This I Believe

damon - portland, Oregon
Entered on January 11, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: love
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in the personal freedom of self-expression.

When I was a toddler, my grandmother gave me a stuffed animal. His name was Peewee. Peewee was a mighty but wee dog standing in at six inches tall.

I had Peewee until I was 40 years old. I loved him. As a child, he served as my constant companion, and as a small child was my bed-mate. He had long brown ears that dangled on either side of his head, and brown paws. Peewee’s body and head was tan, not unlike a German Shepherd. The texture of his skin resembled a favorite worn-out bathrobe. His eyes were glass and his little nose was rubber.

Truth be told, I took Peewee for granted. Over many years of loving abuse, I wore him ragged. His eyes and nose eventually came off, and he acquired an open gash in his chest. My mother repaired his face with embroidered eyes and nose and his wound was sewn shut. Over the years, Peewee’s stuffing shifted; traveling from his body to settle in his head and extremities. His cranium became a huge orb, with a miniscule body, surrounded by Pop-Eye sized arms and legs. He was unusual, but I adored him.

He was the hero in my escapades, and would occasionally play the role of the bad guy or monster. Peewee was nothing if not utilitarian.

I used Peewee in the various stages of my playing. When I went through my super-hero stage, Peewee stepped up and become anointed with powers above and beyond. I borrowed a piece of black cloth from my mom to create a cape, and had her fashion an eye-patch. Oh, you could tell it was Peewee all right: there was no mistaking him for the Lone Ranger or Zorro, or any of the disguised super-heroes.

Peewee followed me all my life. When I moved away from home, this little doggie came along.

He starred in a comedic home video. At the end of the movie, Peewee died, then ascended to heaven. It was very dramatic, and hilarious.

PeeWee engaged and aided my imagination like nothing else.

When my girls were little, I enjoyed watching them play with their own stuffed animals and dolls. At one point the basement was filled with these cohorts, and each of their rooms spilled over with a gazillion animals and figures.

Dolls and stuffed creatures aid a child in their own unique form of self-expression, free from judgment and free from the pitfalls of the world. In a child’s imagination, ideas are free to run rampant and be explored with these friendly companions. With a stuffed animal, you always have someone warm and fuzzy to love.

Somehow Peewee ended up in a brief case, which was thrown away. Peewee disappeared, but I’ll never forget him.

I miss Peewee but am thankful for the gifts he gave me and the lessons learned: freedom to express oneself and a joi-de-vivre that I hope I never lose.