Imaginary Friends: The Alex Stick Horse!


This was how I made my imaginary friend Alex “real” and tangible: I had my grandmother help me make him into a stick horse!
Everything used to make him was something I found around my grandparents’ basement, attic, or in my  crafting “busy box” that Grandmother kept well-stocked for me. Looking at him now, I can see how far I have come in making patterns: I didn’t allow for the seam on his face so his muzzle is much narrower than I had planned. I also probably would not have stuffed the ears today but instead made them out of a stiff fabric that could be shaped into ears.  His mane was made of some very thin red yarn—it was all we had lying around that I could get my mitts on. If I did this today, I would give him a huge, full mane! His eyes, mouth and nose are felt cutouts, and his bridle is a combination of a white Christmas ribbon and the kind of thick yarn that we 1970s girls used to wear in our long hair. I’m not sure what the rings of the “bit” are made of (I also find it curious that I felt the need to control my imaginary friend, that I could communicate with, with a bridle).
The fabric of his head, neck and ears was something I found in Grandmother’s attic, which held an unbelievable hoard of fabric, boxes, craft items and old clothes. It was the closest I could find to my spotted pal’s color, but alas, there were only small pieces. You can see how Grandmother lovingly and carefully joined the pieces together in the seam across the middle of his neck. There is also a blue and white portion of this fabric that could not be avoided; it exists on his other side and you can sort of see it peeping out. Last but not least is the old green broom handle that Granddaddy sawed down to the right length. For a while the broom handle had been my “jungle spear” (Granddaddy had previously whittled it to a dull “point” )so I had to decide if I wanted to give it up for that. I did. Alex came together over the course of a couple of weekly visits to their house, and I kept him at their house to ride around the neighborhood. Other kids made fun of me but it never really bothered me that much. I mainly didn’t understand why they wouldn’t think it was fun. It really was! Our adventures included jumping over the big fallen log in my grandparents’ backyard; blazing a trail “out west”; and for some reason, marching in  imaginary parades.
So that’s the story of Alex as a Stick Horse. Hope you enjoyed it!