel's home, and he lived under it. Anyone walking across -in this case a toy plastic swan- had to give him soup (bathwater in a plastic dish that we gave 'flavours'). If he hated the soup, he'd splash it over my cousin screaming it was "Yucky soup."

If he liked it - Tomato or chicken was his favourite - then he'd eat it.

"Yum yum, nice soup."

My cousin loved this game. Every time she visited I had to perform Mr. Flannel. When her sister was born four years later, Mr. Flannel was introduced to her too.

I swear it wasn't my fault, the older one made me, and I'm too soft to say no. :)

Now, you'd think they would be embarrassed by this story, but they aren't. Even at seventeen and thirteen they still talk about the time I used to play Mr. Flannel with them.

And they smile.

And I smile. It made them happy, so I'm happy.

I never realised how a simple flannel and a bowl of "soup" water could create such a memory for two little girls. It was just something I did to stop them crying when my aunt washed their hair.

I guess it is the simple stories that stay with us.

*Mr. Flannel has since retired to a wonderful home for old flannels. But I'm sure his offspring will appear in the near future for my nieces.


Alesa Warcan said...

And that is how legends come to pass... Generation to generation. Until someone comes along, collects them, and sticks them in a book. In the year 2764 a young woman will go about contacting families for oral tradition stories, and your cousin's descendants will tell the tale of Mr. Flannel, much embellished with the passing of time.
Thanks for sharing this lovely story.

MissV said...

Cute story!

It's always those silly little games you make up out of the blue that stick with kids. Over here it's the talking hand and the Teddy Bear game.

Matthew Rush said...

What a cute fun little story. Thanks for making me smile Lindsay.

Jaydee Morgan said...

Loved this - and it goes to show the power of a good story :) Long may it live!

Lydia Kang said...

I love how those seemingly silly stories are so important to children. It's a kind of storytelling magic, and you've got a good wand, I see!

Jen said...

The simple stories allow us to add our imagination! I love them! Just shows that sometimes they are the most powerful!

Mayowa said...

Oh how clever.

Shame i didnt know this one when i was chasing my little brother around the house to make him take a bath.

Talli Roland said...

Mr Flannel! Love it. How great that they still remember it years later. It's a reminder that children don't need much to keep them entertained!

Elana Johnson said...

There's nothing simple about that story. It's filled with emotion. And THAT'S why it stays with you -- and your cousin too. :)

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Alesa. You're welcome. I forgot about the whole oral tradition. Maybe my cousins will pass the story along.

MissV. Yay, you have stories like that too. Now I'm curious about the talking stick and Teddy Bear game!

Matthew. Glad it made you smile. :)

Jaydee. Glad you liked it. It's nice to know good stories can emerge from something simple. :)

Lydia. Aww, thanks for the kind words. Plus, its true, you don't realise how important these stories are to kids until later.

Jen. True. Simple stories are sometime more powerful than the complex ones.

Mayowa. A flannel is a wonderful thing. :)

Talli. True. My goddaughter is entertained by me pretending a napkin is a ghost. Kids. :)

Elana. Aww, thanks Elana.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I love it! What a great story and a treasured memory! :-)

Deb Salisbury said...

Ah-ah! You caught the story-telling bug very young! This post explains why your blog is so entertaining. :-)

Samantha Bennett said...

I'm so glad Mr. Flannel will be returning from retirement! And I agree with Deb. Clearly, you're a natural storyteller. :)