When I was in fourth grade, I went on a trip to Orlando Florida with my grandparents. Before my mom and dad said goodbye to my 8-year-old brother and I, they handed us each 40 dollars to spend on the trip – the most money I had held in my life.
On one of the first days, we stumbled into a puppet shop. These are not the kind of puppets that look like cute stuffed animals. These are the kind of puppets from those terrifying religious kid shows.
A man inside the shop demonstrated how much life these puppets can have if you just know the right tricks. He made them talk, laugh, fix their hair and even bite our ears! I was captivated by these creatures … and I could have one of my own for only 40 dollars!
However, I knew I didn’t want to spend my whole Florida budget on one thing, so I tried to con my brother into buying it together. In the meantime, I spent my money on trinkets at the flea market.
I remember sitting across from him in a hot tub a couple days later explaining how much we needed this puppet. He could play with us after school. He could be like our brother.
That had him sold.
We stopped by the puppet shop on our way to the airport and each emptied our pockets at the counter. This made the purchase even. I spent $10 and my brother spent $30. Our new moppy haired friend wore a black T-shirt with a baseball stitched on the front. His denim jeans were adorned with a chain hanging from the pocket. We named him Seth, the name my mom would have given to a baby boy if she had another.
When mom met Seth, she took the name off her favorites list.
—McKenzie Van Loh