I have a great love of bears - the live kind - and it all probably started with this one, the teddy bear that my parents gave me when I was a year old.
I have a whole collection that have come to live with my mostly bear family over the years. They all mean a lot to me because they were either given on birthdays or Mother's Days, or when I spotted one on a vacation dressed in that's area's traditional costume. I haven't bought one in a very long time but when one is given to me I am always delighted to add it to my mostly bear family. I have honorary bears; a sock elephant and platypus my son gave me which I adore because he gave them to me, and several moose because I also fell in love with those incredible animals when I saw the real kind on our visits to the northern climes. There is another chair filled to the brim on the other side of the room. Sentimental fool I may be but this one particular teddy bear, the one from my Mom and Dad, is the one I love above all others because he is the one who has been with me the longest and is a loving connection to my parents. We have seen a lot together.
He went missing for a while. I put him in my craft room and he got stuck in a corner. I had the intention of bringing him downstairs but he was gradually covered with a lot of of my supplies. As yet another item was laid on top, he slowly sank into oblivion for a while.
The other day as I looked at all his relatives sitting in the corner of the front room, I started to miss him again. It reminded me of the feeling I had when I almost gave him away, when I thought I was too old to have a teddy any more.
I was around ten, almost eleven. I gave him to a younger child. Friends of my parents were visiting, along with their seven-something year old daughter. As soon as my beloved teddy bear was out of my grasp, I was immediately filled with remorse, and realized I just wasn't ready to give him up.
So, I bribed that child with a new bear that had all its fur. I remember telling her, "Look, it has two eyes and two ears." That little girl grabbed the new one and tossed my old and very dear bear back to me. I ran upstairs to my bedroom before she could change her mind, and hid him under the bed for safe keeping. The big black cloud that had hung over my head was lifted and swore I would never give him away - ever - and I haven't.
Well, he's still with me. He is simply named "Teddy" and he is 58, almost 59 years old. Below is a photo of the two of us when I was about six. You can see he had been through the wars even back then. One eye missing and one ear, and I never replaced them even when I could have done because it just wouldn't have been the teddy I knew. The dress he was wearing in the photo, had come from one of my sister's dolls, which was passed down to Teddy when she got another outfit for her doll. It was a bright red corduroy dress with a matching jacket, but when I decided my Teddy was a boy, I removed the offending article and he has gone au natural ever since.
I have had a fun weekend. On Friday I met up with a group of friends, two of whom live in Georgia and Florida and had come up here on business. Absolutely great seeing them. It was a happy coincident that one of our group was going to have a birthday soon, so we celebrated early while our out-of-state friends were still in the area.
We are The Gathering of the Goddesses and before anyone groans at that title, me included, when we were at a previous get-together several years ago, one of us got a poster with a poem on it called "Gathering of the Goddesses", so that's what we've been called ever since.
As you can guess it is all pretty tongue in cheek. I don't think any of us are much under 60, our oldest is a very young 79. And as we finally got up from the table we had been sitting at for a few hours, we all in unison complained about how stiff we felt. Never thought that day would come but there you go.
Here is the poem:
"Gathering of the Goddesses"
You know, “Birds of a feather….”
But the really cool thing is that quite often
they flock together long before they reach
their true lofty status of “Goddess”
giving their friendships
the depth that only time can give.
By the time they become goddesses,
they’d been gathering together for so long,
giving, sharing, loving and caring
that they know intimate details
about each others lives…
making their bond unbreakable.
Whether shopping, going out to lunch,
lounging over pedicure or sitting on the beach,
the gathering of goddesses can’t be missed.
Just listen for the buzz of friendship,
the tears of shared sorrows
and the fits of irrepressible laughter.
You’ll know in a minute,
you’re in the presence of greatness.
I suppose it isn't really a poem in the strict sense of poetry but it speaks to me and fits all of us who have the good fortune of being part of something special.
From there we went to another's house for dinner and watched an opera (Tosca). It was actually filmed in Italy and we all decided that we would love to go there one day. Breathtaking scenery!
I developed my love of opera at an early age. We had a piano at home and Dad was an excellent piano player and had a very good voice. I remember him singing all these wonderful songs and he would teach me the words. It wasn't until years later that I realized this was opera. For my 13th Birthday my parents gave me a record of The Flower Drum Song, what you would call light opera I suppose, while my friends were getting those of the current pop stars. I still have a lot of Dad's old sheet music, another treasure I will never part with.
Saturday I was out of the house and meeting up with them again at one of our local movie theaters, to watch a live performance of Tosca this time, from the New York Met. As tired as I was feeling I managed to stay focused and awake. It was wonderful. At the end of the performance we went to The Olive Garden for dinner. I really don't know what we find to talk about but we never stop. It has been a marathon chat fest and by the time I got home I was exhausted.
Up to today Gregg and I haven't seen much of each other but we have been enjoying a lovely quiet time. Simple tasks can be fun too. We made one trip to Whole Foods for a few groceries. The weather was glorious.
Tomorrow Gregg has the day off and our son is coming over for lunch. I'm not sure if our daughter-in-law is going to be joining him as she is a full-time student and may have classes all day.
We're going out to eat again but I will be looking at the salad section of the menu as it's Monday and a good time to start being good again. This particular Goddess is going to stick to lettuce leaves and Cod Liver Oil for a while as I am jumping back on the horse so to speak. Ah, the joy of it all!
Added note (Monday): we have just returned home having had a lovely time with our son and his wife. I was happy that she was able to join us, knowing the busy schedule she has. It is only 54 degrees F. today. Our house feels so cold. I think we are finally going to be turning the heat on.