The Autobiography of a Teddy Bear

March 6, 2008
By Bianca Stahl, Kokomo, IN

My earliest memory is sitting in a cardboard box.

I stared at three white walls filled with shelves of stuffed bears… all of them looked the same. I couldn’t help but wonder what I looked like. Did I look any different? Feel any different? Seem any different at all? Were my eyes as brown as theirs? Was my fur as soft?

These thoughts continued through my head. I cannot say how much time passed when I was trapped in that tiny little box in that confining little room. It could have been days, weeks… months, or even years.

Finally, one day, a large man in dark blue pants and a matching shirt came to the little room where I lived. He had a cart with him. As I watched him, he began to roughly grab boxes of bears and place them, not gently, into the cart. Fear gripped me as my box was grabbed ruthlessly and tossed into the cart with the others.

Other boxes were piled on top of me… I couldn’t see anything around me. I had no idea what was going to happen to the other bears, or to me.

The cart was being wheeled—I assumed the man was pushing it. Eventually, the cart came to a rather abrupt stop. Boxes were being removed (I could tell because I began to see light streaming through the other boxes around me). Finally, it was my turn. The man picked up my box—along with some others—and placed me in the back of a large truck.

After he closed the back door on the truck, I cautiously looked around. The other boxes all appeared to still be there with me, so I wasn’t extremely concerned about the situation. Of course, I was frightened—after all, I was in a strange place I had never been before—but I was also hopeful. It seemed I had been in that white room for so long. Any change seemed to be a good one.

Suddenly, the truck began to move. I wondered what would happen to all of us. Some bears exchanged words with the surrounding boxed bears, but most of us stayed silent, lost in our own thoughts.

Suddenly, one bear addressed us all.

“I bet they’re going to get rid of all of us. Why else would they have just left us in that other room for so long?”

The question was met by murmurs of agreement. Some of the newer bears gasped; they hadn’t really been in the room as long as the rest of us had. I was the first bear to be in that white room—I watched the room fill with bears; I had been there since the beginning. If anyone had a right to complain, it would have been me. But I didn’t.

Instead, I said, “Oh, I doubt that. I bet they’re taking us somewhere nicer.”

The other bear scowled at me, but said nothing else.

I didn’t let anyone notice, but I was secretly pleased that I handed a potentially bad situation so well.

It seemed like hours—days?—later, the truck finally pulled to a stop. The door once again opened. A different man, this one dressed in tan pants and a black shirt, began unloading boxes. Soon, two others dressed similar to him began to assist him as well.

Soon, no bears remained in the truck. The man took one last look inside the truck.

“Oh! Almost forgot one,” he said as he picked me up and tucked me underneath his left arm. The truck’s driver handed him a clipboard with a white paper attached to the top. The man holding me signed the paper and left… I heard the truck driving away.

Most of the boxed bears—myself included—were placed in the storage room, a huge room with gray walls. The other bears, about twenty of them, were taken away. We never saw them again.

Every few days, a worker would come and take more of us away. Those taken were never seen again. Each time, they disappeared without a trace. Eventually, only a handful of us remained. Thirteen bears remained in that dark room.

Only thirteen. There had been dozens of us, hadn’t there? Maybe even hundreds! Where had they all gone? I wondered.

And then it happened.

One day… they took more bears away. And then there were six of us. The next time they came… I was taken. No words can describe the absolute, desolate horror I felt at that time.

I was placed on a shelf. Other boxed animals were all around me, but none of them looked like me. I was fearful. All the other bears like me had gone away, and now I was the only one left.

“It’s alright,” said a pink puppy next to me, “You’ll get picked.”

“Picked?” I squeaked.

But the puppy had no time to answer… because at that exact moment, a sandy-haired lady picked up the puppy and handed it to a small girl next to her.

“Ooo, thank you, thank you! Yay!” the little girl squealed.

And suddenly, it all made sense to me.
I spent the next few days... months, maybe… waiting for someone to pick me up and take me like they did the others. But no one ever did.

The other stuffed animals were always being sold, but no one ever looked twice at me. I guess I was just too ordinary. I didn’t have a crystal collar, or strange colors or patterns on my fur. I didn’t have clothes or hats or shoes in my box. I was just a plain old teddy bear, a teddy bear that no one wanted.

One day, the saleslady at the store decided that no one would choose me, so she decided to take me off the display shelf and return me to the dark storage room. She plucked me off the shelf and turned to take me to the back.

“I’ll just take you back in the back, little guy,” she said to me with a smile.

Soon, I was right back where I started: in the storage room.

Little did I know the saleslady was having issues of her own.

A girl and her mother went shopping one day. It was the girl’s birthday, and since she didn’t have many friends, her mother decided to take her shopping instead of having a party for her. So, the mother and her sweet little daughter entered the toy store and were looking around.

“May I have a stuffed animal, mommy?” the little girl asked, trying not to beg.

“Why, of course, sweetheart!” her mother exclaimed, “It is your birthday, you know.”

They ventured to the stuffed animal section, and the girl browsed intently. Finally, the mother could stand it no longer.

“Honey, which one do you want?” she asked, exasperated.

“I don’t like any of them, mommy,” she said sadly, starting to cry.

Her mother motioned for the saleslady to join them.

“How may I help you?” the woman asked.

“Well,” said the child’s mother, “My daughter would like a stuffed animal, but she cannot find one she really likes. Do you by any chance have any in the back?”

“Why, yes. We have one.”

The saleslady returned to the back quite a while after she left. She plucked up my box, opened the door, and re-entered the store area. She handed me to a small child.

I saw the tiny girl’s eyes light up.

“Mommy, can I have this one?” she asked as she triumphantly held me into the air.

“Of course, honey,” her mother said, glad her daughter had finally found something she liked.

It was in that moment… that I felt complete. When the entire world rejected me, this one child saw straight into my heart. This one small child, who knew nothing of prejudice and extravagance, saw me for what I was: a loving friend.

Though the years, I’ve dried my little girl’s tears. I’ve watched her learn and grow until she no longer needed me as a companion. However… my little girl never left me. The years have passed, and she now has a small child of her own. But I still sit on a table by her bed at night, and I still watch over her.

As I always will.

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