For the Love of Teddy
I have had a teddy bear for almost 20 years. It was given to me on Valentine's Day.
I first met Teddy in Grand Central Station where there was a "Gund" store that was selling a Limited Edition of the cutest teddy bears ever made. I always commented to my friend when we passed the window display (where over 50 bears were arranged in a pyramid) that Teddy had the most real eyes. "Doesn't he look like he's watching us"? My friend agreed.
Teddy was in the center of the pyramid, and his eyes begged for someone to get him out of the herd, if you know what I mean. If you look at the picture at the right, I am sure you will agree that his eyes are piercing. But, In truth, it was not until I survived deep trauma, that I would come to realize what a great gift this bear would be for me.
My love of stuffed animals, puppets and dolls was something my whole neighborhood knew well when I was growing up. I was a puppeteer for the New York State Park near my home every summer in my teenage years. I spent those summers trying to convince children that dolls and stuffed animals - although not real in the way people are real - have consciousness and they are watching everything you do. "They know you," I told them, "And when your parents are not looking, they are." They also need to be cared for, I said. Some of the children would shout back, "They're not real"! so of course as you would imagine, it was unlikely I was able to convince them of this truth.
At my mother's funeral last year, a friend of my sister's - for nearly twenty years - asked me, "Do you remember how you used to talk to all the animals and the dolls"? and I answered, "I still do," which made her laugh. The fact that I did so made all my nieces and nephews bring their dolls to me so I would make them talk, and they would sit and watch mesmerized, and I remember my youngest niece say with a tinge of doubt, "He's not real."
I happen to believe the imagination very important because it will provide solace and/or release when the world around you chokes you and/or provides no response. A Buddhist I once knew taught that if you project life into an object you give it life. And such is my life and love for Teddy.