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Old 03-17-2016, 07:11 AM   #81
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Default Re: Meet My Webkinz Family - Chapter ONE - March 16th, 2016

Chapter Two - Snuggles

Snuggles was Jane's first Webkinz. She bought her at a little toy store on the main street of the little town in Canada she grew up in and thought she would spend the rest of her life in. Snuggles the Koala. Jane was taken by just how soft she was, and Snuggles, though unoriginal, seemed a fitting name.

Click the image to open in full size.

As mentioned, Snuggles was selected because of Jane's Australian heritage. (She would like to clarify, however, that she now understands that there is no such thing really as an Australian heritage. There is a European heritage of colonialism, or an Indigenous heritage of survival, and hers is, shamefully, the former rather than the latter. A grandfather immigrated from England however many hundred years ago to steal the land from its rightful owners. But here I will stop her from stepping onto one of her many soapboxes. You will all hear quite enough of them, anyways). And Snuggles the Koala was doomed to an attitude of self-importance, as the eldest in her clan.

I'm inclined to agree that Snuggles is a bit of a…snob isn't quite the right word. She's not prissy or snooty, just…superior? She is the most advanced of everyone in the Kinzville Academy, for example, and always reminds us how Ms Cowoline insists she is a straight-A student. (Personally, I get the vibe from Ms Cowoline that she thinks everyone is a straight-A student, but I digress). She likes it when things go her way and struggles when things don't. When Valiant first came along, there was quite a bit of animosity between the two of them, and as I understand it, that hasn't quite dissipated, though the two of them do now share the same bedroom without too many incidents. I understand that they both have strong personalities - they are both leaders. They just lead in different ways.

Click the image to open in full size.

And Snuggles' leadership has been valuable. I mean, she sat me down and talked me through the rules of the house and told me where I could sit and sleep and what I could eat and started to introduce me to the rest of the crew. She comes across as strong-willed at first, but that doesn't mean she won't listen or concern herself with the needs of others. Just so long as they don't come at odds with her own needs, I think. And really, I can't say I hate her. In fact, I quite like her. She's direct, sure, but it beats beating around the bush.

I suppose, as well, Snuggles has earned her rightful place at Jane's side. After eight years, she's still around. Sitting on the shelf in the closet of the room Jane shares with her boyfriend. Still as soft as ever. She travelled all right, from the shop in Small Town Canada to Auntie's house in the suburbs in Australia, to the townhouse in the Mountains, back to a different small town in Canada, and then back to University in Big City Australia. Snuggles made it, she survived. As the first, she had a special place in Jane's heart that she refused to let go of, so Snuggles has not gotten lost.

Snuggles was adopted in September of 2007, the day Jane opened her first Webkinz account. She's smart, I'll admit it. Her best friend is Hosanna the Panda, her favourite game is Link'd, she loves cookies and also napping, but if she could be anything, she'd be a prima ballerina.
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Old 03-19-2016, 11:19 PM   #82
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Default Re: Meet My Webkinz Family - Chapter TWO - March 17th, 2016

Chapter Three - Jack

Wherever there's a dominant, overbearing big-sister, there's a quiet, yet eager-to-please little brother.

Click the image to open in full size.

Jack was Jane's second Webkinz, adopted in October of 2007. Jane has poor naming abilities, but she likes to pretend she's clever. So here's the story of Jack's name: He's a black, Hallowe'en cat. Also prominent around Hallowe'en are Jack-O-Lanterns. So Jack is a fitting name for a Hallowe'en cat.

Jack was also purchased in the toy shop on main street in small town in Canada, before the Big Move of '08. Unlike Snuggles, Jack didn't make it into the suitcase. He probably went into storage instead, and is probably somewhere in the old house that Grandpa never sold. She hopes. She hopes he isn't lost - that would be bad luck, wouldn't it? Maybe. And maybe next time she goes back, Jane will find him, and if she can't bring him to Australia, she'll at least make sure she's with the other half of the collection.

Jack has his own room, filled with 2007-era Hallowe'en themed furniture. The games of picnic Jane must have played to buy all those items from the W-shop, some of which haven't been sold since. Jack keeps to himself mainly. It's not that he thinks he'll bring bad luck, but he just didn't expect the family to ever explode like it did. He liked it better when there were only three of them. He tries to be tough sometimes, or strong or brave, but it seldom works out. It just isn't him, not really.

He did ever so quietly say hello to me. He showed me his room - the Creepy bed, the Mausoleum television that no longer seems to work, the gargoyle chair and, his prized possession, the crystal ball. He asked me to do a puzzle with him, which I obliged. I was hopeless at it, but he really got into it. I wish he had a personality other than the quiet one, the brooding one, the dark one whose plushie is lost, but that is, sadly, who he has become.

The others say he has come a bit more out of his shell in the quiet years. He and Connie have become good friends, and he confides in Whit. Everyone confides in Whit. His best friend, however, is still Millie, the only one he has known almost as long as he's known Snuggles.
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Old 03-19-2016, 11:36 PM   #83
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Default Re: Meet My Webkinz Family - Chapter THREE, March 20th, 2016

Interesting stories! Nice to meet your pets!
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Old 03-21-2016, 04:21 AM   #84
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Default Re: Meet My Webkinz Family - Chapter THREE, March 20th, 2016

Chapter Four - Millie

Millie was adopted in November of 2007. I'm a little fuzzy on the details of just how she was acquired, but it's worth noting that her adoption date is not long after Jane's birthday.

Click the image to open in full size.

Millie is a Lil'Kinz Black Bear. Jane, being from Canada, was super aware of the fact that A. A. Milne named his character "Winnie the Pooh was named after a Black Bear named Winnie, and a swan named Pooh. The black bear belonged to a Canadian Soldier during World War I, who had named it after his home town of Winnipeg. Jane was very tempted to name her Black Bear "Winnipeg" or "Winnie", but she felt it was a bit too unoriginal. She has an Aunt who goes by Millie, and thought Millie was similar enough to Winnie to be a good name for a little black bear.

Millie, like Jack, keeps to herself for the most part. Though for her, it's not because she's shy and brooding - she's happy to sit down over a cuppa at Whit's End and have a chat (how do you think I managed to get her story?), it's simply that she doesn't like attention. She is the humblest little Black Bear you would ever meet. She has a small room, nicknamed Millie's Cave, that isn't elaborately decorated by any means, but it's so very her nonetheless.

Millie was also, for a very long time, solely responsible for the household veggie garden. I know it seems odd for a bear, but it was her passion to weed and water and rake the garden each day. She just loved getting her paws dirty, only to clean everything again. I hate to delve into gender norms here, but truly, while Snuggles was in many ways 'in charge' of the small family, Millie was the woman doing all the work behind the scenes, keeping it tidy and keeping everyone fed and happy. In this way, she was very much like Jane's auntie she was named after.

Click the image to open in full size.

Millie has also often been the calm voice of wisdom. She does more listening than she does talking, you see, and an awful lot of thinking. She has been known to notice things that the others haven't, and often in the early days of conflict between Snuggles and Valiant, she was the mediator, the voice of reason, refusing to play the victim or to be used as a pawn in the feud.

Like Jack, Millie was left behind in Canada when the move happened, and wherabouts in the physical realm is yet unknown. It is hoped that she and Jack are together and that Jane might be able to retrieve them both one day.


View Post Originally Posted by Queen of Sheba
Interesting stories! Nice to meet your pets!
Thanks, Queen of Sheba. I'm glad you're enjoying it. I must say, I'm having loads of fun writing.

Last edited by jenga_jane; 03-21-2016 at 04:21 AM..
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Old 03-23-2016, 02:21 PM   #85
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Default Re: Meet My Webkinz Family - Chapter FOUR, March 21st, 2016

Interlude I - Back to Jane

Until now, the story of the Webkinz has been simple. Though probably considered "too old" for this new trend, Jane was interested in Webkinz and had a little bit of spending money on hand to indulge, though certainly not a lot. She was happy with her three, and eventually, as she so often does, she lost interest in Webkinz and moved on to other passions (I think this was where the Sims 2 came into play).

The move was not unexpected when it happened. They had plenty of warning, they just didn't want to accept it. What was unexpected was the frantic phone call from Dad's brother in Australia. Jane remembered. She had answered the phone, but it was a school morning and Mom was trying to get the three of them out the door. She told dad's brother she'd call him back in a few minutes. So Jane got on the bus and went to school.The news was that Dad's sister had cancer in her liver, and had been given only a few years to live. Dad's sister lived in Australia.

It took them two years to get everything sorted out. Two years of denial. Two years of preparation. Two years of Mom standing stoically at her husband's side.

That was weird.

Mom was the strong one. Her parents were a team, sure, and neither one's words overrode the other's. They worked together, always equal. Equal responsibility in child care, equal responsibility in working, in paying the many bills. Mom was the feminist, the woman who had stood up to men telling her that women shouldn't be Pastors, shouldn't be in leadership in the Church, shouldn't be educated theologians with opinions. Mom was the woman who proved them wrong, who got her BD and returned to her home town to Pastor her church. Who poured her heart and soul into this group, this thing, this people, to raise them up, to help them, to be a leader.

Only to be reduced to working as a cashier at Wal-Mart when the money ran out in the church.

Mom announced her resignation to what remained of the small congregation in small town, Canada. The remaining few agreed that the church was not financially viable, and made the difficult decision to close the church. Jane watched as her third parent, her second family, the church where she had grown up watching VeggieTales in the sanctuary while Mom wrote sermons, or colouring in pictures of stories from the bible out of the Shirly Dobson colouring book, was shut down and reduced to a rummage sale on the corner of the main highway that ran through Small Town, Canada. That was August, 2008.

In November 2008, Jane, still in the middle of high school, still mourning her Church, still wondering what was up with her parents, got on a plane with Mom, Dad, brother and sister, and flew to Australia.

They lived with Auntie and her family for a while. Auntie had stopped working then, because she was too sick. Her house in the suburbs miraculously held-up with so many people living in it, and just as well, because it took a long time for Jane and her family to find a place to live. Finally, they found a four-bedroom townhouse in the Mountains, and moved there in February. There was a McDonald's store on the corner (hereafter referred to as the culturally appropriate "Maccas") where Jane promptly applied for (and got) a job.

And finally Jane and her siblings had found schools.

The new high school was a one and half kilometre walk from their house, and Jane could not believe that on some days, she had to be there at 8 in the morning. She didn't like having to wear a uniform to school, and she didn't like the fact that there were more than 100 students in her year group. She never really did find good friends in that school - just tolerable acquaintances. She got on really well with the school chaplain, though, and sometimes opted to spend breaks and recesses with her rather than with the other students. She was a bit strange like that.

She even arranged for her Mom to come into to the school to give a talk during one of the lunch breaks for the other students. Mom did a theodrama of the woman with the haemorrhage who touched Jesus' robe to be healed while he was on his way to heal Jairus' daughter. It was brilliant, and all the students loved her performance.
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Old 03-28-2016, 08:22 AM   #86
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Default Re: Meet My Webkinz Family - Chapter FOUR, March 21st, 2016

Interlude II - The Biggest Teddy Bear Shop in the Southern Hemisphere

When Mom finished the theodrama and all the students thanked her for coming in and talking to them, Jane was finished school for the day, so she left with her Mom.

Now it was early in the afternoon on a hot day in December, so rather than walking straight home, they decided to go check out the shops across the street from the school. They looked for something for her cousin's Christmas gift in the hardware store, and bought some potted flowers for the kitchen window at the plant centre. They went to the takeaway chicken shop and bought some hot chips to share. And then they decided to check out a teddy bear shop.

Now Australians, like all people, like to make themselves sound impressive. But there's not a whole lot, really, to be super impressed about. We've got a bridge, and a harbor, and a big red rock, and an opera house, and not much more than that. Oh, and we also have the biggest such-and-such in the Southern Hemisphere. Or the only this-and-that in the Southern Hemisphere. Or the best something-or-other in the southern hemisphere. Personally, I think it's such a silly cop-out. I mean, who do we have to compete with? Africa? Brazil? New Zealand? Poverty, deforestation, and sheep. Great.

Idjits.

So Mom and Jane wandered into the biggest teddy bear shop in the Southern Hemisphere, across the street from the high school. We meandered around, marvelling at the selection of toys. We chatted to the owners, who bragged about their store being the largest of its kind in the Southern hemisphere (because apparently entire shops devoted to toys and teddy bears aren't in high demand in Uruguay). And there, right along the front near the door, was a shelf full of Webkinz.

Click the image to open in full size.

"Oh, Jane, remember these?" asked Mom.

Yes, yes she did. That had been a fun game once upon a time, hadn't it? She had played with her old friends, back in Canada. She had the Koala in her bedroom somewhere.

"Why don't you pick one out for you, your brother and your sister. I'll give them to you guys for Christmas. But shh, it's a secret."Okay, whatever. Jane picked three that she kind of liked. They paid for them, then met Jane's sister at the high school, and walked home.But Jane couldn't help herself. She was thinking of the Webkinz the whole way home. It was incredible, how just minutes ago, she hadn't spared them barely a thought in the last year and a bit. But now…

When she got home, she tried to log in to her account. Millie had been adopted over two years ago. She couldn't get in. And Mom had no doubt hidden the new Webkinz away until Christmas, which would be over two weeks away. There was no way she could get to them, and, well, patience had never been her strong suit. She couldn't be patient, she wasn't patient.

She wanted to get into that account, and sooner rather than later.
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Old 04-07-2016, 05:33 AM   #87
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Default Re: Meet My Webkinz Family - Interlude II, March 28th, 2016

Chapter Five - Valiant


Jane went back to the store at her earliest convenience in order to find a Webkinz.

Lil'Kinz were cheaper than the full-sized Webkinz. The shop hadn't had a huge selection of them. But Jane liked dogs and a poodle was a dog. Plus it was cute, nondescript, and would fit in her backpack so Mom wouldn't know she'd bought it. It wasn't that she'd get into trouble - she had her own job taking orders and serving burgers, her own money, she could spend it how she liked. But she didn't want to ruin the surprise for her brother and sister. And she didn't want to draw attention to the fact that she was that pathetically impatient for Christmas.

She walked home that school day with a spring in her step, she rushed upstairs to her room, closed the door, and ripped off the tag as quick as she could, casting the toy aside.

Click the image to open in full size.

But Valiant was not so easily forgotten. She's a passionate pet, who took to heart the name Jane gave her. Valiant: possessing courage or determination. She was courageous, she was determined.

She was a threat to Snuggles. Her spunky spirit, her 'in' with Jane, her innocence.

Her courage.

And she taught Jane. She taught her a lot. She taught her that she can be her own person, that she doesn't need to worry about others' perceptions of her. She taught her that you don't have to outgrow your imagination. She taught her the value in believing that things could be 'real'.

Click the image to open in full size.At some point, Jane adopted a philosophy that anything and everything you could imagine may as well be 'real' somewhere. Otherwise, what was the point of living in this world? This world lacked Doctors in TARDISes, lacked Unicorns and Pegasi, lacked Crystal Gems and Princess Bubblegums and wizards and magic and supernatural hunters. Sure, it has its own dragons and demons and monsters, and Jane knows as well as anyone that racism and addiction and trauma and abuse are adventure enough for some people, but that doesn't mean you can't believe in the fantasy.

At some point, someone asked if she believed in God. She said yes. Then the same person asked if she believed in Unicorns.

She wished she could have had what it took to say "yes, somewhere." Not so much because she did or because her belief in God was similarly frivolous, but simply because what business was it of their what she believed?

Humans, Jane feels, have a very valuable gift. They have the ability to create worlds with their minds.And truly, it was with Valiant's help that Jane created a world, this world, the world I am sharing with you. And many others since that may not ever be shared, but which are no less real to Jane. Valiant became real for a girl who, by all usual metrics, should have been much too old to believe in fairy tales, in plush animals developing a spirit, in toys having lives.

The entire process, the entire transformation, took a great deal of courage. Of valor.

In doing all of this, Valiant never meant for there to be to animosity between her and Snuggles. She just walked in, believed in herself, and believed in Jane. And in the process, she unknowingly upset the status quo. Snuggles and Jack and Millie had had a thing going for 2 years. They had been peaceful, happy, and along came Valiant.

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Valiant built a bridge between Jane and her inner magic; between Jane and her Webkinz. But someone else would need to build a bridge between Valiant and the others.
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