Sunday, April 16, 2017

WHY THE VELVETEEN RABBIT SCARED ME AS A CHILD?


I realize I have poked fun of some of the nonsense on the Internet where people talk about fears of clowns, department store Santa Clauses and department store Easter Bunnies. Now, I am going to confess to having been frightened by something that is frequently referred to a "beloved children's favorite." It is the children's book, The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams and first published in 1922.

I never read the book or had it read to me, but I saw an animated TV version. I tried to look for the one I watched on YouTube and couldn't find it. I had a hard time looking up information on this story or looking for the video because I get shaky and nauseated just think about the story (Go ahead, you jerks, and call me "snowflake").

So what scared me about this story that it STILL bothers me in my 40s?  Near the end of story, the little boy contracts a serious illness and a doctor tells the parents that they have to burn his toys because they are contaminated.

This probably wouldn't frighten any other kid, but since I was two years old, I have had multiple illnesses. I nearly spent several months of my early childhood in a oxygen tent at the hospital in Lebanon, Missouri, because of severe asthma. I was never able to really play outside like other kids, because what triggered my asthma was pollen and other allergens, which include trees and grass. I was confined to the indoors, so toys, books and records were my only source of fun. Imagine the terror if that was taken away and burned.

Maybe this didn't frighten other kids, because they didn't have illness in there lives or they had different circumstances in their lives. As for me, it created an anxiety that still won't go away.

At least I didn't say I'm afraid of clowns.

   

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