Saturday, July 25, 2015

#Cherished: If This Teddy Could Talk...

On a bookshelf behind my desk, out of sight unless you know where to look, sits a toy koala bear. He's old, dusty, and faded. The hair on his ears is matted. His eyes are scratched, and the tan felt of one eyelid has peeled off. The plastic pear he wears as a nose needs to be glued back on. Again. And yet his grin remains. A tad sardonic maybe--not surprising, given the degree of abandonment he's put up with. But there's real bonhomie, too. Good-natured patience. I'm here, that grin seems to say. Whenever you remember.


Is there anything as sad as a forgotten once-beloved toy? These cast-offs speak of lost childhoods, changing priorities, the ephemeral nature of our attachments, even the ones that feel, at the time, forged in steel. Most of all, I suppose, these little personalities -- for who can deny them that bit of humanity? -- remind us of the selves we've left behind.


His name is Beary. He slept in the crook of my arm for years and years, stood watch over the kingdom of my bedroom while I, its omnipotent god and ruler, met the obligations of school and ballet and basketball. He was never a toy in the strictest sense of the word; he rarely played a part in my mini-operas of fairies and princesses and pirates and damsels in distress saved by magic (and their own wits... I was already a feminist under all those pink tulle frills). No, Beary--from his arrival, when I was maybe 6 or 7--was always a companion rather than a playmate. A kindred soul (my first). A guardian angel, maybe, without the religious and/or protective connotation.

He shared sleeping space with a few other darlings, but while those came and went, Beary stayed. Beary was the one that came along (carry-on; never checked baggage) on a three-month trip to Europe. Beary was the sole carry-over during that harsh marshland of childhood-to-adulthood; I cried my first bitter tears of heartbreak into his pudgy belly, and when all but the most significant toys had either been given away or put into storage, he always had pride of place, either by my bedside or on my desk.

Over the years, I've lost many things that hurt: love letters, books, posters, postcards, photo albums with my whole childhood and adolescence in them. And Beary. Moving on requires jettisoning things we're not ready to leave behind. I've learned to let go, because--well, because holding on does no one any good.

Last year, when I was in Mexico to renew my passport, my mother came to my bedroom as I was packing for my pre-dawn flight and said, "I have a surprise for you." She produced Beary, recently laundered, grinning that Hey You grin of his. "I didn't have time to fix his nose," she said, shoving him into my arms too fast, as if afraid maybe I'd use the falling bit of plastic as a reason to reject him.

I left behind a kilo package of tortilla corn flour in order to make him fit. Carry-on, of course, and screw the weird looks I got from Customs. Beary doesn't travel in cargo.


The #Cherished blogfest celebrates objects that pull on the heartstrings of memory. If you enjoyed this post, visit the other participating blogs--and join up with your own story of a cherished object of your own. The linky list is open until the end of the day tomorrow (Sunday). And a big round of applause for #Cherished hosts Damyanti, Dan Antion, Paul Ruddock, Peter Nena, and Sharukh Bamboat!



28 comments :

  1. HOKEY-SMOKE & HOO-WEE! This was GREAT!!!

    I loved it, and I can totally relate (even though I am a "manly man's man" - ha!).

    You have INSPIRED ME to eventually create my own blog bit about my best pal, "MUDDY". He too is stuffed, but he'd go ballistic if anyone ever said that in his presence. I love Muddy more than I love most real peoples. So... thanks for the idea! This is a blog bit whose time is coming.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't tell you how flattered I am you liked this post, Stephen--and that you've found inspiration for writing about Muddy, too! Looking forward to that. (Maybe another Soundtrack post?)

      Delete
  2. I love this! We all have some stuffed animal. My brother has a bear as old as him and almost all the fuzz is gone. It was sent to him by our Oma and Opa. He is a Steiff bear but only worth gold to my brother. I got a lion when I was 8 yrs old by my Uncle when I was in Europe and he has been with me through thick and thin and he resides on my bed still

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you liked it, Birgit! And glad I'm not the only one with stuffed animals haunting my affections ;)

      Delete
  3. Great story with a happy ending. You must have been so thrilled to get Beary back! He looks like an amiable companion. ☺

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, he is, Debbie :D And yes, I'm thrilled he now resides in Curaçao with me. Not sure how he feels about the weather, being so furry and unable to shed, but I'm enjoying his company ;)

      Delete
  4. I really loved the way you have put down your feelings for your cherished object. Thank you for participating.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sharukh, for the visit and for hosting this blog hop. It's a wonderful idea, and I hope it becomes a regular thing. There are so many objects that spark emotion, so many memories we tie to certain things, and any exercise that helps us focus on those objects, I think, is an approach to gratitude--which is a very good place to be :)

      Delete
  5. Ah! Beary is so cute! I love this story! I used to have a stuffed animal like him growing up - Blue Bear, a blue bear that now has a patch eye because I can't sew - and never thought really to give him away. It never occurred to me to use him for this bloghop. He's buried in a box under our bed with a few other childhood trinkets. A bear is all anyone needs :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "A bear is all anyone needs" -- love that, Madilyn! It's so true, really. A reminder of the child we once were, and which, if we're honest, we still carry inside. A chance to bring that child out, to recover that sense of wonder and simplicity, to use the perspective of adulthood to heal whatever wounds (and grudges) that child might bear. Yep. It's all we need indeed :)

      Delete
  6. This is such a fun post. Thank you so much for joining the blogfest and supporting it with this post. I think it's cool that Beary travels with you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank *you*, Dan, for the visit -- and for hosting the Cherished 'fest! I hope you guys decide to make it a regular feature... It was a wonderful way of discovering different bloggers and of connecting at a deeper level. Loved it :)

      Delete
  7. Beary reminds me a little of the stuffed bear I found in an antique store shorty before leaving home for college. It was a new bear at the time and I was far too old for it, but I got it anyway and off to school we went. I still have him, but my daughter has adopted/stolen him away and named him Vincent (from the cartoon Over the Hedge). I'm glad he's with someone who cherishes him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How lovely to pass on a beloved companion to one's child... Almost (almost ;) ) makes me wish I'd had kids. Maybe Vincent will one day be passed on to a grandchild -- and think of the stories he'd tell if he could speak :) Thanks for the visit, Tamara!

      Delete
  8. Hi Guilie .. wonderful and I'm so glad he's back with you ... cleaned and smelling sweet and ready for his next adventures. Love the story line - what great memories. My mother had Hardwick, a wire-haried fox terrier, sat on her bed for most of her latter years ... I had to take him out of hospital on occasions in case he got lost ... but he was always there for my mother - her saviour at times ... she rested her hand on his back for most of the 5+ years ...

    Hardwick is now with me .. but I do need to find someone to professionally clean him. Cheers and I'll remember Beary .. Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the name Hardwick! What a lovely story he has. And how wonderful your mom had him with her -- and that he found a home with you :) Thank you for taking Beary in to your memories; I hope he can make you smile every once in a while :)

      Delete
  9. SOOO sweet. I adored my stuffed animals as a child, and passed them on to my littles so they could receive more love. When grandchildren come into the picture, they'll have access to those treasures as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How cool is that, Crystal! I love the idea of stuffed animals being a generation-to-generation thing. It's beautiful to think it's not just the animal itself that gets passed on, but the love we showered them with as children. There is no more genuine love than that of a child, and these furry characters are ambassadors through time of that. Love that idea. Thanks for the visit!

      Delete
  10. It was lovely to hear about Beary - I'd love to sit and have a chat with him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, Clowie... Thank you! You know, if anyone could get him to tell his stories it might be you. Sometimes I catch my dogs sniffing at his nose with ears pricked up, as if they're listening to something. Maybe they understand him, too.

      Delete
  11. I love reading these posts. I learned early on not to hold too tightly to anything, as they disappear when you least expect it. So wonderful to know that isn't always the case. A truly lovely post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Yolanda! So glad you enjoyed it -- and thanks for the lovely comment. Yes, attachments come with a price... On the other hand, total detachment isn't really an option for me; I think I'm too intense, haha. So I've made a bargain with myself: I get attached (hugely, deeply, ravishingly) as long as I'm clear on the fact of impermanence. Does it work? Nah, haha. There's still pain involved, of course; loss is inevitable. But accepting that at the outset does help to counter the feeling of unfairness or betrayal. So... yeah, I guess in a way it does help :)

      Thanks for the visit!

      Delete
  12. I was so happy when you and Beary were reunited! Great story :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Cynthia! Glad you liked it :)

      Delete
  13. Oh Guilie, how I love your Beary story! Of course, I can relate with my Peaches the Wonder Dog, who's been along for the ride since I was about 3. You write with such eloquence. Love it! And I love your squishie Beary! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Peaches the Wonder Dog -- love him already, just by the name. (And the species.) So glad he's still around! These furry personalities may seem trivial, or childish attachments -- an attachment to childhood, even -- but I think they contain a big piece of the puzzle that is happiness and living a life of integrity. (Or maybe I'm just really in love with Beary, haha.) Happy weekend, Carol!

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...