Thursday 28 March 2019

Bonzo the Dog

by Wendy Pike

a nice cup of tea

I grew up with Bonzo, my hand knitted, cuddly, childhood chum.  I admit he always was an odd looking dog but I loved him.  Even when, after succumbing to years of enthusiastic hugging, he morphed into a threadbare, bedraggled mutt, Bonzo retained a certain raggedy charm.   In terms of esteem, he was right up there at the pinnacle.  Along with Tiny Tears doll, which, at my hand and creative styling, endured a permanently bad-hair-day following one disastrous haircut makeover too many.

Bonzo the Dog was two tone.  Beigey-brown and creamy-white with short whiskers and a cheeky tongue sticking out complementing his stitched on black nose and eyes.   And like many hand crafted soft toys of his vintage, he was stuffed with chopped up, worn out tights.  His creator was a super-skilled knitter.  My mum.  Bonzo’s most significant features were his proportionally rather large, somewhat floppy ears.

Despite being such a cherished pal, I’m ashamed to confess I don’t know what happened to Bonzo over the years.  Maybe he was consigned to the loft with other childhood belongings to be indiscriminately chucked out in a clutter cull years later?

But it doesn’t matter now because unearthed from the treasured collection of knitting patterns I’ve inherited from my mum, is one for Bonzo.  It means I can recreate him.  Why, half a century later, I should wish to do that is not clear.  But I shall re-build him. 

Mum paid sixpence in old pennies for the 1950s Robin design by Amanda Laine (number 879).  Finding the pattern has led to another discovery.  It was, so to speak, the moment the dog saw the rabbit.

It came as quite an upset to learn that for decades my dear Bonzo had been living a lie it seems.  He’d been masquerading as a dog.  The pattern revealed the shocking truth.  Bonzo was really a rabbit.  A pretty special, celebrity one though.  All the while lurking, hidden, beneath that doggy persona was Bonzo's genuine leporine lineage - The Easter Bunny.

This poses an identity crisis dilemma for Bonzo mark II.  Dog or rabbit?  Do I let sleeping dogs lie and think of him as canine?  Or am I barking up the wrong tree?

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