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From Sondra... (Thanks for sharing <3)
When I was about 5 years old my family moved from an apartment to a new house in Glendale California. Family was my Grandma and Grandpa. My neighborhood pals got together and gave me an old, grungy, teddy bear as a going away present. I loved that bear. Because he wasn't dressed, somewhere along the line I put yarn "buttons down his front. My grandmother thought this was a terrible bear so she bought me a brand new white bear most likely a Knickerbocker. He was pretty but was no match for "old teddy". So, the new bear, he was never named, sat on a shelf and "old teddy" remained my true friend. Fast forward. Fast forward about 17-18 years. My grandfather had passed on, my Grandmother and I had moved in with my aunt until my wedding which was a year away. "Old Teddy" came along. Dave and I were married and when we returned, and we went to visit my Grandmother, one of the first things I asked was "Where is "Old Teddy". Oh, she replied, I threw him out, the dog got him, chewed hem up and I threw him out. "Old Teddy" should have accompanied us on our honeymoon! He would still be around after 54 years. Oh yes, the white bear is still with us. Except for years and years of dust, it is still as new as the day it came to live with me.
We opened the shop in 1998. Needless to say there weren't any other bear stores in Tucson at the time. Got our sign up, painted the space, started putting up shelves... first bears were Mary Meyer, followed by Gund, then Boyd's, then Steiff, then Artist.... and on... (I was deep in the teddy bear "learning curve" back in those days.) But I was also still working my nursing job. The bear store was really my second job... and I had my high-school-age kids staffing it while I was at work.
So, yup, I'm getting to the story now:
Man walks in. Looks around for a split second. Loudly inquires: "Why Teddy Bears?"
Well, I hadn't been doing this gig for long and didn't realize I was gonna need a stock answer for that one.
The only thing I was able to stammer out, off the top of my head was,"Well, um, I'm a NURSE and, you know... teddy bears are an extension of NURSING!"
Ya, I might have said it a little bit defensively... I don't know... but he looked at me like I had a few screws loose, not just a little bit taken aback. But then he just started chuckling. Turned around and left. Never saw him again.
But, this has been my stock answer ever since. It's as true now as it was then.
And, oh, I have proof! Fifteen years of experience dealing in comfort, love, understanding, acceptance, healing... teddy bears.
And those chuckling customers? I now tell them, "that's OK, you just don't get it, not everybody does."