Sunday, August 31, 2008

Leif & His E.T. "Dolls" - Age 10 - Hawaii

The Movie "E.T.: The Extraterrestrial" came out in the summer of 1982 when Leif was seven years old and he, like all of us, loved it. But for him, it went far beyond simple entertainment value. He deeply felt the loneliness and pathos of the creature and was fascinated by the concepts.

On one of Peter W's TDY (temporary duty for you civilians) trips to Korea, he brought back two E.T. dolls for Leif, knowing how much the movie had affected him. They were made of a very soft vinyl that felt close enough to skin to be nearly cuddly.

Those dolls became his treasured companions and he took them everywhere. He slept with them. He did his homework with them. He "dressed them up" with goggles and socks for shirts, and set them up with pencils. They were a part of much of his play during that period (as much as the GI Joes, but much more emotionally beloved), and were evidently a comfort to him at all times.

This went on for at least two years, perhaps longer. But there was a tragedy involved. At some point he wanted to take them to school. I told him that wasn't wise, that someone might take them, or harm them. He simply couldn't believe me, that anyone would be cruel to E.T. So, one day, without my knowledge, he took them. Knowing Leif, I doubt he took them to show them off. More likely he just wanted his companions with him.

But his faith in other children was not rewarded. Some older boys teased him about his "dolls" and tried to take them away from him. He hung on tight to one, and they ripped its arms off. They got away with the other. He came home utterly heartbroken. I was able to sew the arms back on, and somehow, we did manage to get the other one back, but it was a hard lesson for Leif.

We kept so many of his childhood things, all the GI Joe toys and the Japanese robots and toys, and many other things, but I don't remember what happened to the E.T.s.

These photos were taken in 1984 and 1985 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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