Holly

“Ralph is 37 years old. My grandma bought him for me. The story goes that my grandma Truth hugged every teddy in the shop, just to see what they felt like to cuddle, and then ended up picking this one. I’ve got baby photos of me as a newborn lying in a crib and you can see Ralph there with me. I think she bought him about a week before I was born.

I smuggled him on school camps in the bottom of my pack through the Able Tasman. I took him to Melbourne with me when I went on my big journey across the ditch. There was a night in Melbourne where I woke up and couldn’t find Ralph. I looked over the side of the bed and he’d fallen down onto the heater and burnt his bum. It was such a weird thing, it was almost like he woke me up. I couldn’t smell anything. I just woke up and knew something wasn’t right.

I continued to sleep with Ralph right up until I left to go to South America. I was so paranoid about having my luggage stolen and losing him on the other side of the world where he didn’t know anyone. The thought of him just being cast aside somewhere filled me with so much dread that I boxed him up and posted him home to my mum. She kept him safe for me until I returned. I got back from South America and there he was. I don’t sleep with him anymore, now he sits on the shelf in the bedroom. I think I’ll be cremated with this dude. It’s a weird thing where you feel that emotional investment towards a soft toy. It brings him to life, to me he’s got feelings.”

What does sentimentality mean to you?
“If you’re going to break down sentimentality, it’s your very personal emotional history. Sentimentality is something with a past that you’re connected to in some way. I personally think that it is emotional memory. It’s something that you feel, right in your heart space. That defines what is sentimental to me, because I feel it there, in my heart. Sentimentality is deep, it expands and it's very hard to part with. “ - Holly, Golden Bay, Tākaka (Interview: Chloe Mason) Find Holly: rootsbar.co.nz & dadamanifesto.co.nz