Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mr. Teddy

One person's junk is another person's treasure. Didn't someone famous say that? Well somebody said something like that. And it was probably "One man's junk"....but this is me, and I'm not a man. And the oldest thing I have that has always been mine is a teddy bear.

No! No!! Wait! Come back!! This won't be maudlin, I promise.

Mr. Teddy (Yes, Mr. Teddy... shut up!) is my oldest possession. And he's pretty junked-up, I must say. And before I go on, let me make it clear that he does not live on my bed, nor on a shelf overlooking my bed, nor on the living room sofa. That would be silly. He actually lives most of the time in a box under my bed, with other odds and ends.

I don't remember getting Mr. Teddy, though I can't remember not having him. And though I have no proof, I believe he is a Steiff bear. I'm not a teddy bear collector, nor even an aficionado, but I do know that Steiff bears are very good bears--'chi-chi' bears, if you will. Caroline and John-John probably had Steiff bears. Vintage ones are very valuable. I'm not sure what lil ol' me was doing with one. Probably my father, in a fit of excitement and feeling more flush than he was, splurged on the best bear he could find for his beautiful new little baby girl.

Or at least that's how I like to imagine it.

My sister's bear, Pinky Bear, was nice, but he didn't have the "stature" of Mr. Teddy, and was nowhere near as fancy. Though one of his paws squeaked when you squeezed it.....

But where's Pinky Bear now? Who knows? I know where Mr. Teddy is.

Which doesn't matter, because I would never sell him. "A," I just never would. Just don't even ask me, nerdy bear collectors...get away from me! "B," He's in no condition to sell, anyway.

He's knocked around a bit, Mr. Teddy. Seen some hard times. His fur has rubbed off in many places. The bottom of one foot tore off almost completely. My mom's friend Gert fixed the little pads of all four feet with matching felt. A repair which satisfied me, but would probably drive a mercenary bear collector to distraction. In any event, the one foot tore through again years later, and without Gert to help me through, I outfitted Mr. T with a pair of pink baby socks. He's macho enough to pull it off.

I don't think I can tell you where one other doll of my childhood is. I had a Snoopy. I had a talking Bozo the Clown that said "Wow-wee Ka-zowee!" when you pulled the string. They got lost along the way, and while I remember them, I don't mourn them the way I would mourn Mr. T if he got lost along life's way.

It's important you know that Mr. Teddy is not a cuddly bear, either. He's very scratchy, not the soft, plush, squishy type of bear you would think to put in the crib of a little baby girl. He's got glass eyes, which I'm probably lucky I didn't swallow. He was in all likelihood meant to be on display, rather than actively loved.

But Mr. Teddy got lucky, and was actively loved by me.

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