Monday, May 18, 2009

A is for Arctophile

I am an Arctophile … I developed this ‘malady’ rather late in life. You see, Teddy Bear collectors are known as Arctophiles from the Greek words 'arcto' (bear) and 'philos' (lover). That pretty much sums it up for me … I am a Teddy Bear lover and a Teddy Bear collector.

I have no memory of Teddy Bears when I was a child. I lived with my maternal grandmother for several years … until my mother married for a third time and we moved to Oklahoma when I was almost ten years old. My grandmother was very frugal (that's a nice way of saying she was a 'tight-wad'!) We did not have 'frivolous' things. I truly did not want for 'things' when I was living with my grandmother, though.

Fast-forward to having children of my own … my children did not have a lot of stuffed toys either ... our son had allergies, Bz was attached to a' blankie' until we accidentally (Honestly!!!) left the wee scrape of material home one Christmas when we traveled to Oklahoma. Besides she was really only interested in live critters ... dogs, cats, hamsters ... and finally horses! But I digress… Bz did, however, have a blue teddy bear, obviously given to her by some 'distant' relative.

Around that time I was working the 7-3 shifts in the cancer unit of the hospital. One of my patients was an elderly woman without family. She was an admit from a nursing home and, of course, I became very attached to her. Another post later, perhaps, about my penchant for the elderly ... do you realize that when one of our elderly die, it can be equated to a library burning to the ground ... oops, more digression) This poor ole soul would cry when I went home in the afternoon. One morning shortly before she was being transferred to a hospice bed in the nursing home, I brought Bz' silly blue bear to the hospital. I went into the room with the bear in my arms; her face lit up and she reached for the bear. She immediately dubbed it Sandy and cuddled the little bear close to her heart. I learned later from the hospice nurses that when she died, the little bear was with her in the casket.

And so I became known as the 'Teddy Bear Nurse' ... I often gave special bears to my patients, but the collecting of them started after I went to work for hospice. One of my first patients was a 16-year-old girl, Joy, dying with cancer. I have a touching story about Joy concerning a horse, but that, too, will have to be another post. On my visits to the home, I admired a very unusual beige bear with chocolate brown eyes and suede paws. When Joy passed away, her mother insisted I take the bear, but only IF I would name it Joy. 'Joy' now sits on a bed in the Bear Room in Colorado. That was the first bear back in 1987 ... I now have two 'bear rooms;' one out in Colorado and another here in Texas. Family and friends have gifted me with several of my bears and I've purchased many from eBay. I am very fussy about my bears ... no 'Snuggle' (fabric softener type) bears; no Koala bears; no Grizzly bears; no foo-foo bears with wedding dresses or ballerina tutus ... and the facial expression and eyes are very important. No ordinary run of the mill bear will do. My bears ‘talk’ to me … okay, call the guys with the straitjackets ... that is what I wrote … the bears speak to my spirit. These are but a few things that my Teddy Bears give me: they offer complete and total acceptance. They don’t require batteries. They are energy efficient and non-polluting. They don’t bark, bite, scratch or snore. They keep all your secrets. They don't tell you that you are fat or have bad breath. They are the perfect fit for an empty spot in your heart. And they are always ready for a hug!

The Duck has given me some ‘static’ over the years concerning my bears … he complains the ones in Colorado are creeping out of the ‘bear room’ into the bathroom and kitchen. He remarks I should sell them (they are silly for a grown woman!) … they take up too much room. Our 13-year-old grandson doesn't want any bears ... maybe Little Someone will enjoy them one day. If not, I plan to leave them to a children's hospital … I’ve already given some away to our Blue Santa Claus drive (police program) and the Relay For Life (Cancer) events. When The Duck gets a little cranky about the bears, I remind him that I don't smoke, drink, or do drugs (yes, I am boring!) I don’t run around on him … I don't even play Bingo … The Teddy Bears Stay!!


Bz said...

In defense of "The Duck"- he doesn't give serious static, but I can empathize as they DO take up ALL extra space in the wee little cabin room. I think keeping a few special ones in the family (didn't know about 'Joy') is neat -you oughta have a written story for those... and the others, like you mentioned going to a children's hospital spreads the love around.

Fruitcake Sandy said...

The ones in cabin room are hanging on the wall. Those on the bed (and in the closet) are easily moved when room is occupied. I would have a very hard time culling those that remain ... perhaps in time. :>)

Bz said...

No, don't think that you should cull any if you don't want to- since they are already spoken for whenever the time comes.
Yeah, guess they can be easily moved when the room is occupied... just then, uhhh... the closet has no floor space! :-)!

Fruitcake Sandy said...
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Tatersmama said...

LOL... are you two arguing? ;-)

I can see both sides of it, but I guess now that I'm older, I understand how it can be such a simple *want*.
I have aquired a few bears myself, (I'm not in your league though) and since I don't ask for much in life, my extra or unloved books slowly go... while the bears stay.