Monday, September 1, 2008
Leif & Fluffy, 6 years old - April 1981 - Japan
Before the E.T. dolls, there was Fluffy. Fluffy was a big, soft stuffed dog that was given to Leif for Christmas in 1976 when he was almost two years old. His Aunt Lannay gave it to him, and he loved it from the moment he touched it. Fluffy was his companion and bedtime cuddle-up dog for years. Like the E.T. dolls, Fluffy wasn't just for cuddling and sitting on a bed or shelf. Fluffy went along for the ride . . . literally. Fluffy got to have lots of adventures with Leif.
In these photos, taken in front of our quarters at Sagamihara, Japan in April 1981, you can see the Leif has set up Fluffy and another of his stuffed animals (one I can't remember because he wasn't the favorite for years and years) as drivers or riders for his tricycle and sled. He even put his bicycle crash helmet on Fluffy. This wasn't just a pose. Leif was playing with them, driving them around, and creating a whole story scenario for them, and him, of course.
The sled was there as a stand-in for some other kind of vehicle, and there certainly wasn't any snow in April, but it worked fine for Leif's imaginative purposes.
I don't know what finally happened to Fluffy, but he was important to Leif for at least 6 years.
Leif was not a particularly affectionate child. To him, there was something a bit embarrassing about affection if others could see it. He loved to snuggle up in private, and he clearly needed cuddling and loved the softness of his Fluffy. I think as a grown man, this same kind of public avoidance of affection and private need of it continued. It must have been very very hard for him to be alone.