And now, on Sesame Street’s 40th anniversary, we remember Ernie. Or, as he was known here, Uhnie. The Christmas before she turned three, Uncle Justin gave Julianna a Sing and Snore Ernie. I don’t think she knew anything about Ernie or Sesame Street at that point, but she imprinted on Ernie. Instant love. Then, somewhere along the way, she got a beanie-baby sized Ernie. She carried both of them EVERYwhere. She acquired a small plastic Ernie figurine and added that to the retinue. Big Ernie, Little Ernie, and Tiny Baby Ernie. For her third birthday, she was given another beanie baby sized Ernie who was instantly dubbed All Clean Ernie, in honor of his contrast with Little Ernie.
Tiny Baby Ernie was frequently mislaid, resulting in many tears. I came across a store that had a few of them, all of which I bought. I took them home and stashed them in a box of sewing supplies. One day Julianna found the nest of Ernies. Her eyes got huge as she said “Mommy! YOOK!” At which point the Ernies were dispersed around the house and, luckily, the Ernie madness waned just a bit.
Ernie was a gateway to Sesame Street, though. Julianna was the only of the kids to watch it, and I really enjoyed getting to watch it again. I even came to like some of the newer songs and bit. Never warmed to Elmo, though. Sorry. Kevin Clash seems like a great guy when I hear him interviewed, but Elmo irks me. In watching the show, Julianna came to know of Bert, Ernie’s long-time companion. She used to ask me to talk like Ernie and /or Bert. “Talk yike Uhnie Buht!” she’d demand, as if she’d paid extra for that. She also asked me to tell stories about Ernie and Bert, particularly requesting stories about pigeons flying into their shirts and tickling them. yeah, I know.
I don’t remember how it all ended. I think Ernie was supplanted by Oddball, the white puppy from 102 Dalmatians (and oh how THAT lasted). But at least I had cause to buy the Sesame Street alphabet CD and Best of Sesame Street Songs…and I think I need to find those CDs…I could listen to Tap Myself to Sleep….