Have you ever felt love, joy or comfort from touching something soft. The sensations we receive from softness can cause a variety of responses and feelings. But love is usually what I think of.
What started me on these meanderings was a memory from my childhood. I was about 8 years old when I spent the night at my country grandmother’s little white house with a white picket fence across the front.
Spending the night as a big girl by myself without my parents was a really special event. This particular night was a chilly one. Grandmother K. always had plenty of quilts and a fire in the fireplace though.
Grandmothers Velvet Robe
But there was one source of warmth that she had that I loved dearly. It was her navy blue, velvet bathrobe. I was pretty tall for my age and she was only a little taller than I was after working with her shoulders stooped over in the textile mills. One afternoon I was cold and wanted to curl up under that robe to get warm. She lovingly enveloped me in that soft, warm robe of hers.
The pure bliss of softness from the texture of the fabric, which in that time was not cheap, made me marvel at how it could be so soft and so warm! I am not sure if I took a nap or just wanted to snuggle up under that robe. But I still remember thinking, “This robe is so warm it could keep me warm at the North Pole!” I of course had no concept of how cold a real arctic freeze could be.”
That robe lasted a long time but I grew up and found other warm things to wear. But sixty plus years later I can remember that robe.
My Smokey the Bear
When I was two years old my uncle gave me a real live, Smokey the Bear, teddy bear. He had a hat and shovel, which was lost so early on that I don’t remember it. But he had a plastic belt with a metal buckle that spelled out his name, “Smokey,” that topped off his denim jeans.
He was very soft, though I remember his fur more as the Velveteen Rabbit’s fur at the end of the book with “his fur loved off.”
Smokey had a stiff rubberized face with a snout with a pink tongue. His golden eyes looked like real eyes with irises and pupils.
He was my constant companion. My family took a trip to Florida when I was four years old. I left my Smokey the Bear at a sight-seeing spot. Thirty miles down the road I realized I didn’t have my Smokey and began to cry. Daddy turned the car around and went back to the spot where I had set Smokey down. He knew I would not sleep without my Smokey!
Here is a picture of me and my buddy. Earlier this year I found one just like him on the internet, bought him and lovingly repaired his stained pants.
Memories Come Flooding
Later as an adult I was sleeping in a motel and grasped the blanket to tuck myself in. Suddenly I felt the coverlet’s velvety softness between my fingers. As I rubbed the fabric between my fingers a flood of memories of holding my favorite teddy bear and of that time under my grandmother’s velvet robe. I felt so warm, comfortable and protected.
The Comfort of Touch
Now when I watch TV, I usually have one cat in my lap to stroke as I revel at her softness. I can see the softness of the other cat from the light on her soft black fur. They both seek my touch at different times and make me feel relaxed and soothed as I return the favor with my hands caressing the softness of their fur.
The Most Precious Memory
A recent memory I have of softness occurred after my grandson’s birth over a year ago. Touching his newborn head, face, and skin made me cry with joy. Later when he was about four months old he fell asleep in my lap when I was performing grandmother babysitting duties.
I covered him with a wonderfully soft, burgundy blanket, that reminds me of my grandmother’s navy blue robe. I hope he will remember this blanket like I remember my grandmother’s: as a place of warmth, comfort, love, and protection.
What a wonderful experience to be able to feel and give love and so much more through the sense of touch.