, Salem, MA


December 24, 2013

Anderson: A reluctant convert to the sock monkey craze


When Lance was 3, we lived in Long Beach; and once, after we’d visited a nearby shopping mall, we discovered at bedtime that the monkey had been left somewhere. Thinking that our son might have put him down to play with something more attractive, our first call was to the large, famous toy store.

Yes, the store had him and would keep him for us. The next day when we went to pick him up, he was nowhere to be seen; the manager told us that they’d had him sitting near the counter, but so many children clamored for him that they had to move him to the office until we showed up.

Keep in mind: as a constant companion, he was dirty and ragged. Children wanted him anyhow, though their parents resisted as I would have, given a choice. I have long assumed that this store then went looking for a company that could reproduce him en masse, because eventually we started to see a product called Sock Monkey in stores and catalogs.

Even so, probably because many parents said no to the clamoring children and bought teddy bears instead, sock monkey didn’t catch on in a big way until fairly recently. (I’d guess he started selling when baby boomers had kids to whom they rarely said no.)

Meanwhile, my own boomer son carted his still-rare piece of wildlife off to college with him, where he (the monkey) was a chick magnet and attracted girls who patched the holes through which the nylon stockings were slipping.

After Lance graduated and moved out West, I lost track of monkey hoe-tee; Lance tells me he stayed at U-Mass Amherst for graduate school. Then, a few years ago, my granddaughter became attached to Socko, a modern sock monkey she received as a gift from Santa (certainly not from me).

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