My First Teddy Bear

If we all look back at our childhoods, I’m pretty sure we will find that we all had a favorite stuffed animal. Mine was a teddy bear. It was given to me by my uncle’s then girlfriend when I was pretty young, maybe 3 or 4 years old. It was a turquoise and white bear with round plastic black and white eyes. It was one of those teddy bears like you used to win at the fair that was stuffed with round foam pieces. I still have that bear locked in an old metal trunk with some other items I have kept over the years. That bear holds so many memories. The picture to the left is my son’s first and favorite teddy bear that was given to him by our neighbors the day he came home from the hospital. It’s definitely seen better days but it is so precious to him.

My teddy bear brought me great comfort in some of the bad times and made me smile during the good times. I remember once when I was 5 years old (not long after I moved in with my parents) my father had grabbed my right arm and twisted it so hard that I thought he would break it. I remember running into my room crying and grabbed that bear and hugged on it for what seemed like an hour. That bear captured my tears, comforted me and made me feel safe as long as I was holding it.

My first day of kindergarten was so scary! I begged to take my teddy bear with me but was told it had to stay behind because I needed to be a big girl now. So, I reluctantly left my bear at home. My kindergarten was in a daycare center. It was called Dixieland Daycare in Louisiana. On my first day there, I was one of the first kids to arrive that morning. When my mom turned to leave I remember screaming and running for her. I had never been left with anyone other than family before. The lady that owned the daycare, her name was Sherry, picked me up and held me and talked to me as she walked back into the daycare. I remember her holding my hand and keeping me close by all day and making sure I was okay until my mother came to pick me up.

Sherry was always so sweet to me. We had to drive about 40 miles to the daycare so needless to say we would leave very early in the mornings and my mother would drop me off right as the door to the daycare opened at 6:00 a.m. The speed limit back then was only 55 mph so you didn’t get anywhere quite as fast as you do today. Sherry would let me go into her office when I got there and lay down and sleep until it was time for kindergarten class to start. When I finished kindergarten, my parents sent me to a catholic school in the city (more to that story later). Sherry’s two children also went to that school so it worked out that my mother would drop me off and Sherry would get her two children, me and a few others off to school. In the afternoon, Sherry would pick us up and take us back to the daycare where we would have snacks and wait for our parents to pick us up.

Everyday without fail, when I walked into the house after a long day I would run to my room and grab my teddy bear. My teddy bear helped me with homework, listened to my secrets, sat with me on the floor when I played, and captured a lot of tears over the years. My teddy bear is now 50 years old. I often wonder if that teddy bear was still in good shape if I would still hug it and even on the very rare occasion, cry on it. My teddy bear will always hold a special place in my heart.

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