Ethel's Writing's

 Love from a Sock

(c)Ethel Hiday Wicksey

ethel_wicksey@live.ca

http://ethelswritings.yolasite.com/ 

 

 

Love from a Sock

I want to tell you about myself. I started my life out as a white sock, 18 inches long, weighing in at 5 ounces. I remember the morning that the factory worker packed me, along with my twin into a big brown box. When the box was packed with a hundred pairs of socks, he piled it onto a skid full of other socks. We were loaded into a big container, then driven to the river and put on a big boat and sailed across the ocean to Canada. Our skid was loaded into a truck and we were driven down the 401 until we arrived in     Toronto then our box of socks was delivered to a store in Chatham Ontario. A store clerk unpacked us from the dark, dreary, box. It was so good to see light again, after spending three months in that dark, stuffy box. The clerk hung us on a big hook with other white socks. We were hanging on a wall in an enormous department store with bright lights shining above us.

     One day after sitting on the hook for a few days, this mother came down the aisle with her two teenager daughters.

     They both pointed to all the socks on the hooks and said, “Mother we need some new socks. You keep taking all our socks.”

The mother started to put socks in the basket and asked the girls, “What kind do you want?”

They both replied in unison, “Socks without holes will do”

The mother started to laugh as she pulled some black, red, green, blue, and brown socks off the hooks, and tossed them into her shopping cart. My twin and I, a pair of white socks along with the other socks were put on a conveyer belt, at the checkout. The cashier scanned our bar codes. The pair of us registered in at ninety-nine cents, plus tax. She stuffed all the socks into a big plastic bag, along with some white glue, wiggle eyes, pom-poms, and masking tape. The bag was taken out to the parking lot and tossed into the trunk of a white car. After several hot stifling hours, the trunk was opened. The fresh air felt good as the bag we were in, was removed from the dismal trunk. The girls entered their apartment building swinging the bag with us in it back and forth. By the time they exited the elevator at the third floor, I felt dizzy. Entering their apartment, they flopped onto the couch carelessly tossing the bag with me in it, on the floor.

The mother told her girls, “put your new socks away.”

The girls got up from watching TV, then walked down the hall into their nicely decorated bedroom. Joy went over to her dresser. She shoved her new socks in amongst a bunch of worn out, well-used ones, that were full of holes. The bottoms of her white socks were a dirty brown.

Sam said, “I am going to hide my new white socks from mother. I will put them under my bed so she can’t find them.”

  “That won’t work” her older sister Joy told her. “I tried that last month! Mother found my new pink socks that I had bought to go with my new pink dress, and cut them up.”

“Cut them up. What did she mean by cut them up?” I thought.

“Will we ever be able to wear socks without holes again?” Sam asks as she leaves the room.

“Not as long as our mother keeps running out of socks.” Joy says, as she shuts the door behind her.

~~~~~~

A sock’s destiny is to be walked on. Some socks have run in marathons. A few get to fly around the world on people’s feet. Just think what your life would be like if you were walked on all the time. Smelly, dirty feet with long toe nails poking holes into you. We risk getting lost in the wash, or scorched in the dryer. We misplace our mates; we are tossed out with the garbage; or end up as dust rags. I am Six years old now. Not many pairs of socks are that old.

Ethel, the mother who bought me, rescued me from this fate a few years ago. I remember how she was talking to herself, the day she entered her girl’s bedroom.

“I need a white pair of socks.” I heard her pulling out all the drawers in the dresser. “Where did the girls hide the new socks I bought them last week?” She bent down and looked under the bed where I was hiding. “There you are! The girls will never miss you. I might as well take two pair and buy some more tomorrow when I go to the store.”

She picked us up, and then walked down the hall placing us on the kitchen table.

I looked around the room and saw socks with eyes, and big smiles looking at me. What had happened to them? Socks do not have eyes. Have you ever seen a sock smile? What kind of world was this? Red, green, blue, yellow, and black socks were talking to each other. When the socks opened their mouths to speak, I could see dark black tonsils along with heart-shape tongues sticking out at me. The socks each had arms, legs and a body joined to them. The next thing I knew Ethel was picking me up. Oh no, she had a pair of scissors in her hand. “Cut them up,” flashed through my mind as I fainted!

I woke to the humming of a sewing machine, turning my twin and me into Siamese twins. She was sewing me to my twin. How would anyone put his or her foot into us now? She cut off my heel and slipped us over this piece of foam rubber, covered with masking tape. Her gentle hands glued on a pink mouth, a heart-shaped tongue, along with a black tonsil. Next, she hot glued a pom-pom for a nose, and two wiggle eyes, to make my face.

I heard her say, “I will make you into a lamb.” She picked up some white curly material, made two ears, and then hot glued them onto my head. She added, blue, mauve, and pink hair. A baby pajama body with floppy arms, and long legs, was attached to my neck. My first words were “Hi girls! What do you think of me? I am Huggy Lamb” I could speak! A speaking sock!

The two girls spoke in unison saying, “mother you bought those new white socks for us last week.”

I took one look at their feet and was glad I had been rescued. There were holes in their socks and four big toes with red nail polish were sticking out the holes.

“Sorry! Girls, I ran out of white socks. I can always buy you some new ones tomorrow.”

“You always take our new socks mother.” The girls walked into the kitchen, and rummaged through the fridge for a snack.

I was placed into a laundry basket, with a blue and green puppet. Our arms and head were dangling over the side of the basket. I watched as Ethel cut open another pair of socks fashioning them into a cow puppet.

“I need a picture of two puppets,” the mother tells the two girls, “will you get Huggy Lamb and Betty Cow and put them on the piano and take a picture for me?”

“Yes mother, Sam says.”

“Smile pretty, Huggy Lamb and Betty, while I take your picture,” Joy tells us.

The flash was so bright, that I had black spots in my eyes for a while. Sam and Joy put us on their hands and played with us, until it was time for supper, then put us back in the laundry basket so we would not get dirty.

On Sunday, the basket of puppets with me in it was taken out to the car. Ethel carefully sat me up in the back window. Some puppets sat in the laundry basket on the back seat. The red headed puppet hugged the steering wheel guarding the car, as they attended church. People would stop as they walked by the car and, giggle. They waved at me when they saw me sitting in the back window.

When church was over, the youngest girl came out to the car. She opened the door, reached in, and put me on her hand saying “You’ll do,” as she walked back into the church. She handed me to her mother. Ethel put me on her hand and walked over to a young girl in a wheelchair.

She opened my mouth and words started to come out. “Hi my name is Huggy Lamb. What is your name?”

“My name is Jean.”

“Hi Jean, I am looking for a new home. Would you like to take me home with you?”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes Jean, I need a friend. Will you be my friend?”

“I would like to have you as my friend Huggy Lamb.”

She slipped me off her hand and helped the girl put her hand into the back my head.

“Take good care of Huggy Lamb for me Jean.”

“I will do that, thank you for giving me Huggy Lamb, Ethel.”

 I gave Ethel one last hug and she walked away.

“Goodbye Jean and Huggy Lamb,” she said waving to us on her way out the door.

“Goodbye Ethel and thanks for making me,” I said, as Jean waved my hand.

 

My Adventures with Jean

Jean took me home with her. She had just turned seven and had undergone several operations. Her next one was scheduled in two weeks.

Jean really loved me. I sat on her lap and spoke to everyone that came into the room. I would say, “Hi my name is Huggy Lamb. Have you had a hug from a puppet today?” Most people would respond with “No,” then bend down to give me a hug. Jean told me, about her life before she I came into her life. She talked bout all the operations and how she felt when people would ignore her. They would walk by her wheelchair, and not even speak to her. That had change since I sat on her lap. People started to talk to her more.

I was never out of her sight. Jean got in trouble for trying to give me a shower. She even tried to share her ice cream with me. Her mother made a new rule. No puppets are allowed at the dinner table any more. I spent a few days at school learning how to read and spell. The teacher finally told Jean that I would have to sit on a shelf at the back of the room. Jean was spending too much time playing with me, and not paying attention to the teacher. I sat on Jean’s lap when she was pushed everywhere in her wheel chair.

One morning, Jean stuffed me inside a big suitcase. I was hidden under her housecoat. She told me to be quiet and not to move. It was dark and her hairbrush was poking me in the eye.

“Jean, why are you taking such a big suitcase,” I heard her mother ask.

“I couldn’t find the small one,” Jean fibbed.

“Oh! Jean. I put it on your bed” her mother replied. “Let me see what you have in there?”

When she opened up the suitcase, my right arm popped out and hit her mother in the face. “I told you that I didn’t want you to take your puppet with you, Jean. Huggy Lamb might get lost. You know how much you love her!”

“But mother, she will be lonely without me.”

“You mean you will miss her.”

“Yes,” Jean said sadly.

Jean had told me all about her other operations, about the weeks she had to stay in hospital with no one to hold her and love her when she woke up in the middle of the night crying. She told me she was going to hide me and take me with her. She told me that I was her very best friend in the whole wide world.

“OK! Take her with you!” her mother laughingly said. “Hold her on your lap. I will pack your small suitcase for you. You won’t need much at the Sick Children’s Hospital in Toronto.”

Jean had me wave at people in the cars as we drove along the 401 highway. “See Huggy Lamb. That tall tower is the CN Tower. It is close to the hospital, where I will be staying. I hope I have a window like last time, so I can watch the elevators climb up and down the CN tower.”

Jean’s mother pushed her wheelchair into the hospital. Jean was able to play with other children in her room, until it was time to go to bed that night. They had all kinds of toys and a TV with lots of videos. The children all came over and were introduced to me. Jean even let the children take turns putting me on there hand and having me talk. It was fun.

Jean’s mother gave her a big hug as she tucked Jean into bed that night. “I will return first thing in the morning,” she said going out the door.

It was a long night. Jean held me tight as she cried a few tears. She told me about how she had gone up to the top of the CN tower with her family, the lat time she was in Toronto for a checkup. We spent the evening watching the elevators climb up and down the tower.

A kind nurse came in to check on her. You need your rest Jean.

“I am scared.”

“I will get something for you.” She returns and gives Jean a needle to make her drowsy. I snuggled in Jean’s arms all night. The next thing it was morning and a bright sunbeam was shining through the window.

Jeans mother and father came in and sat with her until it was time for her operation.

I was hugged by Jean then handed to her mother. With one last hug and a few tears, the orderly came to push me down the long hallway to the operating room. Jean was wheeled into a big room with lots of lights. Jean’s mother walked down the hall with me to the waiting room. She sat in an over stuffed chair hugging me for hours, while the surgery was taking place. A few tears mingled with my hair. I did not mind. I knew what it was like being operated on. Just last week I had been cut open, and then sewed back up.

When the doctor came out, he told Jeans parents, “The operation went well and Jean is in recovery. A nurse will come and get you when she wakes up.”

He asked me, “What is your name?”

 “My name is Huggy Lamb.”

 “Would you like me to put a bandage on your leg Huggy Lamb, just like the one I put on Jean’s leg?”

“Yes.”

He pulled out a roll of white tape then wrapped my right leg in bandages.

A short time later, a nurse with clowns on her blouse, came to get Jean’s mother. “Jean is awake and fretting. She wants Huggy Lamb!”

Jean’s mother carried me to her bedside. I was given a big hug, and then Jean fell into a deep sleep with me in her arms. When she woke up, the nurse wheeled us down the hall to Jean’s room. The nurses in the hall, all laughed when they saw me.

When the nurse came in to check on Jean, she asked me, “What is your name?”

I told her “My name is Huggy Lamb.”

“Can I take your temperature? Open wide,” she put the thermometer into my mouth. Another nurse asked me, “Do you want me to examine your bandage? Do you need a needle for pain?”

I said, “You can examine my bandage but no needles. I had enough needles when I was stitched together by the sewing machine.”

When Jean’s pain got worse, she would hold me tight and cry on my shoulder. One day her mother was late. Jean was homesick. I was there to comfort her. Jean was in the hospital for a long time. Jean never let me out of her sight. The day before we were to go home, a new girl moved into our room. She had a back brace and sat in a wheelchair.

Jean asked her, “What is your name?”

She replied, “My name is Betty and I am eight years old. What is your name and who is that?” She was pointing at me!

Jean answered, “I am Jean, and this is my best friend Huggy Lamb, my puppet.”

 I am going to have back surgery tomorrow and I am frightened. She starts to cry.

“Huggy Lamb has helped me get better. Would you like to hold Huggy Lamb tonight?” Jean wheeled her wheelchair over to Betty’s bed. Jean slipped me off her hand and showed Betty how to make me work.

“Hi Jean, I have a new friend. Her name is Betty,” I said.

 “Would you like me to pray for you Betty and ask God to help you get well?

Thank you Jean, all the people at church have been praying for me. It helps with the pain.

 “Do you have email Betty?

“Yes, we can become pen pals and write to each other Betty says as she writes Jean’s email address on a card by the bed.

The girls talked for hours. The nurse finally came into the room saying, “You two girls need to stop talking and get to sleep. Betty has an operation tomorrow.”

            Jean’s mother and father came to get her and take her home. “Mother I have pinned a note on Huggy Lamb with my address on it. Will you take her down the hall and give her to Betty’s parents for me. She is going to need her as much as I did in the next few weeks.

“Are you sure Jean?”

I gave Jean one last hug and felt her tears in my hair as her mother removed me from her arms. That was the last I saw of Jean.

Jean’s Mother put me put me on her hand and had me say, “Hello, are you Betty’s parents,” as we entered the waiting room down the hall.

“Yes,” the man replied.”

“Jean, my daughter wants to give Huggy Lamb her puppet to Betty.”

“That kind of her,” the woman replied.

They sat and talked for a while, and then Jean’s mother left to take her home.

Jean left the Hospital the next morning, while Betty was in surgery. I will miss Huggy Lamb, but Betty will need her more than me. Her friends and family live so far away.

~~~~~~

Betty held me in her arms as she was wheeled back into her room after the operation. She spent weeks in a body cast in the hospital bed not able to move her body. I talked to everyone who entered her room. We did not have many visitors after the first few weeks. Betty told me that she was from Thunder Bay. It was too far for her friends and family to come and see her every day. Betty spent many lonely nights crying on my shoulder.

It took Betty longer than expected to get well. On her good days, she would sing songs to me and tell me all about her brothers and sisters.

When Betty became stronger and was able to sit in a wheal chair, her brothers, and sisters came to visit. Betty held me on her lap, as they pushed us up and down the corridors of the hospital. One day we were caught going up and down the elevators and were scolded by a nurse.

Betty had a lot of fun with me. I never stopped talking. She would go up and down the halls in her wheal chair with me on her hand, visiting with the other sick children. We brought a lot of laughter to the children who could not get out of bed.

A nurse came over to Betty one day and said, “The hospital needs to hire you and Huggy Lamb. The children will really miss the two of you when you go home on Friday.”

On Thursday afternoon when Betty and I had finished our rounds visiting the other children, we went back to her room. There was a sick little girl all covered with bandages in the next bed.

“You have to be very quiet,” the nurse told us. “This is Sissy and she is very sick.”

 We heard the nurses and doctors whispering to each other. “Sissy has been in a bad car accident. Her parents and younger brother, both died. Sissy is badly injured and will need some plastic surgery. She has refused to talk to anyone since the accident.”

The next morning Betty’s parents came to take her home. She gave me one last hug and handed me to a nurse. “Will you give Huggy Lamb to Sissy when she is able to hold her?” she asked, then was wheeled in a wheelchair down the hall, out of my life forever. Betty had pinned an envelope on me before she left.

I sat on the table by Sissy’s bed for weeks before I was given to Sissy. Every so often, I would feel eyes looking at me. Sissy would be lying in bed with her head turned facing me. She had the brightest blue eyes that I had ever seen. One day Sissy even said “Hi” to me.

A few days later, a nurse came in and placed me in Sissy’s arms. Sissy began to cry and my hair got all wet as I was given a gentle hug. I did not mind. That is what I was made for. I was not called Huggy Lamb for nothing. The Nurse pulled a piece of paper out of an envelope pinned on me and read it to Sissy. “Hi Sissy, my name is Huggy Lamb.” She continued to read all about my adventures with, Jean, and Betty. Betty included their addresses, along with some pictures. She asked Sissy to write to them when she felt better. I had been loved by Jean, and Betty. I felt special because I had a special new friend by the name of Sissy.

When no one was looking Sissy would whisper in my ear. “Huggy Lamb, you are all the family I have now.” Then she would start to cry. We spent weeks in the hospital. Sissy’s aunt and uncle came in every day to sit by Sissy’s bed. They told her that they loved her and would be taking her to live with them. Sissy never spoke to them.

As soon as they left, she would whisper to me that she missed her mother father and little brother Ben, and then start to cry.

The day came that Sissy was well enough to go to live with her aunt and uncle. She took me with her, because I was all she had. I sat on her bed as Sissy adjusted to living with her new parents. They were not able to have any children so were adopting Sissy. They loved her with a very special kind of love. Not only were they her aunt and uncle, but in a few weeks, they would become her parents.

It took several years for Sissy to get better. Her physical wounds healed fast, but the inward turmoil and nightmares of the car accident would not go away. I hugged her many a night, as she cried her heart out with the horrific memories, and her feelings of abandonment by her parents.

Jean and Betty wrote to Sissy. They exchanged school pictures and I would look at their pictures sitting on Sissy’s dresser. I have even talked to them on the telephone.

Sissy’s aunt and uncle, her new parents came home the year after the car crash, and told her that they were going to have a baby. Sissy was all excited when they brought her little baby brother home from the hospital. Ron, her brother would play with her. He told her “I love you Sissy and Huggy Lamb. I am glad you are my big sisters.

That Christmas, I was packed into a big box, and then taken to the Post Office by Sissy. The woman at the counter told her, “The stamps will cost three dollars. Would you like to insure the contents?”

 “Yes.”

 “How much is the contents of the box worth?

  “The content is priceless,” then Sissy told the woman all about her puppet Huggy Lamb that she had packed in the box.

The all the people in line wiped away their tears. The woman standing behind Sissy reached into her purse and paid for the stamps herself.

The person at the counter stamped all over the outside of the box, fragile handle with care.

 I hid in the big box under the Christmas tree. I could smell the scent of pinecones and roast turkey. I recognized the voice of the girl who picked the box up with me inside. It was hard for me not to give the secret away. When the lid of the box was opened on Christmas morning, I popped out. “Surprise,” I said, and gave my very special friend Jean a big hug.

My hair got all wet with Jean’s tears of joy. It had been six years, since Jean had left me at the hospital with Betty.

The three girls continue to phone and write email messages. They share pictures and talk about how their family has planed a reunion for them in the summer. We will be getting together at the CN Tower for lunch. I look forward to sitting and laughing with three of my very special friends.

“Can you believe that me, just a sock, would have gone on so many adventures. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. I have three special girls, who love me.”

         

By Huggy Lamb, the puppet

Epilog

I never thought this puppet would help so many girls when I gave her away several years ago. The puppet did go to the Sick Children’s Hospital with the girl in the wheelchair. She had several operations and I heard she died last year.  I know that the puppet that I gave her stayed behind with a sick girl she met at the hospital. I have made up the story of Huggy Lamb’s adventures.

 

This is a picture of me with one of Huggies siblings.

Ethel

© Ethel Hiday Wicksey

 ethel_wicksey@live.ca

http://ethelswritings.yolasite.com/ 

 


 

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