ghostgeorgeHe was a line drawing in pale blue, translucent, wearing what I think was a pinstriped suit. I have tried and tried to draw him but I can’t make him come out right. Imagine some combination of Bert from Sesame Street, Jon Hamm, and a triangle. That’s what Ghost George looked like.

Ghost George was my imaginary friend when I was a kid, created sometime during those long seven years before my sister was born, to keep me company. He was an adult male, and a cartoon. He was friendly and lived in the attic. He was married. His wife’s name was Rosemary. I rarely saw her.

Our Honda Odyssey is now named Ghost George in his honor.

Zoe’s imaginary friend, born during those six long years before she had a brother, is named DD (pronounced Dee Dee). DD is quite small–she can fit in your hand or your pocket or your shoe as necessary. She has her own family–a mom, a dad, and siblings named JJ and ZZ. They all live in our house.

Apparently children do not have to be taught how to imagine. A few months ago, Zoe introduced DD to Zeke. He often wanted to hold her. Zoe used DD as an enticement to help us get Zeke to do things. For example, she might say, “Zeke, do you want to take a bath with Zoe?” “NO!” “Zeke, do you want to take a bath with DD?” “YES!” (runs to bathroom and starts undressing). And then they would allow DD to float in small cups and bath toys while they took their bath. Sometimes DD eats dinner with us, out of a very small bowl or cup next to Zoe’s placemat.

Once they even got into an argument about who DD belonged to. Zoe was playing with DD and Zeke tried to grab her, saying, “MINE!” Zoe countered with “No! DD is mine!” We said, “DD is imaginary. You can share her. Maybe she could even sit with both of you at the same time,” or something like that. Zoe said, “No offense, DD” in case bluntly stating DD’s imaginary status might have hurt her feelings.

Zoe said DD was coming with her to camp, riding along in her sneaker. “No matter where I go, DD will always be with me. She will never leave me.”

Thank goodness DD is loyal like that. I hope she’s providing good company to Zoe, maybe riding her horse along with her, perched just inside the horse’s ear.