Besides photographs, I don't have a lot in my house from my days as a kid. One of the things I have managed to keep is a small white, dingy teddy bear known in my childhood as "Littl'un," a hillbilly truncation of the name "Little One."
The teddy bear has a history. In late December 1973 or very early January 1974, the twin decided to get into the stuff under the sink and drank bleach (or Brasso, the story has been told both ways) and was taken to the hospital. The twin was in the hospital for several days, spending our first birthday there. This pic is Mom and the twin at the hospital. The little bear in the photo was a gift to him while he was there.
After he came home from the hospital, he seemed to have no interest in the bear. So Mom and Dad gave him to me, starting my life-long interest in bears, starting with the teddy variety then seguing into the more human version as an adult. Every year until I was 16, my mom got me a teddy bear for Christmas. I had quite a collection for the longest time, including a giant blue and white one called "76," named after a gas station where my dad bought him. It was about this time, the little white bear garnered his name "Little One."
After I left for college, my teddy bear collection was put away. After I graduated, I moved to Cincinnati then Kansas City. Mom and Dad moved out of our old house because of Dad's health and the house fell into a horrible state. On one of my trips home from Kansas City, I collected a few things of mine from the house, including Littl'un to make sure nothing happened to him and he's been in my custody ever since.
When I had that nasty bout with blood clots a few years back, my sister and twin came up to see me at the hospital. They stayed at my house overnight and noticed Littl'un resting on the bed in the spare bedroom. They couldn't believe that I still had him. I can't imagine why they'd think I'd NOT have him.
He's more off-white, than white. His paws are worn. He is missing an eye, most of the nose, etc., but it's how I remember him from my childhood. He's been drooled on, peed on, dragged outside and back. In reality, he's probably a toxic wasteland of baby germs. I'd throw him in the wash, but I don't think his body would hold up to the agitation. I've given him a thorough dousing with Lysol though.
He's a huge part of my history. It's strange how we imbue inanimate objects with so much of our lives. Like a kid, I worry about his comfort, which is why is sleeps on the spare bed and not on a shelf. I'm happy he's still here with me.
Littlun in His Natural Habitat