If you don't have one, get one! Mine is a great traveling companion. "Rescued" is my monkey's name. He was found on a heap of coke in a dilapidated, tarnished by World War II, and then state-confiscated* property I visited with my father in 1955 in Warsaw.
No. 1 Turecka Street is located just off the history-rich Royal Route, south of Belweder Palace and mid-way from the Royal Castle Square to Wilanów Castle. It was a prime location to house a church headquarters and provide homes for clergy.
Years later, I gathered, that very visit in 1955 was a nostalgic. Perhaps it was the proximity to the Soviet Embassy that pushed the regime to confiscate religious facility, these being the early years of communist rule in Poland. The Turecka location was substituted for a different, and much more central, palatial, and valuable property at 8 Foksal Street. Finding "Rescued" became a saving-grace moment for me. Even today it reminds me of restoration and happy escapes. My stuffed monkey is a joyful companion-reminder of the present and the better things to come.
Like many of our small and large mementos, nostalgia oozes out of our special objects, animated or dustable alike. Call me weird or crazy, but no matter where we find ourselves, we talk to each other. He patiently listens to my blabber and interrupts me aptly making me to pause and reflect.
"Rescued" travels well. Often he is found on his head as I unpack him in my hotel room, but never jumps out of the suitcase or knapsack. He has manners. As you can imagine, he got that from me, right?
The monkey had his life-dramas over his 58 years of toy-life. First, someone abandoned him and in a dark, dusty and lightless basement, and on a heap of coke (koks), a popular heating fuel in a post-WWII Poland. Who was his first and young, I assume, owner? "Rescued" and I still exchange views about it today.
Undoubtedly, his next stage in life was in a much cleaner and friendly environ.
A little over 25 years later my monkey experienced his next traumatic moment. It came when our 3-year old son, Michal, gave him a shave and attempted a surgery, resulting in a severe chest cut, as well as a thorough chewed-up leg. When I saw what was happening, "Rescued" encountered his second rescue.
Then, the missing eye. This was - fortunately – an effect of Michal's “precision” surgery before blinding the monkey totally. The operation was thus successfully interrupted but obviously my "Rescued" lost one eye.
“Rescued” recently returned from a trip to Dubai. It was an exhausting, yet culturally rich travel, including a ride on a camel at the Spice Souk market, and the excitement of crossing the Dubai Creek on an abra water taxi. But an experiment with trying a scoop of camel milk gelato was not what we thought it would be. It tastes the same as your regular milk ice cream. But, the saffron gelato was awesome. Upon seeing “Rescued” Dubai photos, Michal’s comment was: "Snip, snip!" Keep him safe when around me, was his reaction.
No matter what's in store for my monkey and me, my 58 years of "belonging" is rich and certain. Even with one eye, my "Rescued" can still see more! His silent contentment tells me so.
Today, as he interacts with his cosmopolitan buddies, he leans proudly on a South African tiger, and winks, as if to indicate that joy is rich in giving yourself to others in friendship and in practicing quality listening skills. [He knows so much about me!]
My convictions confirm our joint resolve to recognize happy escapes and restoration as being at the heart of our toy-human axis.
*In 1995, as part of the church-state agreement, the property was returned to the church.