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I asked my dad a short time ago to look through the old photo albums at home for pictures of my favorite stuffed “animal”, Ernie, from Sesame Street, so that I could enter him in this contest. The contest stems from a book about worn-out stuffed animals and blankies; I love that idea, since almost every single one of my friends had a favorite softie or blanket when they were little (or still! like me…). Ernie was a present from my Godmother on my first Christmas; I was born in November, so, Ernie and I have been together for almost the entire duration of my life.

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I became attached right away, for reasons I will probably never understand, as infant/toddler minds are mysterious things. Why choose this doll over that one? When I learned to talk, one of my first words was “E E” for Ernie, and I always called for him when my mom lifted me out of the crib. From then on, Ernie went everywhere I went, often buckled up next to me in the car or more often, clutched in my arms. He was stolen by a goat at the petting zoo, temporarily lost on vacation, and another time I told my parents that I wanted to leave him wherever we were, that I didn’t want him anymore. He had some identity issues when I was in elementary school, probably spawned by all the girl baby dolls my friends had: I started clothing him in dresses, barrettes, swimsuits, and earrings. I renamed him Ernestine even. Funny how the child mind has ideas about the conventions of gender.

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Only once more did I try to give him up, by finding a red shoe box, writing his name on top of it, placing a barbie bed and pillow inside with Ernie on top, and putting the whole thing on our third floor, in the bath tub we didn’t use. That went on for many months, and I only visited him every once in a while. Then, my little cousin wanted to play with him, and I guess I missed him so much that Ernie was never cast off again. He has been to France, Mexico, countless states and even spent a night in my backpack in airport cargo somewhere, all by himself!

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Well, it has been so fun receiving all these photos from my dad and seeing all those serious Alicia faces and tight grasps on little Ernie, or “Ernster”, as my boyfriend refers to him. Suffice it to say, I have a large collection of Ernie memorabilia at home, and here in New York, and the one and only Ernie continues to be a source of comfort, especially on my sick and/or lonely days. Even though there are many days where I think, “Aren’t I too old for this?” and usually answer “Of course!”, I can’t seem to give him up. Oh well!

The perfectly-sized stroller, except that his feet got worn when I pushed him down the sidewalk; what a great outfit I have on!

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Little Lianna and Alicia

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Little Lorelei and Alicia

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