Thoughts From the Closet

Thoughts from the closet: Maybe that should be the name of my next book.

I’m thinking of life in the closet because of yesterday’s memory (seen here) of being held captive in my own bedroom closet.

By a little Christopher Robin of a four-year-old.

All by myself for 40 minutes, which is an unheard of amount of time for any of us Americans, addicted as we are to Sights! Sounds! Movement!! Shopping!

I say alone – all alone – with nothing to keep me company but a dozen pairs of stiletto heels and a bald babydoll named Bruce.

As it happens, Bruce and I go back.

I gave Bruce to the child six years ago and isn’t he the jaunty fellow still, in his stylish pajamas sewn permanently to his body at neck and wrist and ankle, the only way to keep a man in his pajamas in my experience.

He remains a great favorite with the boy, who, on the lip of Second Grade, still sleeps with him every night.

Along with Pedro Hispanic Boy, named just that way by the well-meaning folks at The Kaplan Early Learning Company.

This is Pedro and the name amazes me yet.

Sure, people from the first half of the last century thought of people in terms of ethnicity but haven’t we gotten past that?

Even my mother, who was an outsider all her life and seemed in most ways so accepting and cool, couldn’t seem to help herself when I came home from school with an unfamiliar name on my lips. Samenuk let’s say the kid’s last name was.

“Samenuk,” she would repeat. “Now what kind of a name is THAT?” she would say before he said anything else and you could just see her riffling through a mental Rolodex of names in her head. “Dutch? Russian? Polish?”

She liked pondering Poles: “The Poles are smart!” she would say out of the blue sometimes, tapping the side of her head. Or “The French are very tight!” she would remark apropos of nothing. “the Italians? When Italians marry the Irish, the children are said to be handsome!”

It seems crazy to us now, but that’s how people thought.

I guess the folks at Kaplan are still thinking that way – unless they’re just trying to open the white-bread minds of the Mercian people. “Multicultural babies are a world of fun and snuggles!” their blurb reads on the Amazon site where I first found Pedro.

The child of course and wonders not at all what ‘kind’ of name that is, any more than he wonders what ‘kind’ of name he has. But adults are slower than children and some supermarket still have an aisle marked “ethnic foods.”

SMH as the kids say: Shake My head.

You can do a lot of that in the closet. Ponder I mean and reflect. More tomorrow, deo volente.

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