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September 18, 2015

National Teddy Bear Day


Today is National Teddy Bear Day!

I have a teddy bear and no, I am not ashamed to admit it.

Here is an excerpt from a memoir piece I wrote about the spine surgery I had when I was fifteen. It is called Woman of Steel and reveals how we meet.
The day after my fifteenth birthday, I woke up hours before the sun had opened its eyes. Wishing I could dive into bed and pretend it was not the day of my surgery, I groggily climbed into my mother’s car. On the way to the hospital, I watched the dove-gray sky lighten degree by degree. Slowly, as if its muscles ached, the sun stood up in the sky. 
I followed my parents into the hospital as my heart pounded in my chest and my knobby knees quaked. With each step, I silently hoped we would get lost. Unfortunately, we found the right area and sat down in uncomfortable chairs to wait for the inevitable. 
I hugged my backpack to my chest and tried to calm my racing heart. The woman sitting behind the receptionists’ desk saw me and called me over. I watched her heft a giant garbage bag off the floor and dig inside it, oddly resembling Santa. She pulled out a brown teddy bear with silky hair and a blue ribbon tied around its furry neck. 
“You look like you need to hug something,” she said as she handed the bear to me. Normally I would have turned my nose up at such a childish gift, but at that moment that teddy bear looked like a life preserver to me. I took the bear and embraced it with all my might.
I don’t have a picture of him when I first got him, when his fur was silky and smooth, but this is a picture I took a long time ago.

Image by Chrys Fey.


He looks pretty much the same these days and now my youngest nephew cuddles with him whenever he’s here. :)


QUESTION: Did you have a favorite teddy bear from your childhood? Do you still have a teddy bear? If so, give him/her a hug. :P

And while we’re on this topic, you should check out The Bear Who Woudn’t Leave by J.H. Moncrieff. You might need to hug your bear while reading this short story. Or it might make you look at it sideways….

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66 comments:

Pat Hatt said...

Sometimes little things like a Teddy Bear can help in those awful moments. I had one as a baby I think, but never used any after.

sherry fundin said...

I think more and more caregivers, whether a nurse at the hospital or a fireman or a policeman, have figured out how something so simple can bring comfort. No, I don't have a favorite from the past, but I do have a shelf of them now. :-)
Your tease for Moncrieff is making me go check it out. I would hate to think my teddies would rise up against me. lol
sherry @ fundinmental

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Love that excerpt, Chrys! And I still have my teddy bear from when I was a kid. Plus a few others. :)

Anonymous said...

I have one of my first 'bears' a worn and love panda called... Panda. I also have a whole family of bears that have been adopted over the years. I'll never stop - my wife and I bought two bears at Wookey Hole two years ago. When my mother was evacuated from Jersey in WWII, they were unable to take more than a small suitcase - she ensured that she took Binky her bear and Jane the rabbit. She had them her whole life, and they now live at the family home - if my brother abide d by her wishes.

diedre Knight said...

Whether a soft blanket or plush toy, no one knows us better than our special friends...So glad you were given a teddy for that most terrifying event.
Thanks for sharing such a stirring excerpt!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I still have my old Teddy bear. Actually, it's a Biff the Bear who talks when you pull his string. And he still works.

betty said...

He's a cutie!! Don't have any stuffed animals from my youth, but have some of my kids' favorites that seemed to somehow stay at home when they moved, LOL :)

betty

Jeffrey Scott said...

A touching story. Brought a tear to my eye.
As for a teddy bear, I don't have one. But like Linus, I always had favourite blanket. Back in High School it was my security. No, I didn't carry it around with me, it stayed on my bed. But I have always used. When I was married, my wife hated it because I wouldn't throw it away. In fact, to this day, almost 30 years later, I still have the blanket. But it's currently in storage. Perhaps I shall bring it out tonight and hug it. I could use one.

Anonymous said...

Spine surgery at 15. Wow! Really nice of that receptionist to give that bear. Nice gesture, wish all folks who worked in a hospital did stuff like that! Great exert :)

I have a stuffed bear. His name is Blue Bear and he has a button patch eye and I have him snug tucked away in a box under my bed. All my other stuffed animals I gave to my daughter, but he's mine.

Chrys Fey said...

It was a lot easier hugging this teddy bear during the moments leading up to my surgery.

Chrys Fey said...

While reading J.H.'s book, I did feel a little uncomfortable with my teddy bear. Haha! :P

Chrys Fey said...

Yay! I'm glad. :)

Chrys Fey said...

You should read J.H.'s book because the bear in her story is a panda! ;) I've collected reindeer. It started with a stuffed reindeer that my family had when I was little and expanded with a reindeer from Hallmark. After that, I buy one whenever I see one. :P I'm glad you're mom was able to take Binky and Jane. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I also had a blanket. I still have that too in a box. My mom had crocheted it. It belonged to my other siblings then was passed down to me...the baby. I loved it so much that s many holes are in it now. lol

Chrys Fey said...

A Biff! That's awesome!

Chrys Fey said...

LOL! When I have kids, I would definitely hold onto their favorites toys from childhood. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Aw! :)

I also had a blanket. My mom crocheted it for my siblings and it got passed down to me. I still have it in a box because there's so many holes in it now I'm afraid it'll unravel into one long string. HAHA! I won't ever throw mine away either.

Chrys Fey said...

Aw!!! That's cute. Mr. Bear says "hi" to Blue Bear. :P

Jeffrey Scott said...

Yep, mine has holes too. Afraid it's going to disintegrate next time I cuddle it.
If you need additional reason to smile. Tomorrow is Krispy Kreme's talk like a pirate day. Sounds like fun, and free donuts. :)

nashvillecats2 said...

Didn't know about being Teddy Bear Day, I have several Danny Boy teddies I habve bought at concerts.
Great Post .
Yvonne.

Lisa Thomson said...

"Woman Of Steel" I love your title and excerpt! You were so brave!! I love the photo of your teddy and that you kept him as your 4ever companion. When I was small I had a bear I took everywhere with me. Of course, he slept with me too. I still have him. When I was pregnant with my first baby, I found a little old lady who repaired antique bears. She sewed up his ear and put a new glass eye on his cute face. Then I kept the bear in the nursery. The bear actually was my mother's as a child and her older siblings as well. Happy Teddy Bear Day, Chrys :)

Christine Rains said...

Love that title! And it's such a sweet story. I had hundreds of stuffed animals since I collected them. Yet the two bears that sat on my bed were Oktober (white) and Nightmare (black). Yup, I was just that sort of kid!

sage said...

Nice story, even though I am always sadden when I hear about young people having to endure illnesses and surgeries. I have a handful of Teddy Bears and if I get a chance, I'll post some photos of them. Nevada Jack is the oldest bear, given to me 30 years ago by a girlfriend (and he is my alter-ego when writing sarcasm and parody). At one period of time, I had over 60 bears--most all given to me, but I gave away all but a few to a children's homeless shelter.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

What a lovely story and what a kind lady to know exactly what you needed at that moment. Your bear looks so adorable and like he's there to hug you now, when you need a hug.
I don't recall every having a Teddy Bear. I had lots of dolls.

Chrys Fey said...

Talk like a pirate day? My nephews would love that! And who doesn't like free donuts? :)

Chrys Fey said...

Aw! Those are nice collectibles.

Chrys Fey said...

I love that your bear had been passed down from your mother and her siblings. I have a baby blanket that was passed down to me from my siblings.

Happy Teddy Bear Day, Lisa! :)

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you, Christine! Tee-hee. I love that Oktober and Nightmare. How fitting. ;)

Chrys Fey said...

I have seen pictures of Nevada Jack. He's a cool dude. ;) 60 bears?! WOW! It was great of you to give them to a children's homeless shelter.

Chrys Fey said...

She knew just what would make me feel better. I'm glad she worked there and was there when I came in.

Mary Kirkland said...

I got a huge 3 foot tall teddy bear when I was 8 years old. I slept on that bear when I had surgery to remove a cyst on my face when I was 10 years old. Then when my daughter was born she played with him until he fell apart.

Annalisa Crawford said...

What a lovely lady, and a thoughtful gift.

My teddy hides in a drawer these days, he's six months older than me, which in teddy years makes him about 250!

Anonymous said...

I don't have a teddy bear, but I still have my Pound Puppy and a stuffed horse I played with in my youth.

Kelly Hashway said...

I need a teddy bear hug today. It's been an awful day.

Jeffrey Scott said...

If you talk like a pirate you get a free donut. But if you are crazy like a friend of mine, she's going to get dressed up AS a pirate and if you do that, you get a free dozen donuts.

Chrys Fey said...

I would dress up too! LOL!

Chrys Fey said...

That is adorable!

Chrys Fey said...

250 years old. LOL! :P

Chrys Fey said...

Those count! To me all stuffed animals count. :)

Chrys Fey said...

:( I'm sorry. Mr. Bear is sending you virtual teddy bear hugs!

Carrie-Anne said...

I have a couple of little teddybears around, but my special stuffed animals are cats, a couple of dogs, and my giant frog Simon. As a child of the Eighties, I had probably all the Care Bears and Care Cousins, except Grumpy Bear. Years later, my ex got me a small Grumpy Bear as a present for my first plastic surgery.

After my first surgery at age 23, my parents presented me with a stuffed calico cat who came with the name Chica. I pronounce it with a short I, in honor of Chico Marx.

Liz A. said...

I had a teddy bear that fell apart and was replaced by another that I still have somewhere. The replacing the teddy bear is an interesting story...

Unknown said...

That's cute! I had a Pikachu toy which I liked to sleep with for a while. You could press its hand and it would make Pikachu noises.

Tara Tyler said...

how precious! mine wasnt a bear, but a little brown bean bag dog... Peanut. Gotta have a cuddle buddy!

Patsy said...

I still have the teddy bear my granny made me. His fur is wearing thin in places now, but I still love him.

DMS said...

I am glad you got the bear just when you needed him most. Sounds like a scary time! Your bear is so cute and it is nice that he is still getting love. I have quite a few special stuffed animals (and pillows) that I keep near and dear to me. :)

~Jess

Chrys Fey said...

I know you've shared pictures of your special stuffed animals on your blog before. :) It seems teddy bears or stuffed animals of some kind of the perfect gift for when someone has surgery.

Chrys Fey said...

I'd like to hear that story. :P

Chrys Fey said...

Haha! Pikachu! I remember when Pokémon first became popular. My nephews are actually obsessed with it now.

Chrys Fey said...

I loved beanie babies! I still have a few. And I have a bunny with beans in it too. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Aw! That's so sweet. <3

Chrys Fey said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who still has a teddy bear and a couple of stuffed animals. It seems everyone who commented has at least one. :D

Anonymous said...

I love teddy bears, but didn't have one until I was an older child. I really wanted one when I was little. I had plastic dolls, but really wanted something soft.

Sandra Cox said...

Aww. Thanks for sharing that, Chrys.
When my daughter went in for surgery, she took 'Skunk'. They put an admittance bracelet on it, that said Skunk Cox:)

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Rats, you mean I missed National Teddy Bear Day! My first Teddy Bear was Cubby who I kept until all his fur was loved off and he had his very own Viking Funeral when my home burned. When I counseled abused children, I used a talking teddy bear, Bingo, who would say over a hundred random sentences. I still find myself saying one of his sentences: "I don't understand." Lovely post as always. :-)

Jax said...

Sadly, I never had a teddy bear that I remember. Now I kind of feel left out. My daughter doesn't have one either. Well, at least not one that she gravitated to. She's all about her Olaf doll! Lol

Unknown said...

I'm impressed with its longevity. It's been taking over 10-year-olds' lives for 16 years now.

Chrys Fey said...

Plastic dolls are cool but teddy bears are easier to cuddle. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Aw! That's so cute that they put a hospital bracelet on Skunk. Doctors and nurses are awesome when it comes to children.

Chrys Fey said...

Oh gosh! Poor Cubby. But his funeral was honorable...although it was devastating for you. You lose so much because of that fire. :(

Chrys Fey said...

No Teddy Bears? :( Oh but Olaf is a good stuffed friend. :)

Chrys Fey said...

LOL! I'm impressed too. I thought it would've fizzled out a long time ago.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Chrys ... I think I must have cuddled the real cat! I don't remember teddy bears and things ... though my younger brother has one now - and my mother had her Hardwick when she became ill ... a story but he was well cuddled by her, I now have him here ... but I don't cuddle him! Lovely story though - and so glad your nephew now loves him ... cheers Hilary

Chrys Fey said...

LOL! You don't have to cuddle him, just having one is nice. :)

J.H. Moncrieff said...

So, I'm finally getting back into the blogging world, and I see this post. Of course I had to read it. I can't believe I missed International Teddy Bear Day! Talk about a missed opportunity!

Then I saw you put in a plug for my book. Thanks so much, Chrys! That's so nice of you. I'm glad you didn't forget all about me while I was gone. :)

Your story is much nicer than mine. He's a cute bear.

Chrys Fey said...

I'm glad your getting back into blogging. I know I've missed some of your recent posts. I'll try to stop by more often.

Your welcome for the plug. It was the perfect opportunity to do it. :)