Today’s post comes from Crystal Bay
My dad’s dream was to live on a lake so that he could go fishing every morning. He had a second dream: having his own factory to design and sell stuffed toys. Some of you may remember “Animal Fair”? Some will remember his factory in Chanhassen.
He was very gifted as an artist. The way he designed a new stuffed animal was amazing. He’d have a dream during sleeping of a new animal, and, in the morning over a cup of coffee, he’d sketch it out. He then knew how to lay it out one-dimensionally on fabric, cut it out, sew it, turn it inside out, and stuff it. It looked exactly like the one in his dream. Most every animal he ever made went through this extraordinary process. On Saturdays, he’d practically give the toys away and donate many to charity.
One day, he produced “Henry”, named by my son because he looked like a classmate. He made them from 6” high to 6’ tall.
Bringing this history up to Dad at 81 years old, one morning, while reading the Variety section, I spotted a big picture of Henry. Reading the article, I learned that there’s an international Henry fan club, a web site. and even an annual convention. They’re now worth a fortune. In this article, the founders of the club lamented that they’d never found his creator, the birth, of this beloved dog.
I immediately phoned them to tell them who brought Henry into life. They flew a delegation out from CA to meet with Dad that very week, and updated the Henry website with the story of Henry’s modest beginnings.
You can only imagine the old man’s astonishment!! At Dad’s memorial service just one year later, the company, Princess Toys who’d bought him out, sent a box full of little Henrys to give everyone in attendance. Sitting next to his urn is a Henry dog on my living room shelf. It seems that Henry will live on into perpetuity.
How do you get your creative ideas? What were your favorite stuffed animals?