The Harvey Gene Has Passed Us By

…Each time that an imaginary friend has appeared in our home, I’ve been thrilled by their appearance as a sign of a healthy, thriving imagination and creative mind…it’s fun to have these special guests.
~Amanda Blake Soule, The Creative Family

When I was in my teens, I became very interested in old movies. Harvey, with Jimmy Stewart, was a favorite, about a grown man who has an imaginary friend in a six foot white rabbit. When I came to the above quote in the book I am currently reading, it occurred to me that I never had an imaginary friend. As far as I know, my brother and sister didn’t, either. Sure, we visited exotic places and were fascinating people, all in our minds, but no pretend playmates. Luke says his childhood and that of his siblings is the same. So, I’m wondering if any of you, or your children, have had imaginary friends. And I’m also curious to see if it sometimes is a matter of not having a real playmate, in the case of only children or only girl or boy in the family. Leave a comment. We want all the details, too- name, age, special powers…

6 Replies to “The Harvey Gene Has Passed Us By”

  1. I don’t remember having a pretend friend, but I spent HOURS pretending to own a horse when I was seven or so. My real life-friend Christy “Colt” (her real last name was similar to this but I’ll have to tell you later to protect the innocent) & I would gallop all over the fields of our playground in our skirts with jeans underneath. We’d ride, feed them, brush them, even dismounted when we were done galloping. That was our play of choice all through third & fourth grades.

    Hubby, an only child, to my knowledge never had a pretend friend, but I’ve never asked him that question. Will have to write later if I find out otherwise.

    Of our children, one has a stuffed elephant that became “real” & another even named her blankie – Marvin Johnson. Both still take good care of these pretend friends even at age eleven & seven!

    So, I guess technically, that leaves no pretend friends like in the poem, but personally, I think that’s a little creepy anyway. Just sayin’.

  2. Well, I can confirm that I had no imaginary friends as a child. And so far, Natalie does not appear to have any, but she is only 3 🙂

  3. We never had any either. When we moved to a new place, I was the ringleader of adventures with siblings and new friends where we made up stories about what was going on…in an old abandoned shack in the woods or near a pond etc. We had a really elaborate adventure where I wrote notes back & forth between two people we made up and left them for the younger ones to find….much to their excitement. But we all knew it was playing or at least those of us old enough to know for sure did, and we never actually pretended to see or interact with these storyline characters. I was about to turn 8. Once school began and we got into our new life, that adventure ended; so I believe it was our creative way of having fun in a new place during a summer with nothing else to do.

    Today for the first time, 4 year old told me that Eyeore was sailing away in a boat behind the sofa. Then he handed me a tiny invisible Eyeore to take care of, but I know it was really about him wanting me to do my funny Eyeore impression. Eyeore is not their favorite Pooh character, but the boys love Daddy & Mommy’s silly voices. This did go on all day with Eyeore mostly in my care, sitting on my shoulder, and me laughing every time he licked my ear or said something funny. I am waiting to see if this is turning into a real imaginary friend…for now, he has been given to me, and I’m frequently asked where he is and what he is doing. The boys love to ask “Mommy tell me a story.” Two things may have brought this on…friends moving away and my hiding all the Disney books that I couldn’t read one more time. I will read the classic Pooh stories every day, but I need a break from the Disney Pooh. To me they have really ruined my favorite Pooh classics. This is the first time I’ve hidden books. I may need to bring them back out… 🙁 I’ll read the classics tomorrow first. 🙂

  4. Wait a minute–do the above mean that we did have imaginary friends? In the first example, we made up the adventures more for the littler children who really got into it, and that made it a million times fun! It was sort of like writing a play or a story to me. Later I did write “books” for my brothers, and we all made up bedtime stories on the spot when we shared a room while traveling. I wish I had them now. But now, it seems that Eyeore is MY imaginary friend! If I have to have an imaginary friend, I would like to choose for myself, and it would be Tigger, not Eeyore. “Worraworraworra”. 🙂 Hoo hoo hoo hooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

  5. At the risk of blowing up your comment box…

    I read that book too! 🙂 I still peek at her blog to catch up as much as I can.

  6. When Claire was about 3 1/2 she had an imaginary friend she called ‘ego’ short for ‘diego’. It was when Diego was a new character on Dora the explorer. She would talk to him, she would save a seat for him in the van and say,’c’mon ‘ego’ when it was time to go etc… She had 2 siblings at the time. It only lasted a few months though.

    My sister Jess, who is number 6 of 9 kids also had an imaginary friend she called Aurora- I believe. I am not sure of all the details of that. I was a teenager at the time. 🙂 I do know that she was terribly shy before she entered school. Maybe it was her way of roleplaying or something.

    So… I am not sure it has to do with having playmates or not. I think it may have more to do with creativity and active imagination.

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