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Children crave security and often find it in their teddy bears, blankets or some other item in the home.
Items that provide children a sense of security can be almost any object, as long as it is in sight on a regular basis.
My family had a security item that was special to us children. It was a big cookie jar in the shape of a smiling clown’s face, complete with a prominent, red clown nose and a clown hat that served as the jar’s lid.
The clown cookie jar sat in a corner of our kitchen counter from my earliest memories. We children never thought to ask our parents where they got it. I wish I could go back in time and find out just where it came from.
All the children in my family loved the big old clown face that was a part of our kitchen and a part of our lives. Although we never once saw cookies in the jar, we knew that our parents kept some boring old papers and two items of broken jewelry inside the clown’s head.
The papers were probably a few important documents or receipts or some other paperwork that did not need to be discarded. Our mother’s first wedding band and a little oval-shaped dinner ring with a few diamonds, both of which were worn and broken from wear, had a permanent home inside our clown’s head. I suppose we children thought that every home had a clown cookie jar with papers and jewelry inside.
One of the sisters in the family especially loved the cookie jar and named it “The Nose,” which all family members began to call it. Once in a while Daddy might ask Mother where she had put so and so. Mother might reply, “Look in the Nose.”
“The Nose” was a familiar sight in our kitchen. We saw it smiling at us as we ate around the kitchen table and when we got old enough to help cook or clean up the kitchen. It was almost a member of our family, and it provided a small sense of security and belonging.
Some time after our sister was married, Mother gave her “The Nose,” which was by then chipped in a place or two, to find a new home on another kitchen counter.
Another object, this time in the home of our grandparents who lived next door, was a little angel about 4 inches high. The angel was made of a clay-like material, had golden hair, silver wings, an off-white robe and had one hand outstretched to the sky. Its resting place was up high on a corner whatnot shelf in one of the bedrooms in the country homeplace. I remember that I was fascinated by the angel when I was a child and would stare at it for a while each time I entered the bedroom.
I do not recall whether any of the other grandchildren had the same feelings about that little angel, but I do know that it gave me happiness and security each time I saw it, even though I never held it in my hands as a child.
In the early ’80s when my husband and I took our children to visit relatives in Vermont, we stopped by an antique shop in one of the little towns and saw on display a Nativity scene that had an angel guarding over the Holy Family. The angel was identical to the one up high on the corner whatnot shelf at our grandparents’ house.
I considered buying the whole Nativity scene but quickly decided against the purchase because I was afraid it would diminish the significance of the angel that had made its way to our family. I wanted the mystery behind our family angel to remain active.
A few weeks after my grandmother died, my aunt stopped by our house and gave me the angel that had been so special to me as a child. She knew that the angel had a place in my heart and that I would take care of it.
Each time I pass by our Chinese Chippendale hanging shelf made by my husband, I look at the angel as it stands in the corner of the bottom shelf and continues to give me happiness and security.
Another object that gives a child happiness and security is presently in our home. It was given to me by a Secret Santa colleague one year at Christmas.
One of our granddaughters just loves the wooden peach with a green stem that sits in a prim white saucer on our kitchen windowsill. The rounded piece of wood has the coloration of a real peach, and it has maintained its fresh, summery, peachy smell to this day.
Whenever our granddaughter visits, she picks the peach up, puts it near her nose, closes her eyes and says, “Mmmmmm! That smells so good!”
I am sure that I will someday let her take the wooden peach home with her, where I hope it will remind her of the many visits to Grandfather and Gran’s house in Wilson.
“The Nose,” the antique angel and the aromatic peach are just three examples of objects that have charmed children and made them believe their own home or a relative’s home is a place of love and security.
Many homes have objects that provide that unmistakable feeling that characterizes a loving home.
I wish that all children could experience that strong feeling of love and security by some object in some place, somewhere.
Every home needs a “Nose “ or a mysterious angel or an aromatic peach, so to speak.
Sanda Baucom Hight is retired from Wilson County Schools after serving as an English teacher and is currently a substitute teacher in Wilson County. Her column focuses on the charms of home, school and country life.