When I look back on my childhood, it is not only events and people that played a significant role, but also toys. One of my favourite toys was a dog. His name was Buki (pronounced ‘Bookie’). He would keep me safe at night and guarded my room during the day; he was also a wonderful play-mate. As a kid, from time to time, I used to have bad dreams and so I would hug this huge toy-dog, I would in fact get lost inside his ‘mane’ (or his ears rather) by putting my head below his, to keep safe. Then I would silently repeat, “Buki is my most dangerous dog. Buki is my most dangerous dog. Buki is…..” Until I fell asleep.
He was fluffy and white with big brown spots on his back. Probably a toy version of St. Bernard dog. When I was growing up my family lived in a small flat, so we could not keep ‘real’ dogs. To compensate for not having a dog who could run and eat and bark, I would spend time on the grounds outside our building, meeting people who walked their dogs. I became friends with a lot of them. Yet even though I didn’t have a dog, I had Buki and I loved him in his own toy-ways.
Years later, when I grew up and moved away from home, my parents put him away, and I have not seen Buki in years. He was always a very previous memory, a friend from my past, but whenever I asked where he was, they didn’t really know. “He is somewhere safe, we’ll find him some other time”. And then this last summer that ‘other time’ became ‘now’.
My dad told me he found him, but that he was full of dust. I was visiting from Ireland and I wanted to see my beloved toy-dog. Who cares about the dust after all these years! So dad brought him in the living room. Excitement was building up. It was like reconnecting with one of my oldest friends. Gosh, I almost cried! Well, interiorly perhaps I did. I gave him a good squeeze hug and smiled at the childhood memories. Dad promised to get Buki cleaned so that he can survive many more years. Now, as I think of that summer memory I cannot but smile; my old childhood friend, apart from being dusty did not age a day, while I grew into a woman from a child, still grateful I had this wonderful companion when I was growing up.
© Iva Beranek (Dublin, 30th March 2016)
Photo from internet (not a photo of my toy)