It's National Teddy Bear Day and since Teddy was such an important part of my young life, I wanted to give him his day in the sun.
I don't know who made Teddy or where he was purchased, how old I was when he came to me, or who gave him to me, but Teddy became my adored favorite stuffed animal. (You know how an adult always hopes to give the favorite gift to a child? Whoever gave me Teddy must have felt great pleasure to see how favored he was.) He was a constant companion through several years of my childhood. He went everywhere and did everything with me: out to play on the swing or in the wagon, to dinner, to bed, traveling in the car. If I went, Teddy went. (Except on that one miserable vacation to Niagara Falls when I was three.) He appears in photographs from about the time I was two until I was about five or six.
Here are a few photographs in honor of Teddy.
I'm about two, at right. One of my parents lined my friends and me up along the side of a building facing the sun and told us to smile. It was hard to squint and smile at the same time.
The children, left to right, are Frankie B., me, and Billy S. Teddy did not mind being up-side-down, just so long as he was with me.
Teddy and I are composed and comfortable sitting on this rock wall. But this photo has a sister snapshot in which my father is squatting beside me while I am engrossed in adjusting Teddy's blanket. I appear to be totally unaware that we were being photographed. When you're two or three, there are priorities
This photograph was not from the miserable trip to Niagara Falls. On that trip when Teddy was left behind, my parents bought a large panda hoping it would calm my despairing heart. It did not. The panda was too unlike Teddy to offer comfort. That trip to Niagara Falls was the last traveling vacation our family took for at least three years. During those three years we spent a week or two staying at a cottage on nearby Lake Milton. We were close enough to home to retrieve Teddy, if necessary.
Not long ago I found Teddy packed away in a box of dolls. The poor bear. With so much attention he's threadbare in places. Some of his body parts have been stitched and restitched countless times. His eyes are scratched and he is more wild-eyed than I remembered. But the smooth spot on his ear that I so often rubbed is just as smooth as ever.
Dear Teddy, what a comfort you were to me. Happy Teddy Bear Day.
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