My parents told me they gave him to me as a Christmas present in 1955, in Detroit, Michigan in a two-story flat on Dexter Avenue.
I’ve seen the grainy 8MM movies, but of course, I don’t remember. After all, I was barely a year old, hardly old enough to know what was a “best friend,” let alone that he would be it.
At night, I’d hold him until I fell asleep; his very presence banishing monsters that lived under the bed and the shadow creatures in the closet. When wind against the windows caused the curtains to pulsate and the panes to howl a ghostly, eerie, wail, my little yellow buddy with the dark black eyes and furry body watched over me until the sandman cast his magic upon me. He shared my pillow, his yellow, foam, and fur body with plastic face peering over the blankets to protect me, long after I dozed.
I would drag him from Kevin’s to Joey’s to Victor’s during long vacations and hot muggy afternoons. He’d sit, floppy-necked, across from me on the kitchen table as I’d sip lemonade and draw with crayons. While I did homework, he rested, never complaining, near my pencil jar. And when no one was to be found and there was nothing to do but let my imagination take over, I covered him in aluminum foil, wrapped saran wrap around his head, suspended him from the ceiling light, and pretended he was an astronaut.
“Commander Puppy,” I said into my paper-cup microphone (adding the right amount of voice crackle to increase the realism), “This is Captain Scott. Over. Do you hear me? Over. Come in Commander. Over and out.”