When I was in Boston the other week, I was telling my friends about the imaginary friends I had when I was little. There were six of them: Boopsy, Bopsy, Beepsy, Goopsy, Gina, and Deena. Some names, right? They were tiny, roughly Smurf-sized (three apples tall). I liked that they were little because it meant they could stand on the table next to me while I ate and tag along for most things. I could sweep them up and carry them with me. They spent most of their time at my grandparents’ house in Mankato. It’s not that I didn’t play with them or see them at my house, but they mostly came out at my grandma and grandpa’s house. They slept at night on the blades of a fan. During the day, they liked to play in my grandma’s walk-in closet, particularly in her neatly arranged shoeboxes. I definitely played with them and routinely thought about them up until third grade, when I guess I decided they were too babyish or maybe I just found enough real-life friends that they weren’t necessary anymore. But I still think about them a lot.
My own kid didn’t have any imaginary friends, but having them is a really common thing. This Science Friday article says “up to two-thirds of children have them, typically between the ages of 3 and 8.” Odds are, some of you reading this had imaginary friends, or have kids who have/had imaginary friends. Come tell me on Facebook or Twitter about them. Oh–and if you want to go read some horrifying things kids have said about their imaginary friends, head on over to this Buzzfeed article.