What is a monkeybox?

When I was a little girl, we had a pet monkey named Amanda. My Dad worked in the produce business, so each night he brought home that days culls in a big box - spotty cucumbers, pithy apples, limp celery, moldy oranges and the like. We called it a monkeybox. It was really just trash, but my Mom would take each piece of fruit and trim it, pare it and cut it up to make a beautiful fruit platter for Amanda. Even though it was deemed trash by one, it still had life left in it and was good for the purpose we needed it. That's how I live my life - thrifting, yard saling, looking for another's trash to be my treasure.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Mr. Van Damme

About fifteen years ago, my Grandmother bought an RV.  It was her dream to go "tooling" about the country.  For safety, her plan was to travel with one of her three grandsons.  But, they weren't always available when she wanted to travel.  One day she was reading her "older people" catalogs  filled with items such as tools for putting on socks, microwave bacon cookers and magnetic jewelry she found just what she needed - a fake male traveling companion. And then, she ordered him
 Meet Mr. Van Damme.
That's what she named him - after Jean Claude Van Dam

Mr. Van Damme traveled with her in the RV a number of times.  When she sold the RV and moved to Arkansas, he moved with her and into the house.  He sat at the corner of the dining table by the window. The family all got so used to him that it was like a potted plant sitting there.  But,  every single time that I was there and a repair man, a caregiver, the Meals on Wheels people, the UPS guy or a neighbor would come into the house, they would grab their heart and say, "Oh that man scared me!".  He-he  It was kind of funny.

When it came time to clean out the house, we had to find a new home for Mr. Van Damme.  What would we do?  Stick a price on his forehead?  That seemed sort of odd. Shoving him in a trash bag and donating him would surely end up in an arrest of some sort, I am sure.  One day, my dad asked about Mr. Van Damme and asked if he could have him.  My Dad likes quirky things and has a mannequin and other "friends" in the house.
So, I drove out to the house one day and brought Mr. Van Damme outside for the first time in about ten years.  He enjoyed sitting on the porch. 

 His wardrobe was a bit out of fashion after all these years.  Not sure what to think of his pants. 
Loaded up in the car for a ride to his new house. 

The Bean feeling safe and secure with his traveling companion in the backseat.

The sun is bright when you have been housebound for ten years!

We went home for the night before I delivered Mr. Van Damme to his new home the next day.  But, not before he scared me about fifty times in the rear view mirror while I was driving and again while parked in the driveway overnight.  He gave me the heebie-geebies!

Mr. Van Damme in his new house with my Dad.  He has now moved him into his Bar.  Now Mr. Van Damme is a bartender!  He worked his way up from Security to Bartender!

We are so proud!



  1. I love this post - it's made me smile all the way through :o)
    I'm so pleased that Mr Van Damme has moved in with family...he'd feel so strange moving in with a complete stranger now, and he looks so 'at home'!

  2. oh that is so funny I see in one photo he has his pants loosened just like frank on everyone loves raymond. I love that he lives in a bar.

  3. Jean Claud definitely deserves a place at the bar!

  4. Soo funny:) How could you bear to part with him?!? He is fairly nice looking, doesn't speak and is able to scare off intruders - almost a perfect man:)

  5. That's bizarre. Hilarious, though! :D Why does my family not have any stories like this? Man, we're a boring bunch.

  6. oh my, this really made me laugh! i love him and the bean in the same pose.

    you should have kept it and took it on trips. a funnier version of flat stanley!

  7. Oh my God, Shara, this is the funniest thing I've ever heard! Love it! :)

  8. What a lucky guy! A roadtrip and a promotion!

    This post made my day!

  9. What a great story! You told it so well and the pictures were a scream. It made my day brighter! Thanks for sharing!

  10. that is so funny! you have the best stories :o)

  11. I may have to kidnap Mr. Van Damme when I get older and need a traveling companion, shoot might not wait til I get older :)

  12. People here in DC have been known to buy these people so they can drive in the HOV (High Occupany Vehicle) lane during rush hour. But the police caught on to that scheme pretty quickly. Although I'm sure it works sometimes. Glad your grandmother had someone to keep her safe.

  13. What a fun story, Shara! I think this is the best blog post of the year!

  14. Love it! I just bought a mannequin for my sister's 16th birthday at a garage sale last weekend. She's the 80s kind with an actual head & arms & legs. Do they even make those kind anymore? All I ever see is the busts. It was $12! Is that a good price? Not sure what the going rate on mannequins is. Her name is Shelby. Love yours too!

  15. Isn't life amazing. My husband's colleague just emailed me to inquire about the traveling dummy I purchased YEARS AGO.

    He wants to know where I got him. Didn't say why.

    So I google images of security dummy man and up pops your blog of Mr. Van Damme.

    I called mine "Bad Bob" :)

    Now I've got to dig him up out of the basement to find his 'provenance'.


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