“Sarah, time for nap,” Mom said.
I frowned. Wasn’t I too big for naps now?
While all my other siblings were in school, I was the last child home with Mom. Still too young for Kindergarten, I’d have to wait until the following year. I loved having Mom all to myself. But when nap time came, I balked.
“Yes, Ma’am,” I said, shoulders drooped as I inched my way into the empty bedroom I shared with my older sister.
The second I closed the door and turned around, there he stood.
Tall as Dad, perched perfectly still against the wall: an Indian chief! In full headdress, with his arms folded across his chest. His gentle eyes smiled at me and comforted me immediately. I knew instantly we were friends. He never made a move toward me, nor did he speak a word, giving me ample space to bring him into my world.
I named him “Big Chief.”
When nap time was over, I told Mom all about him. This continued day-after-day. Now, instead of wanting to avoid nap time, those afternoons took on a whole new meaning.
Mom must’ve gotten a real kick out of the stories I told her about my imaginary friend, since she set a place for him one evening at the dinner table. When my older brother threatened to sit on the chair designated for my honored guest, I scolded him for his rudeness. The family laughed, but I wasn’t kidding. Looking back on that phase of my childhood, I wonder,
Was Big Chief my actual guardian angel?
You’ll read more about him in my memoir, “As a Result.” It is my honor to have my imaginary friend back with me, in a new way, through the publishing of this memoir about my childhood. Big Chief Books LLC is the name of my publishing company, a good idea when you self-publish a book.
If you, your children or your grandchildren have ever had an imaginary friend, I want to hear from you. Please leave me a comment below. There could be an Imaginary Friend book in my writing future.
Note: The popular Tootsie Roll Pops we kids enjoyed had colorful wrappers with symbols of kids riding bikes, playing games, and, my personal favorite, a child dressed up like an Indian chief, shooting at a star with his arrow. The wrappers have not changed in all these years. In the early 1960’s, there was a legend about it, too. We heard that the Tootsie Roll Pop company would reward kids with free suckers if they turned in these special wrappers–just the ones with the Indian symbol. To this day, they evoke sweet memories of my childhood. (Pun intended.)