I know it was before I moved to California in the spring of 1999, but I can’t pinpoint it more closely than that.
In February of 2000, I was a bridesmaid in the wedding of one of my best friends from college. She and her hubby had taken their honeymoon months before the wedding, going to New Zealand and possibly Australia (I don’t remember if they did both or just NZ). Our bridesmaids gifts? Glass penguins from New Zealand.
My Kiwi Penguin is the small one in front.
As we finished up our master bed/bathroom renovation nearly two years ago, one of the last steps was plaster patch and painting of the living room ceiling to fix the water damage from the shower pan failure that precipitated the renovation (got all that? There will be a quiz later!)
All of the sub-contractors our contractor brought into our house were fantastic, and I would hire all of them again independently. Somehow, when I put away all of my penguins for the painting process, some of them were left in a vulnerable position. We lost a couple beaks that day. I’m not quite sure how, but it happened.
The bird that was most obviously damaged was a cheapie I’d picked up somewhere along the line, I'm pretty sure he came from a cigar shop in the Eugene, Ore., mall. Not a big deal and certainly not worth trying to fix the smashed beak (although our contractor offered to try!)
Broken beaks! Sad!
The other casualty wasn’t noticed for nearly a year, and was much more disappointing. My Kiwi penguin had also chipped his beak. Sad! But the damage is so subtle, he’s still displayed with my personal colony.
Fortunately, my parents spent November Down Under, visiting both Australia and New Zealand. When they left, I showed my mom my poor injured flightless waterfowl. She found two of his countrymen to bring home!
New guys on the outside with my "old" Kiwi penguin in the center.
One penguin is even a Penguins fan, sporting a bit of gold along with his snazzy tuxedo.
The other is slightly shorter, but just as cute.
Many thanks to my parentals for bringing such cool keepsakes back from their trip to the southern hemisphere!