now introducing…gatsby

If you’ve been around Nurse on the Run for awhile (or maybe even a week…), you have probably noticed a little guy who has been around for awhile.  I know that bloggers with dogs are loved because of all the dog pictures they post.  However, I don’t have a dog since I can hardly take care of myself.  Instead, I’m sure this face is familiar to many of you:

09-18-03 021

So who is this character?  Well, his name is Gatsby, and he’s my lucky elephant that I carry around with me pretty much everywhere.  Some people find it weird (hi Mark…), but most people think it’s endearing…or at least that’s what they tell me.  So how did Gatsby come to be?  Let’s discuss.

gatsby:  the beginning

Let’s head back to high school, circa spring 2003, when the dreaded AP tests roll around.  Anyone remember those?  Anyway, my senior year of high school, I took seven of them.  (Yes, seven…that was fun…English language, English literature, German, Economics, Government, Calculus BC, and Biology.)  When I was studying for the English literature test, I realized that I might need a good luck charm.  Since elephants have been my favorite animal ever since I can remember, I took one of my multiple elephants and declared it my good luck charm.  I happened to be reviewing “The Great Gatsby” for the exam, so I named him Gatsby.  He ended up accompanying me to all my tests, and after about the fifth one, one of the test proctors was like, “You’re taking a lot of these, aren’t you?  I don’t remember you, but I remember that elephant.”  I carried him around and told people to rub his trunk for good luck, and he sat next to me on my desk for all of them.

After the tests were over (he worked since I started college as a second semester sophomore…), it was prom time.  I didn’t have a date for a long time (story of my life), until a guy asked one of my friends if I still needed a date (like a week before prom…).  Since I was super cool and no one else had asked me, I still needed a date.  He asked me even though I’d talked to him maybe once in my life.  (We sat next to each all year in one class and even had a group project together in another, but somehow we got away with never talking.)  Needless to say, I wasn’t sure how that was going to go, so I decided Gatsby would be my back-up date.  My mom is a rockstar with a sewing machine, so she sewed him a tux, and the extra material from my dress was made into a cummerbund.  (We matched…see the blue cummerbund above!)  So Gatsby was the back-up date, prom was actually quite fun, and Gatsby was a huge hit.

gatsby:  the later years

After prom, Gatsby continued to accompany me to most places (in his tux, of course…he travels in style), and I would take many pictures with him.  It comes in handy especially when I’m traveling by myself since he spices up pictures that would otherwise just be a picture of the Hoover Dam.  Most of my friends don’t think it’s weird that I carry a stuffed elephant around in my purse with me, and they get excited when Gatsby pictures show up.  (My dad’s coworker even knows him by name when I send him pictures…)  People even make suggestions for pictures that he should be in! 

We’ve been all over the world together from Chicago to Europe to Costa Rica and beyond, and he makes appearances across New York City and with a variety of foods and beverages.  He spices up any occasion!

gatsby:  the outfits

As I said, Gatsby started off by wearing a tuxedo to accompany to prom, but in the past eight years (that’s crazy!), his wardrobe has become quite expansive.  Check out the evolution of Gatsby’s fashion sense, mostly guided by my mother’s ability to sew.

Hazelnut Cupcakes (8) The tux, blue cummerbund.

Looking at the pictures, it looks like Gatsby actually got an updated tux at some point…his first one appears to be made of a felt-like material (see above), and his current one looks like a sturdier material.  The cummerbund is still the material from my prom dress, and that little boutonniere is from a sorority formal.

Duke Women's Game 004 Basketball Gatsby!

For those of you not in the know, I played the trombone for twelve years, including four years of marching band and pep band in college.  Sophomore year of college, it was decided that Gatsby needed a basketball outfit so he could fit in at the games, so on winter break, Gatsby got his own jersey.

Gatsby Cap 004 Graduation Gatsby 004 Graduation Gatsby!

It was only natural that Gatsby would be with me on my graduation day from the University of Maryland.  Even more so, it was even more normal for him to be on my graduation cap.  My mom made him a graduation cap and gown, a stole, and cords.  The diploma reads that he received a B.S. in Peanuts.  After decorating my cap (that’s the Maryland flag), I made a chair so that Gatsby could slide in without worrying about him falling out while I walked.  I had to bobby pin my hat to my head, but it stayed!

It is also worth mentioning that I had the honor of sitting in the front row of graduation, so Gatsby and I were front and center.  He made me proud!

Brooklyn with Monica (6)

Yankees Game (13)

Batter up!

Earlier this year, Gatsby was presented with a Yankees jersey (not my doing, just to clear things up), and it’s fun to take pictures with him wearing it around NYC.  Gatsby finally made it to his first Yankees game in May, and he was the only one of the group in Yankees gear!  Way to be appropriate, Gatsby.

Cubs Sox (4) Cubbies!

I got a lot of flack for Gatsby having a Yankees jersey with people saying, “Susan!  Bandwagon??  Come on!”  No worries, I still have major Chicago loyalties, and when I was back home in Chicago in July, I found a little bear in my closet that had a perfect sized Cubs shirt for Gatsby to wear…so now he can cheer on his favorite team in style!

Katies Wedding (33) Matchy matchy.

Never one to be outdone, Gatsby had to match me for my friend Katie’s wedding this summer.  Since I’m not exactly tall, I had to have my bridesmaid dress shortened and snagged some of the extra material so Gatsby could match  me.  Perfect match, as you can tell since he’s got the purple cummerbund and he’s sitting on my lap!  He’s a handsome little man, isn’t he?

Runner Gatsby (1) Runner Gatsby!

Once most people realize that Gatsby has a wide variety of outfits to choose from, they ask if he has a running outfit.  Sadly, up until this past June, he did not.  For some reason I never asked my mom to make one, and finally this summer I got around to it!  As you can see, he has a singlet (definitely dri-fit), a number (2003 is the year I created him!), a headband, and some snazzy Maryland short shorts (he thinks they make him run faster).  Now he can show up to all races ready to run!

Runner Gatsby (2) Elephant butt!

My favorite part of most of Gatsby’s outfits is the little hole made for his tail…it’s cute that it sticks out and it helps keep his pants up.  :)

gatsby:  the future

Gatsby and I have had some awesome adventures together, traveling all over the world and trying new foods!  It may be a little weird for a 27 year old to carry a stuffed elephant around in her purse, but I love my little guy.  Don’t tell my future husband, but my plan is to have him be the ring bearer at my wedding by putting the rings on his trunk and having someone drive him down the aisle in a remote control car.  (Yes, I’m a dork, I know…it’s not going to change anytime soon!)  In the meantime, we’ll keep brainstorming new adventures for us to have.

Soooo what do you think?  Am I totally nuts?  Please tell I’m not the only one with something like Gatsby!

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  1. says

    Nope, not nuts. I have a stuffed rabbit, aptly named Bunna, that my dad bought for me when I was born. She’s too big to carry around on a daily basis, but she’s come on vacations (because what if someone broke in and stole her?). I slept with her until I got married (I was 23)… and I still have the right to do so if I’m having a crappy time or sick. She’s no longer any recognizable shade of pink, sits inside a down slipper, and “guards” my jewelry if I have to take it off. My son knows that she’s the one stuffed animal I better never catch him with!

  2. says

    I have a little elephant too! His name is Peanut! He looks a lot like Gatsby, except I can press his stomach and he trumpets (? Is that what elephants do?). My college roommate and I did a huge photo story that we put up on facebook where Peanut wooed her stuffed animal. Our friends thought we were nuts.

    Gatsby’s clothes are so awesome, by the way.

  3. says

    OMG Susan, I love the background on Gatsby! I’ve been wondering that for a while. He sure is a cute, well-traveled little guy. I love it and his little outfits. I have a stuffed Elmo that I’ve had forever, but he doesn’t come anywhere with me since an unfortunate incident in college in which one of his eyeballs was smashed. I cried.

  4. says

    I love this! :) I have always wondered what the background behind Gatsby was! I remember we used to do a Flat Stanley thing back in elementary school. I thought the little guy was something like that! I love the idea of the remote control car and the rings on his trunk! That is so awesome! :)

  5. says

    I love this! :) I have always wondered what the background behind Gatsby was! I remember we used to do a Flat Stanley thing back in elementary school. I thought the little guy was something like that! I love the idea of the remote control car and the rings on his trunk! That is so awesome!

  6. says

    Um, this is my new favorite post. No joke. Gatsby is friggin’ adorable and I LOVED reading the background on him! I get excited when Gatsby pictures show up on the blog! Seriously though, your story is adorable and Gatsby has way better outfits than I do. So cute!

  7. katie says

    Gatsby is my favorite and I was honored to have him matching the girls at the wedding. I totally remember Gatsby keeping us company during APs and no event would be complete without him! Hugs to Gatsby and I still want to see the picture of him with your flowers at the wedding :)

  8. Ida says

    I can’t wait to see Gatsby run Hood to Coast! I think he’s adorable, and it’s a super cute way to document your travels.

  9. lia says

    HAHA! i love this ! i have a monkey, and if he was smaller i would definitely carry him around with me everywhere! we have had some pretty spectacular adventures together, and he’s probably been to more countries than most people.. he was pretty bummed though because i didn’t bring him on my india trip a few summers ago. he is, after all, around 24 years old.. and he’s getting old for a stuffed monkey. BUT i still snuggle with him every night, and i don’t plan on stopping any time soon.. future husbands beware.

  10. says

    omg i love this soooo much. i totally got caught up in this post when i was supposed to be doing other things. love it

  11. says

    Gatsby’s running outfit is awesome. Now I want running outfits for my stuffed animals! (I have 5 on my bed…weird or cool?)

  12. says

    Can we get Gatsby some Nuun or HTC gear?? We need him to be in uniform with the rest of the team! Also, I think he needs a code name for your team.

    Love all the outfits! Gatsby has a more extensive wardrobe than I do! 😉

  13. says

    this might be my favorite post. I love all of his outfits, and I love the history behind it all. so stinkin’ cute. kyle asked if for my 28th birthday I’ll stop sleeping with my “blankie” but he’s loco.

    AND THE RING BEARER IDEA….omg. amazing. :)

  14. says

    Of course the guy you marry will LOVE that ring bearer idea. Honestly, not loving it should be a ‘deal-breaker’. I have such an awesome visual of it.

    I no longer have a special stuffy, but my 12-yr old does… Squirrelly, who is a miniature stuffed squirrel. He secretly takes him to school in his pocket.


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