It is true that a lot of my email emanates from teddy bear friends and acquaintances. I also hear from family and friends. The mail gets divided into distinctly separate categories in my mind as these three worlds don’t often intersect.
Yet in my inbox the other day, I was touched to receive an email from a non-bear-world friend that crossed over into the bear world. It was such a great read that I thought you would enjoy reading it too.
Our very good friend David has kindly agreed to let me share his missive with you. For a bit of background, I often send some of the extra handmade bear Christmas cards to friends and that is how this whole thing got rolling. I haven’t shared the 2010 card here but suffice it to say it had a bit in there about a teddy bear and Raggedy Ann that my mom and dad gave me. Here is David’s story:
As I put away the Christmas cards a few weeks ago, I reread your warm and thoughtful reminiscence about those Christmas gifts that endure long after others have been trashed or abandoned. Standing in front of my dresser that same evening, I spotted the little guy you see below and realized he qualified as one of those "special old friends" just like the Raggedy Ann and old-fashioned teddy bear you described. Like these long-ago gifts from your parents, Ginger, my guy has traveled with me through many years and many changes in my life. I got the feeling here that he was giving me a smile and a wave for this new insight:
He was a Christmas present from my Granny when I was 4 and living in NJ. "Turn his tail," she urged, and to my amazement, from somewhere in his belly a little 4-note melody came plunking out. Over the next 8 or 9 years, I wore his tail threadbare. Then, during that stretch of my life when being "cool" wouldn't allow for having a teddy bear in plain view, he was banished to a box under the bed. Even so, when I came to my senses many years later, he forgave me without a thought, as is the way of special old friends. Since then, he's always been nearby, usually on my dresser as he is now.
It wasn't until I looked at this picture that it struck me what my little bear is sitting next to. The inlayed box you see at the right belonged to my Grandfather. It was given to me following his death during my college years. Not as long a history as Granny's bear, and not as fuzzy, but Granddad’s box qualifies as a special old friend, too. And somehow these two friends of mine, both coming from the hands and hearts of my grandparents at different times under different circumstances, managed to situate themselves side by side on my dresser two generations later. Until now, I'd never made that obvious, happy connection.
And here is the special teddy that has been David’s friend for quite a number of years. You can get an idea just from his character what great adventures they have shared through the years.
I hope you enjoyed David’s story. My heartfelt thanks to David for allowing me to post it here.
“Age simply doesn’t enter into it! The older the friend, the more he is valued, particularly when he shows so visibly the characteristics that we all look for in friends. You only have to look at a genuine Teddy’s face to see at once the loyalty, common sense, and, above all, dependability behind it.” – Peter Bull