Thrift store treasures- The monkey in the room.

“ Memories are timeless treasures of the heart.”

Years ago one of my many cousins(I have over 20 and that doesn’t include second cousins) had this adorable little wooden monkey hanging from her dresser mirror in her room.

I am not sure who actually owned the little monkey because there were three cousins sleeping in that room. There was a bump bed in one corner and a single twin sized bed in another. Three teenagers sharing a room and one of them was a boy. Imagine that. It was a three bedroom trailer in Apache Junction Arizona, so there wasn’t a whole lot they could do about that since they were a family of 7. Everyone had to share a room.

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My teenage cousin is the one in back by the clothespin bag.

Anyway, there was also a wooden monkey that slept in the older cousin’s room. I was ten years younger then my cousin. I was about six. When I would visit I would always play with that little jointed monkey. Finally I just asked if I could have it. I figured what could it hurt anyway, best case would be she would say yes and worst case would be I am just back where I started, which was just visitation rights every now and then with the only toy worth playing with in their room.

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Me around 6 years old. I am the one holding the little kitten next to me are two of my younger cousins.

My cousins had the coolest toys to me. They had barbie of course but they stopped playing with her before they became teenagers. They used these little perfume bottle dolls as Barbie’s baby. The little dolls had huge heads on tiny bodies. I have one from way back then. They were always dressed in bright clothes and had long hair or crazy hair styles with bows and sometimes tiny flowers. They came in little pockets shaped like pretty perfume bottles that you could wear. I loved their toys.

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Growing up we all shared toys, clothes, furniture and whatever we were getting rid of. We always asked family first if they wanted these items, then friends and neighbors to finally it being donated to a church or second hand shop. I figured I ask for that monkey first before anyone got rid of it. unfortunately my cousin said no, but then I don’t blame her, that monkey was super cute. She was always very nice about sharing her items with us all, even letting me color some of of her Jungle doodle art poster once.

After getting turned down on the monkey, I decided I would go on a hunt for one myself. I did not realize how old that monkey was when my cousin had it, it was old back then. I thought I could just go to any store and buy one myself. You all know how stubborn a six year old can get. It’s at a time when we start stretching our legs and learning about our independence.

I remember walking into every store looking around for wooden monkeys, even asking sales clerks, only to be looked down on with a strange stare and usually the same answer my cousin gave me which was…NO, no wooden monkeys. I couldn’t find that monkey anywhere.

Frustrated, I finally gave up on the sales clerks, walking away grumbling to myself “I know there’s a monkey here somewhere, I’ll just find it myself”and searched the stores front to back looking everywhere for wooden monkeys. I never found one. I also never gave up on that monkey either. I was and still am a big lover of all creatures, I love my little furry animal friends.

Fast forward to 2020 and surprise of all surprises there was that monkey one day  in a plastic bag hanging from a peg. I have been finding a lot cool items in those thrift store grab bags lately. I was so excited I didn’t even check to see what condition it was in before I bought it. My goodness I have been looking everywhere for this monkey, I thought to myself, and here it was in one of my favorite junk shops in a plastic bag along with other wooden items. Just took a few years to find him I guess.

When I got home and opened the bag I discovered my monkey was missing an ear. I searched everywhere around the bag thinking maybe it fell off in the bag and I could glue it back, but there was no ear anywhere.

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Oh well, I thought to myself. This monkey has been around for many years and just like most humans once they reach a certain age, we all have bumps, bruises and sometimes even scars from life. I still was happy to have found one, even with a missing ear. We both had our life adventures out there in the world and now finally missing parts and all I would find my little monkey. What a life adventure we both had in all those years too. That missing ear just tells me he had a lot of fun at one time and things just got a little carried away.

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The reason this little guy is so hard to find is because it is a pretty popular fella.The monkey was designed by a Danish man named Kay Bojensen. He was not only a designer but also a silversmith. He is mostly known for the wooden animals he designed with this little wooden monkey being his most popular item.This monkey is so popular that he was was even on exhibit at the Victoria and Albert museum of London in the 1950’s. It’s considered a design classic.

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The designer had two very creative parents and his mother was an artist herself. He was encouraged to be creative by both parents. One of his brothers would go on to become an artist and another sibling became a doctor.

Kay became a toy designer because his son was so rough on toys. He started designing sturdy wooden toys back in the 1920 that would hold up well. Or maybe toys were not made to last hmm…where have I heard this before. I love hand made toys for this reason alone, I know they are made to last and made from loving hands.

Anyway, Kay and his wife opened a shop in Bredgade close to Amalienborg Palace and while his wife worked the shop, he worked in the basement designing and working on new ideas. This reminds me of Santa’s toy shops.

Looking through some of his designs on line I have to say the Elephant comes in second place to my favorite being the monkey of course. Then there is the rabbit he designed which is also adorable. Sadly the rabbit was his last animal he designed before he died in 1957.But what a beautiful life he lived, doing what he loved and sharing that with the world.

Kay Bojensen designed over 2,000 wooden pieces. I was very happy to finally find this little monkey after all these years, better late then never as they say. I love the story behind this monkeys creator too.

So glad I was finally able to find one myself. I sewed up a little cap and scarf for my Monkey to cover his missing ear.

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There was also a jointed wooden bear in the grab bag with the monkey.

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There are some really cute wooden collectibles out there.

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I love folk art, always have. Happy thrift store shopping everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25 Comments Add yours

  1. simplywendi says:

    thank you for sharing such neat stories! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ourcrossings says:

    What a fantastic story to share! I’m absolutely delighted you finally found your monkey, after all these years! As someone who grew up with wooden toys, I have to say he’s super cute, and the bear too. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 😀 Aiva

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you and have a great weekend as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Really enjoyed reading this 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You always find the cutest things at thrift stores. Great score on finding your monkey!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank and finally I found it. Been finding some fun things at the outdoor swap meets this month. They are small things though, you know how it is, trying to keep the clutter down.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was doing good,until I started crafting again. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. My husband always jokes that our house is a Michael’s store. I didn’t realize how true that was until I started organizing my craft room…what a mess. One of my goals this year is to see if I can stay away from Michael’s for a year using what I already have on hand first. I need to finish some of these projects too. Michael’s has the best sales (maybe…sometimes they do over price at first) and they are hard to pass on.

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      3. My Michael’s is 5o miles away, so it isn’t such a big deal. But Wal-Mart Dollar Tree craft supplies are constantly calling my name. I have plenty to work on now though, so I’ve banned myself until finished crafts are ready to display. 😃

        Liked by 1 person

      4. That’s a good plan, I should have started that a long time ago. I forgot that our neighbors before they moved gave me a whole stores supply of arts and crafts from a hobby/craft store that closed. There were all kinds of vintage flowers, fabric, felt, buttons, beads, doll heads, miniatures, picks, ribbon, thread, so much stuff. I donated some to other places and some stuff I kept for staging cute photos and making craft projects for my DIY posts. I need to remind my husband that most of this stuff was actually in a store at once. I loved the little felted flower bouquets from the 50’s, there were a lot of those types of items in the boxes. I put all the fabric in a large filing cabinet, such a nice way to organize fabrics.

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  5. I really enjoyed reading this post. You always have such wonderful posts that I love reading ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. Makes me happy you enjoyed this.

      Like

  6. Carla Lee says:

    Such a sweet, sweet story! Does your cousin still have hers?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, we all did a lot of moving around when we were young so I think it was eventually tossed, lost or given away. Sometimes we would all live together too. I lived with those cousins when my dad and mom moved to Texas for awhile so my dad could find work. I remember we had two sets of bump beds back then. The youngest slept in one area (me with the two younger girls) and the teenagers slept in another. The older cousins would watch us younger kids and I always remember them having to do lots of laundry. Always seems laundry never ends even now it seems I am always doing laundry.

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      1. Carla Lee says:

        Aww…. What a shame… It is too bad that she no longer has that monkey.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I know, I think a lot of us kids lost most of our childhood toys. My cousin even lived on the base for awhile when she got married and her husband joined the air-force, eventually he became an officer. On the base she had to be extra clean and organized she said. I don’t believe she was hauling around boxes of her childhood items.

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  7. Melinda says:

    The treasures you can find while thrifting! I’m so glad that you finally found your monkey; I imagine it was worth the wait ❤ And what a sweet story behind him! Thanks so much for sharing 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome Melinda, so glad you liked it. I think we all have special memories from our past with the toys and favorite gifts we got over the years. When I had my kids, it was their little drawings and cards that became those special keepsakes for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow! Who would have known there was so much history to a simple wooden monkey! I usually think toy monkeys are creepy but this one is pretty cute. And I just loved the history you knew and found out about the designer. That was incredibly interesting. Thank you for sharing!

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  9. Thank you Lisa, glad you liked it. It is a pretty cute monkey. I think you would like the rabbit more, it is such a cool design.

    Like

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