‘Blankie’ still brings smiles

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 3, 2010

One day when I reached for an encyclopedia in my husband’s office, my hand brushed a strip of cloth he had draped around one of the shelf supports. It’s been there for years and is a permanent part of that room. I might go months without noticing it.

However, that day I paused to run my hand across it and smile. “The Blankie,” I said to myself. It reminded me of what I’d written home to my mother when our family lived in Germany: “I washed Amy’s blanket today and she cried until it dried.” I couldn’t count the times she had stood by a dryer or clothesline waiting on that very special blanket to dry.

Her granddaddy gave her the little stadium blanket right after she and I and her brother moved back home to live with her grandparents, awaiting orders to join my husband in Germany.It was the perfect gift for a toddler uprooted from familiar surroundings who faced yet another move within the next few months. Even though she had the loving attention of her grandparents and me (as well as the company of her older brother), she missed her daddy. She found comfort snuggling with the blanket when she got tired or irritable. It was her constant companion.

She kept an iron grip on it the day we boarded an airplane for the first leg of our journey to Bamberg, Germany. On that cold December day, it was a challenge to handle her in a slippery nylon snowsuit, prevent the blanket from dragging on the floor, haul my huge purse with our passports and other important papers inside, and keep up with her 6-year-old brother at the same time. After the flight, the tired little traveler curled up in bed in our hotel with Blankie clutched under her chin.

Aboard the U.S. Navy Ship Patch the next day, she made no move without her blanket.It accompanied us to the dining room or wherever else we went on the ship in our nine-day journey. She still clung to it as we left the ship in Bremerhaven and stepped on a train that took us to our destination. As my husband enveloped us in his waiting arms in Bamberg, Blankie was right there. Once on dry land, it took all my imagination to divert her attention long enough to get it away from her to wash it.

We moved four times during 32 months in Germany. These disruptions were unsettling and intensified her attachment to the beloved blanket. Even after we returned to the states, she slept with. Eventually it came apart in four pieces. Then she kept them in her toy box and wrapped them around her dolls.

Some years ago, I discovered a remaining strip of Blankie in a cedar chest and showed it to her daddy. It triggers so many memories that he found it fitting for display among the books and other memorabilia in his office.