Have you ever lost a childhood toy that meant a lot to you? It's the worst feeling. When I was little (up through... college, if I'm being honest), I had Yellow Blanket. It was a small yellow and white striped baby blanket. I was really creative at naming things. I loved Yellow Blanket and couldn't fall asleep if I didn't have it in bed with me. Well one day, when I was little, I left Yellow Blanket in a hotel in Lake George, where I had gone on a trip with my family.
I cried and screamed and yelled until my mom called the hotel and had them mail Yellow Blanket back to us. But some people aren't so lucky. Some people lose their childhood heirlooms and never see them again. That's what happened with Vittoria Gallagher and her adorable stuffed bulldog named Cracker. Until one day, after years of absence, she randomly walked by him on the street. Or so she thought.
Vittoria was also very gifted at naming things, clearly. Crackers was a gift from her grandmother. That means he was worth extra sentimental points. Vittoria and Crackers were inseparable until she was in college when he was lost forever in a moving accident.
Crackers was gone. A tragedy for sure, but one Vittoria didn't mourn for too long. She was 19, after all. She had a lot of pot to smoke. In the years since, she's pretty much completely forgotten about Crackers. She's moved around, had jobs and relationships, lived her life.
But then, everything changed. "Fast forward 18 years and I'm en route to my sister's house, not far from where my old student house was," Vittoria writes. "I mean, it's a good walk but not FAR far, it's the same town at least. And I look down and WHAT THE F--K. CRACKERS is staring back at me. It's uncanny. Can it be him?"
She stopped in her tracks and recognized him right away. It was Crackers. What other stuffed dog could it possibly be? Vittoria writes, "It can't be but WHAT are the odds someone in Southampton has the exact same 30-year-old toy I got from my Nan? I'm not even from here." She has a point! It seems serendipitous for Crackers to show up near her sister's house, which just so happens to be near where she used to live as a student.
Vittoria freaked out and immediately texted her sister a picture. "We're pretty sure it's him," she writes. "He must have gone to charity shops and found his way back to me. A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE." Really seems like it, doesn't it?
Vittoria explains that her sister almost never uses exclamation points, so she knew this was a big deal. She also adds that she recently reconnected with her grandmother's side of the family, so Crackers showing up at that moment almost seemed like a "thanks from her."
Obviously, there was no way she was just going to leave Crackers there on the side of the road. She decided he had to come home with her. "Picked up soaking wet probably urine-infested Crackers," Vittoria writes. "I am on Cloud 9 being reunited with my best friend that I totally forgot about for two decades."
He does look like he's spent a fair amount of time outside, doesn't he? But it didn't matter. It was Crackers, and he was finally home where he belonged. Vittoria took him home and considered throwing him out because he was so gross — "I don't know where he's been, I can't check there's no ANIMALS inside him, and he might infect my washing machine," she writes. But she couldn't part with the little guy, so she tossed him in the wash and hoped for the best.
The question of why she put nasty, wet Crackers in the washing machine with other things was definitely asked on Twitter. No answer was given, but Vittoria did write that she washed him three times just to be extra safe.
Once Crackers was nice and clean, she found a perfect spot to display him. She writes, "He now has a pride of place in my kitchen, and every time I see him I remember my Grandma, and I think of how Crackers found me again. After 18 years. It must have been a sign from her. A Christmas gift from heaven from my Grandma. Isn't that a lovely Christmas story?"
However, it's not quite where the story ends. After a couple of weeks with Crackers perched up in his special place in her kitchen, Vittoria received a text from her sister, who had visited their childhood home for Christmas. I don't know if you're ready for what you are about to see.
The Crackers she found, wet, dirty, and abandoned on the side of the road — the Crackers she brought home and washed three times, the Crackers she'd been staring at for the last two weeks — wasn't Crackers at all. The real Crackers had been sitting contentedly in her childhood home for years, and she had no idea.
Vittoria found the whole thing pretty hilarious. She writes, "Of COURSE Crackers didn't f--king find me and OF COURSE I've picked up a piss-infested toy off the street, and had it sat propped up in my KITCHEN, speaking to it like it's my Dead Grandma. I cannot stop laughing."
How did the real Crackers end up in her parents' house if she thought he was lost in a move? Who abandoned fake Crackers in the middle of the street? And what were the chances Vittoria would walk by at that very moment? I think there might be something sinister about this Crackers imposter.
For now, the two Crackers are hanging together on the window sill, but I wouldn't be surprised if one day, Vittoria walked into her kitchen, and one of the Crackers was missing. Some may see this as a heartwarming, hilarious comedy of errors. I see this as the prequel to a horror movie franchise.