Do you have a special memory of a favorite toy when you were a kid? I had a Gumby in the 1960s, that bendable green man. He was my reliable friend and had a huge following, even his own Gumby Show. He became famous again in the 1980s on Saturday Night Live with Eddie Murphy’s hilarious Gumby skits. Gumby was an important part of my personal history, but at the tender age of 7, I watched as it was hurled into the North Sea. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.
Let me tell you: I was in 2nd grade and our family was living in The Netherlands for a six-month period. Gumby was a key player in my posse, so he came with me everywhere, even to the beach. Not any normal beach mind you, but the coast of the North Sea off The Netherlands. The North Sea extends from Northern France all the way north to the Shetland Islands, east of Norway.
So, it’s 1969 and we’re at the beach, and of course my pal Gumby was with me. He was a good swimmer and loved the water, I told myself. But I made a big mistake – I let my sister Anji play with Gumby—she was, like, 13 years old, and “trouble” was her middle name. That was when my Gumby’s world, and mine, changed forever. In a fit of passion Anji threw him into the North Sea. Really, really, far. I looked for my Gumby frantically but couldn’t find it. There is no record of the event, but the oral history lives on. I have not seen him since, and I still haven’t published the picture book I drew at age 7, “Where’s My Gumby?”
Gumby’s still out there, probably on the way to Norway. I’ve grown up and forgiven my sister Anji after all these years, but I often wonder – will Gumby ever forgive me?