Daily Prompt: Prized Possession . . .That Would Be Lucky.


This is Lucky, my prized possession. He’s been with me since I was six years old. They said Santa brought him but I knew he was from my mom. It was love at first sight when I met him in the window of the service station by Omaha Airport. He was sitting on a shelf next to a purple horse just like him, brothers.

There were shelves of stuffed animals. You couldn’t walk in and buy one it was some mysterious process I didn’t understand involving fill ups and stamps or something.  I didn’t tell anyone how much I wanted him, so much my heart ached. I don’t recall what car my mom had but I remember running to the window each time to see if he was still there, until he wasn’t.

We lived with my Grandma. Mom and Dad were in the long nasty process of getting a d-i-v-o-r-c-e. They used to spell it. Dad called on Fridays after he’d been drinking all afternoon to argue with Mom but she was out with her girlfriends. She was never there.

They were both only twenty four. They were mean drunks and fought violently in front of us, screaming, punching, pinning each other to the floor, choking, breaking furniture and lamps. I was five and my sister was three. It was horrifying, damaging.

The last fight was my fault. Mom took us to a garage after it was closed. It belonged to one of Dad’s friends. He let us in. We sat in the waiting room that smelled like grease while they went into an office and locked the door. We didn’t belong there. I could hear what they were doing. What they were doing was wrong and when we came home late my dad was waiting, drunk, with bottles lined up by his feet. He yelled, where the hell have you been! She ran past him and locked herself in their bedroom. He grabbed my arm and shook me, roaring in my face, where the hell have you been, and I told him. I was terrified and justified and after I told him I wished I hadn’t.

At Grandma’s house it was peaceful, orderly. Captain Kangaroo became my TV Dad, told me stories and kept me cheered up. He had a kind voice and looked right out at me from the television. I spent mornings with him and his family, Bunny Rabbit and Mr. Moose, in the Treasure House before I had to walk to school. It was lonely. Nobody else had divorced parents. We weren’t supposed to tell anyone.

Mom got a job at the Tip Top factory making fancy bobby pins, she glued the roses and other pretty flowers to them and brought home big assortments for our hair.  Then she’d go out with her girlfriends. On Saturdays Grandpa drove us uptown to go shopping. We walked on either side of Grandma with our hand in the pocket of her fur coat as we went down Woolworths huge staircase to the  lunch counter to have a glazed donut that was almost big as the plate.

Grandma was the one who took us to see Santa Claus. We had our picture taken, the two of us on his lap. We both looked so lost and sad. I couldn’t think of anything to tell Santa to bring me. All I wanted was the little brown horse and he was gone. A real horse or a puppy was so far out in the future I wouldn’t let myself even think about it. I knew Santa couldn’t make families whole again, or even like each other.

Then Christmas Eve after dinner there he was,the little brown horse, tucked up against some wrapped boxes under the tree  in Grandma’s living room. I think I was too shocked to even squeal but I remember thinking I’m so lucky, I’m so lucky.

This lifetime later my cheek still fits perfectly into his dished face. He’s been with me through floods (he went into my suitcase instead of clothes, I was ten), fire, famine, heartache and joy, two husbands, (well the first one really didn’t count), childbirth, and moved everyplace I’ve ever lived. He’s had surgery on his neck three times, lost his first mane and tail, had his second mane and tail torn out by Gracie, my first Basset. He’s heard a million secrets and been my stand in family when I was alone.

When I look at him I feel Lucky still that my mom knew, she knew and surprised me even though I told on her. Through years of her many bouts with mental illness before we knew what was wrong Lucky was the touchstone, the connection that under it all, even though it didn’t seem like it, my mom did love me.

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8 Responses to Daily Prompt: Prized Possession . . .That Would Be Lucky.

  1. Allyson Mellone says:

    I can see your love and your deep dedication in your life through your renditions of your basset hounds and Misty :). Life has painful moments, but I have experienced a flow of humanity through your blog postings, best, Allyson.

  2. pamtanzey says:

    Thank you for your kind words Allyson.

  3. Rita Kay says:

    Pam, I grew up with parents who were verbally abusive; my mother was right up until the day she died. My mother was also into the occult, so I grew up with that as well. The sad part is I thought it was all normal !! I’ve been slowly working on a book and a tract on my life, it has been very hard digging up the past.
    My prayers are with you.

  4. This is a story of pain, survival, and redemption. So very touching and difficult to read. I love your artwork, your writing, Lucky your prized possession, and your canine and equine friends. Out of the ashes rose the phoenix. You are free of all that now and with freedom comes the ability to focus on the good bits of life, like a mother’s love that somehow managed to shine through the devastation of alcoholism.

  5. pamtanzey says:

    Thank you Rita Kay. I’m so sorry you grew up like that. It takes a lot to work through it. Writing it has helped me understand and slosh through it. It’s an ongoing process. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. I always appreciate hearing from you! Always happy for prayers, I’m adding you to mine too.

  6. pamtanzey says:

    Thank you Jill for your kind, thoughtful comments. I appreciate them them so much.

  7. You know me, Pam. I was shedding a few tears for you by the time I finished reading this. You’ve come so far since those days of your childhood. You were fortunate to have the influence of your grandparents and their home. I’m fortunate to know you, if only through a computer. Your blog brings a smile to my face the minute I see your name in my email inbox, and I shall even dare say your blog is my very favorite.

  8. pamtanzey says:

    Thank you Maddie that means a lot to me!

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