Friday, September 9, 2022

Making Life Bearable


It’s National Teddy Bear Day!

So far I haven’t been able to find the exact history of how the day was created but there’s plenty about the origin of teddy bears.  I wonder if enough digging would reveal that National Teddy Bear Day came about due to the efforts of companies like Steiff, Gund, or FAO Schwartz. They’d certainly have a vested interest in perpetuating a love of all things Teddy.

There was a time when one’s love of the stuffed, plush companions of childhood was expected to fade and diminish in adulthood. I’m not sure that’s as true today. It certainly isn’t for me. This is Buddy. He’s appeared in the blog before.

Buddy was a half-birthday gift from my daughter when she was very young and he became an instant member of the family. He has a voice, a personality, and he has even had several outfits over the years. In this picture you see Buddy keeping me company on a really rough day. He was kind enough to accompany  me to the (gone but not forgotten) Second Chance Saloon in Oakland Mills.

That’s not his beer. He doesn’t drink.

Aside from Buddy, my favorite bears are Les nounours des gobelins. You can read about how they came to be in this delightful article in “Bonjour Paris: the Insider’s Guide.”

Les Nounors des Gobelins: Giant Teddy Bears Take Over the Streets in Paris, Roni Beth Tower, October 2019

Philippe, the creative proprietor of the bookstore at 25 avenue des Gobelins, decided the quartier could use some additional natural cheerfulness. He was inspired when his own teddybear, a large one he called “Gorille”, asked for his own “doudou” (a soft, fuzzy attachment object); he was convinced everyone can benefit from having cuddly friends. After he located a teddy bear for Gorille, he found three more giant bears, triplets he was certain, and brought them all home for companionship to Gorille. 

Les nounours have been spotted behind the wheel of sporty cars, looking out windows of ancient Paris buildings, gazing longingly in shop windows, ordering at sidewalk cafés, and even participating in an all-nounours wedding celebration. I’m not kidding.

Photo from Les nounours des gobelins, Facebook

Nounours wore masks during the height of the pandemic. They turned up promptly to get vaccinated. They were a perfect antidote to the isolation of staying at home to avoid illness. 

Why? Perhaps that inborn urge to engage in imaginary play never goes away for a lot of us. As a life-long early childhood educator, I think that’s a good thing. Dramatic play can take many forms. Some people enjoy cosplay and historic reenactment. Some participate in amateur theatrics. Some exercise those innately creative parts of themselves in telling wonderful bedtime stories to their children.

I believe that imagination and play are a part of being human.

Cuddling a teddy bear is, at its most basic, a comforting sensory experience that can give a feeling of a emotional reassurance. That, right there, is enough to celebrate them today. But they can also be companions - - and who knows? even instigators - - during life’s adventures and celebrations. Almost everything is more fun with a teddy bear.

And on sad days there is no one better.

Posted yesterday on the occasion of the death Queen Elizabeth II:

The caption reads, “Mes sincères condoléances 🥲🥲🥲”

Comments are open today for all things Teddy. 

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