By Indie Dad

The story so far:

After their mum moved out, my two sons, Alex and Danny, decided we needed some house rules. They were aged nine and seven at the time, and felt a powerful need to impose some order on the world. I had expected them to come up with five or six rules but they returned with a lengthy list, consisting of 32 rules…

Rule 26 –
‘We don’t break Piggy’

Zonkey and Boxer Puppy were the boys’ cuddly toys, Piggy was mine. As a child he was my constant companion. I took him with me everywhere I went, including the toilet. I still remember the trauma of the time he fell in. My mum heroically came to the rescue, and put him in the washing machine. After what felt like a long and worrying wait he emerged clean and still in one piece, though only just. It was a rough ride in a washing machine in 1965.

I went to bed cuddling Piggy every night. As time went by he became progressively more threadbare, but Mum kept patching him up. When his stuffing started falling out she covered him in a pale blue shirt and dark blue trousers. She also gave him a new pink nose and added two big pink ears to replace the original ones, which had fallen off.

As time went by Piggy, like Woody at the start of Toy Story 2, found himself consigned to the shelf. And then the cupboard. And then the loft. By the time I left home I had no idea where he was – not that I would even have thought about it.

My sister had children before me and my dad took the opportunity to see what he could remove from the loft. So down came the cot, the doll’s house and a black sack of cuddly toys. Some of them were moth-eaten and had to be thrown away, but Piggy was intact. He was turning out to be a survivor.

Piggy was never a big hit with my sister’s girls. Perhaps he looked too male in his blue shirt and trousers, or perhaps too tatty. Maybe they were put off by the story of him falling in the toilet. When they grew older and started throwing out old toys to make room for new ones, Piggy was one of the first to go.

Mum phoned me, outraged. She’d been to the church jumble sale and found Piggy on one of the stalls. She’d had to pay good money to buy him back. Admittedly he only cost ten pence, but it was the principle of the thing.

When Alex was born she gave Piggy back to me. He wasn’t one of the boys’ favourites – he was too old, too tatty, too weird-looking. But they liked the story of how he had been my cuddly toy, especially the part about him falling in the toilet. And although I sometimes put him up on the shelf – in the interests of his own preservation – he always ended up back in the pile with the other toys. In the boys’ room Piggy was one of the gang, along with Zonkey and Boxer puppy.

A few months after their mum had moved out Danny brought Piggy through to my room, explaining that it was so I’d have something to cuddle when I went to bed at night.  And so, in my fiftieth year, I found myself sleeping with Piggy again.

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