A few days ago someone mentioned Koko, the signing gorilla, which brought back some memories. I forgot which year exactly it was, but it must have been in the late 80s because my ex and I were still living in our first flat then.
Although I liked our street with its beautiful trees and our flat, I always kept feeling a little homesick for my hometown and my family during those years, especially at the beginning. My little brother visited us for the weekend every, now and then, we took him to the zoo, we played mini golf, or we went into town window shopping.
It was one of those occasions that I saw Koko in the toy department of one of the big shops, well, not herself of course, but a plush version. I don't even remember if I knew Koko's story back then before reading the description on the tag, I just fell in love with that stuffed gorilla. It was expensive, though, and thinking of our finances I did the responsible thing and put her back (it must have been before the Steiffs made us collectors). After all this was just a toy, even if she fit on my hip so perfectly.
I sighed a lot that weekend because I really wanted this gorilla badly. Finally my ex told me that we didn't always have to be grown up (boy, was that a preview on later years) and that I should go there after work on Monday and just get her already.
So that's what I did. I went there ... and she was gone. I even asked about her and was told there had been only one.
That was a sign, right? It wasn't meant to be. And still I wasn't happy about it. You have to remember that we didn't have internet yet. I didn't even know what brand it was (Dakin 1986, it must have taken a while to come to Germany because it was definitely some years later than that).
Fast forward to at least some months later. It is early Saturday afternoon in my hometown, and the stores are starting to close down for the weekend when my friend and I are walking by the toy store. Just this moment the owner is stepping into the window to put a gorilla there. Koko! I tell my friend I have to go in there. Now! The owner comes to greet me, and before he can even ask, I tell him I want that gorilla. "Oh", he says. "How funny. I just put it in the window." "I know", I say. "I saw you. There's one problem, though. I don't have enough money on me at the moment. (Paying with your card was not that common yet.) I'll run to the bank and be right back." He's obviously amused by my determination and he's even more amused ten minutes later when I come back just in time before the store is closing, put my money on the counter, refuse a bag and walk out with Koko sitting on my hip.
Can you believe that several people thought I was carrying a real little ape? o.O
Koko is still sitting on top of a book cabinet and makes me smile when I look at her although it has been almost 30 year.
For the picture, however, she came down from her cabinet ;-)