I’ve always liked animals, but my favorite animal — at least for most of my life — is elephants. The interest precedes political awareness and has nothing to do with the party they symbolize. I’m told it started at a circus when I was two. I jumped up and down and excitedly yelling “fufu! fufu!” My parents didn’t know what I was jabbering about until later, when I saw one on TV. I pointed and repeated my toddler talk for elephant: “fufu! fufu!” So they got me one for my birthday: a yellow bean-bag toy with sleepy eyes named Dizzy, pictured here with two other childhood favorites.
After that I got stuffed elephants for every birthday and Christmas and a few extras heres and there, until I had enough to stage herds of elephants running across the savannah (i.e., my bedroom carpet.) When I was 13 and moved to Africa, I shed all but a couple of favorites, but started collected miniature wooden and stone elephant carvings.
I’ve since become more panzoological in my decor. Our home is something of a menagerie of monkeys, panthers, pigs and sheep. The living room has a north woods theme, adorned with wolves and otters and foxes. A lot of the elephants are packed away, but there are plenty here and there. If you’re looking for them, you’ll see them.