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A Little Boy, A Lot of Imagination and Some Penguin Visitors

Updated on January 29, 2014

A Boy and His Imagination

A few years ago, early in the 1970’s, there was a little boy, named John, who lived with his parents in a house at the end of a cove in Memphis, Tennessee. He was the first son of these proud parents and a very distinctive boy with blond curly hair, big blue eyes and a curiosity that set him apart from some children.

One of his favorite things to do was to listen while his mom told him stories of all kinds of adventures. Yes, John was special and the most distinguishing thing about him was something many boys and girls also have.

You might even have this special thing John had. For you see, John had an exciting Imagination!

No Boredom At John's House On The Cove

Now, one of the great things about Imagination is, you never get bored and you don’t have to depend on someone else to come up with something for you to do. If you have no one to play with or your favorite toy is broken or misplaced or your parents are very busy doing what parents do, you can use your Imagination to create something new and exciting and exclusively yours.

John had become very good at using his Imagination, for he knew, because his mother told him, if he did not use his Imagination often, that one day it might just decide to leave, and he certainly did not want that to happen to him.

When John was about 3 years old he decided one day to have his Imagination create, just for him, a new pet. His family had a big, lovable dog named Kate, who lived in their backyard and John loved her very much. Sometimes though, if the weather was too bad to play outside, John would get lonely for a pet to play with inside. And his baby brother was still too small for him to really play with.

The Multiplying Waddlers

Well, John really liked Penguins, with their black and white feathers resembling a fancy tuxedo. And their legs were so short they just waddled along and could not run very fast, unlike Kate, who would sometimes run too fast for John to keep up with. And, everyone knows Penguins are curios and inquisitive little birds, much like John. So it was just a natural thing for a Penguin to become his friend.

Since John was a smart little boy and knew how to use his Imagination, he gave it some thought and before he knew it, there was a Penguin for him to be friends with. Just like that, in a snap … the Penguin was in his room!

He was so excited about this new friend who could play with him, even inside the house. Sometimes, the Penguin even went outside to play with John and Kate or would even go with him and has parents to the grocery store or visit his Grandparents.

After a few days of having so much fun playing with his Imaginary Penguin friend, he thought it would be even more fun, to have another Penguin to live with them. And before long, there was a whole flock of the cute little creatures living with John and his parents in their house at the end of the cove.


The Family Helps Out

Now, as it is with most Imaginary friends, no one can really see them, except the special boy or girl they belong too. Even though John’s parents and other family could not actually see his Penguins, everyone knew they were his friends and would always help him with the Penguins, if he needed them to.

Holding the door so each little bird could waddle through and into another room was something John sometimes needed help with. Or, if he was taking a nap, his mother would cover the penguins with a blanket … if that was what John thought they needed.

For several months, the Penguins lived with John and his parents and he made sure he took very good care of his special friends. They would all play together, especially on rainy, wintery days when John had to stay indoors. The Penguins were different from most other pets and never made a mess of any kind when they were around. They were very well mannered little feathery creatures.

Of Course, Penguins Are Polite & Well Mannered

As long as they lived there on the cove they were never rude in any way and were always quite whenever any adult was speaking. They even liked the same things John did and were his constant companions everywhere he went.

Since the Penguins were polite and well mannered little creatures, John’s mom said it was alright for them to sit on the sofa sometimes and watch television with him or listen as his mom would read a story, for just like John, they always liked it when his mom would read to them.

According to John, the Penguins seemed to enjoy these activities very much. One of their favorite times of the day, as was John’s, was bath time. They would take turns and splish and splash all around the tub. This was really the only time they made a mess of any kind, but John would always promise to dry up all the spilled water.

Then, after the bathroom was all dry and tidy John and his friends would settle down in his bed and go sound asleep and dream about all the fun things they had done during the day.

They had many exciting adventures together … John and his Penguins. He would often tell his parents about what they were up to. One of the things they found especially exciting was climbing on things and sliding down in some most unusual ways, being careful not to break anything, while they were playing around.

Sometimes they would find and take little things like marbles and little stones or other little trinkets just lying around. John said they needed things like that to build their nest, so, his parents agreed it was ok for them to have those things.

And Then The Penguins Leave

Then, just as suddenly as they had came into their lives, one bright, sunny morning, to everyone’s surprise, except John’s, the Penguins decided to leave the house on the cove. When asked about where his Penguin friends were, John told his mom, without any hesitation, “They decided it was a time for them to leave and go and be with some other little boy or girl somewhere else”.

His mom was slightly confused about what she thought to be … strange behavior for the Penguins. She talked with John about this, for she thought he might be sad they were gone. But he was not at all upset, you see, he knew this was the way Penguins usually behaved. After a few days though, John did start to miss his mischievous little friends. But, since he knew the Penguins were gone and how much fun they were probably having in their new home with their new friends, he decided it was alright and went about playing as usual.

And then, you know what happened? John started using his special Imagination again and was off on some new adventure … in the special place … where anything you can Imagine … can usually come true.

Fast Forward to the Present

John is now all grown up with a real, not imaginary, family of his own and lots of good friends too. He has a loving wife, three Godsons, some dogs and lots of nieces and nephews. At the last checking, he has not seen his imaginary Penguin friends since they left his home on the cove, that day back in the 1970’s. His mom however, does remind him, as all moms’ do, on occasion, of those childhood days and his unique feathery friends.

Sometimes she gives him a Penguin gift of some sort. It might be a little statue, an ornament or a stuffed toy Penguin. And once in while John gives his mom a Penguin gift too, since she was so supportive and helpful when these special friends were visiting long ago at the house on the cove. It’s become a distinctive tradition between just the two of them. And a reminder to both of them, how important it is to keep their Imagination working … no matter how old you get.

One Christmas, not long after John was married to his lovely wife, his mom gave him a nicely framed artist photograph of Penguins in the Arctic. After all the gifts had been opened and everyone was investigating each others loot, things got sort of quiet for a few minutes, as is the case on Christmas morning. John was showing his picture to his wife and talking about how nicely it was framed. Suddenly his mom noticed a puzzled look on her daughter-in-law’s face.

You see, the family knew about John’s special friends that had lived with him when he was a boy. No one was at all surprised that his mom would give him a gift such as this. Everyone was oohing and aahing about how nice the picture was. However, somehow his wife had not yet heard about these childhood Imaginary friends of John’s, who had been his constant companions when he was three years old. This explained her slight confusion about the gift. Once the special visitors were explained to her, with all the details, she then understood why such a gift was thought to be a good thing and promised to find just the right place to hang in their home.

In Good Company

It seems that Penguins, not the live birds mind you, are easily found gifts. People all over admire them for their cuteness and mischievous behavior. They seem to be very engaging and endearing little feathery creatures and have even acquired some fame. Why there have even been stories written and movies done all about Penguins.

So, it seems, John is in good company with many other folks who use their special Imaginations to create all types of adventures about this really special bird, which oddly, cannot even fly. It’s a good thing he is still using his special gift, for everyone knows with an Imagination, life never gets dull or boring and you’ll always be able to find some kind of an Adventure!

Just give it a little thought and you’re on your way!



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    • PaisleeGal profile imageAUTHOR

      Pat Materna 

      8 years ago from Memphis, Tennessee, USA

      thanks much for the encouragement! Your comments here are good for my ratings too. Guess you made it back home ok?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I sure did enjoy our visit. This story was even more special because you read it to us. Keep up the good work with your stories.

    • PaisleeGal profile imageAUTHOR

      Pat Materna 

      8 years ago from Memphis, Tennessee, USA

      Tish .. thanks much !!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Very cute


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