This large, plastic sea tortoise was purchased in the early `90s for my eldest son, Henry, during his sea creature phase. It had been with us for a long time, seen a lot of Harper drama go down, but he hadn’t claimed a place in Harper lore, like, say The United States Marine Corps ring that Henry insisted on buying with his Christmas money when he was five, so that he could be a Marine just like his grandfather. Henry still has the ring, in a box in his apartment in New York, and a nice relationship with his grandfather that started with that ring, though he never joined any branch of the armed services.
So, when Eliot found it while he was packing to return to college, I assumed it would go straight into our GoodWill box.
“Oh, I’m definitely taking this,” he said. When I questioned his sanity, he said, “this is my dream tortoise.” Apparently, when I wasn’t looking, the sea tortoise had claimed his place in Harper lore by guiding Eliot to pleasant dreams through middle school and high school.
And now it has a new home, in a college dorm on the east coast.