Oscar’s affinity for elephants began early and has been consistent and unfailing. On a trip to Roger Williams Park Zoo when he was barely two, he chose a stuffed elephant in the gift shop and promptly named her “Ossie.” She continues to sleep in Oscar’s bed every night–right next to his beluga whale and dinosaurs. And this affinity points to a multitude of parellels between these gentle beasts and their number-one fan. But, perhaps, the most salient parallel brings to mind the well-known idiom, “A memory like an elephant.” Oscar’s memory never ceases to astonish us.
He can pick up a toy that he received for Christmas 2006 or a keepsake that appeared in his Easter basket a year-and-a-half ago and tell us exactly who gave it to him and for what occasion. He even has the source of Edgar’s toys at his disposal. I would love to believe that this ability has more to do with our efforts to instill gratitude for all gifts and generous overtures in Oscar, but I have concluded that it probably has to do with a young child’s innate, uncluttered ability to recall that is infinitely more powerful than my own. When he holds up a toy train and says, “Did Auntie give this to me for Christmas a few years ago?” I have to say, “Yes,” even if I am not sure because I know Oscar is.