Ted the Bear

January 11, 2009
By Sara Bendall, Maynard, MA

Anyone who’s ever treasured something -- loved it beyond the scope of reason -- will understand. A scholar and his books, a young man and his first car, an old woman still holding her first love letter, everyone has loved something inanimate, something cold and lifeless, once.

Why do we attach such sentimental feelings to mere objects? View them as one of of the family -- a constant forever? Perhaps we attach some memory to them, a barely remembered dream of youth. Some longing buried deep for times gone by or for those yet to happen. Whatever the reason, we love these belongings just the same.

I must confess to being no different from others in this respect. From the moment I was born, always in every distant memory, and even now, I have had a companion. His name is Ted the Bear.

Initially, way back in the September of 1965, Ted was a gift. Made in Ireland, he was a small panda bear bought specially for a new baby boy. The boy outgrew the bear, as we all must, but never threw it away. After leaving England and coming to America to marry, the boy-who-was-now-grown kept the bear.

The bear, worn and showing signs of age, was passed on to his baby daughter. Ever since, I have looked after and watched out for Ted. In the dimmest recesses of my memory, I can see myself cheerily bouncing through the house. Ted is tucked into my shirt, his head poking out of the collar. I can remember talking to Ted as I danced around, keeping the peaceful quiet. In those days, my dad was studying for a second degree and my mom worked all day, so I was left to make my own fun. This usually resulted in Ted and I curled up with the Bennet sisters or marveling at the bravery of Ivanhoe, some of my favorite characters.

At night, sitting up and waiting for Carson Daly’s Most Requested, we’d burrow all the way to the back of my walk in closet. There we’d sit in our secret pillow fort, playing characters from whatever book I’d read that day. I can even vividly recall the dark week we played nothing but Star Trek following the days my dad made me sit and watch it.

Every year I’d throw Ted the birthday soiree of the year, inviting only the most sophisticated of my dolls. When school started and there was less time for Ted during the day, I began to whisper to him. He was a nonjudgmental, quiet ear to talk to. Every problem, every issue, every crush was whispered to Ted over the years. He was the kind of diary someone too lazy to actually write might have, and he was perfect.

When my parents announced that we were moving to some strange place I’d never heard of called Maynard, it was into Ted’s sadly deflated stomach I cried. After my first day of school, it was Ted I flopped down next to and told of my adventures. Even now Ted sits on my bed, always there for a quick hug.

I know I must seem like a crazy teenage girl with an unhealthy relationship with her teddy bear. But Ted has been the main constant in my life, and he is more real to me than many of my friends. I love that little bear unconditionally, incomprehensively, and the way I have since I was a small girl. Ted is the reflection of my childhood, and I will always carry him with me.

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