Where is Kermit?

Growing up the oldest of seven kids, I was born into the role of professional babysitter.

My first memories as a human being were of holding a baby, playing with a toddler.

As soon as the folks decided I could probably keep at least half of them alive and maybe only burn down a portion of the house, I was deemed worthy of staying alone with the siblings.

With both parents working all the time on the farm, I was pretty much the kids’ main caregiver. That wasn’t always easy doing it by myself, so I had to find some help.

My sister, Maria, was about to have a birthday. Each of us kids were given a little extra allowance each time a birthday arrived so we could buy a present for the celebrating sibling.

That’s how Kermit joined the family. I remember when I saw him in the store that he would not only be a great birthday present for the sister, but a great side-kick for me in my babysitting endeavors.

Kermit was, of course, Kermit the Frog. But he wasn’t just a figurine or a doll – he was a hand puppet that looked just like the famous Kermit on television.

I don’t remember how much he cost, except that Mom had to kick in money. I talked her into it, saying that by utilizing Kermit’s fame, I’d be better able to control the kids, using Kermit as an influence. Because after all, who doesn’t love Kermit the Frog?

Maria was thrilled with the green guy when her birthday arrived. But he was also a hit with the other kids because I had been practicing my Kermit voice for a month.

Granted, the voice sounded more like a combination of Grandma Onie and Miss Piggy than Kermit – but the kids didn’t care. I swear they believed that Kermit had come alive and was actually talking to them.

I spent many years with Kermit on my hand. He became a reward when they picked up their toys – if the living room was clean, they’d get one of my home-spun stories told by Kermit.

If they were sick, Kermit would soothe away the vomiting by talking about something entertaining.

Sometimes Kermit would join us at the table, explaining that Dad would be mad if he found out none of us ate our liver and onions.

Over the years, Kermit became worn and frail. His bulging white eyes on the top of his head no longer had pupils because all the hugs, kisses and falls down stairs had literally worn them off. I remember how we drew them back in with a magic marker and my mom’s mascara – because he looked like a lifeless zombie without them.

His green skin/short fuzz/exterior faded after so many washings. He lived less than a sterile life – he was dragged through the dirt behind bikes, drenched in baby food, left near the cattle tank and even used as an emergency hot pad in the kitchen.

One of my sisters had a tendency to rub her fingers together when she slept. The result was a thinning, bald spot on Kermit’s lower body.

And with all the talking he’d done over the years, his frog nose/mouth area started to droop. He was losing his edge.

As Kermit aged, so did we. His magical qualities became less believable and his viability waned.

Kermit was quietly stored with the other old toys.

Fast forward several decades. No one gave Kermit much thought because we’ve been focusing on other obsessions – like work, families and life in general.

A while back, one of my sisters, out of the blue, sent me a text, asking if I knew what happened to Kermit. She didn’t have to explain – I automatically knew she was referring to our beloved green puppet to which we’d all grown so attached. I don’t remember the reason she was suddenly wondering – but I thought long and hard about his whereabouts.

When was the last time I saw him? He had been stored with the Happy Apple (which resurfaced and was passed around every time a baby was born in the family). But those who revived the Happy Apple said they hadn’t seen him.

My family always used everything until it died, so garage sales were never part of our lives. The option that he was sold to a new family is not even a possibility.

Was he lost when we moved from our family’s first house to the second?

Did one of us pack him with our keepsakes and he’s lost in limbo in someone’s basement?

How did we lose track of such a valuable part of our childhood? Will we ever see him again?

Oh, Kermit, it wasn’t easy being green. You gave us your all, we used you up and we left you behind.

I’d love if we’d find him, to share with the next generations.

Now we just have to answer the question: Where is Kermit?

 

Thanks for reading this article.
JMWNews.com content is free and never behind a paywall.
We believe in trustworthy, local journalism that is accessible to everyone.