Tuesday, 5 January 2010

A Most Difficult Goodbye

Day Thirty Three.

When my parents were getting ready to move from their Pembrokeshire farm to the smallholding, Phil and I helped them to get everything out of their attic. We helped them to go through the boxes - some of them had not been unpacked for over twenty years! - and sorted the items into four big piles: to keep, to sell on eBay, to take to the charity shop, and: to bin. Amongst the glassware, old suitcases, framed prints and wedding photos there was a big, bulging, green bin bag full of teddies. You may well laugh, but seeing their little faces after so long filled me with dread - because I knew it would be wrong to hang on to them, but getting rid of them would leave me feeling guilty forever! Why? What could possibly make a thirty-two year old stall when it came to throwing away the things of childhood?

OK, I'll tell you why. My brother and I never had the view that teddies were just cuddly, fluffy things which were a comfort before you went to sleep. No. We made an entire Teddies World. We had a Newsagents (a specially altered cardboard box) which sold the newspapers we wrote in tiny handwriting, a Video Store (a two storied cardboard box, as I recall, with accommodation above the shop) which rented out the many "videos" we created (like cartoons) in frames on strips of paper, which were pulled through a "video-player" (a small cardboard screen which showed one frame at a time... There was a School, and everyone had their own handmade exercise books, a Bank (Big Ted was the manager - funny that!) with "real" coins and notes. Some of the naughty teddies smoked, and I remember going through the process by adding red felt tip to the end (when it was being "lit"), then cutting about millimetre off at a time as the "cigarette" was smoked down to the filter. Each time you cut a bit off, you had to add the red pen again, to show it was still burning.

We played out many, many scenarios with the teddies; homelessness, scandals at school, running a successful businesses, struggling with debt, dealing with crooked politicians, amongst many others. So you see, the teddies really were a big part of my childhood, they were our closest friends, and throwing them away would be the greatest betrayal...

Despite this, I thought I'd better bite the bullet and at least take them out of the bag to have a look at who was in there, and to see what condition they were in. I lined them up, and found myself greeting each of them by name. They looked... well-loved. Some had ears or arms missing, others had holes with the stuffing poking out. Some actually looked OK. I decided I would have to be quick. Choosing the least characterful first, I started putting them gently back into the bag, and that's how I was left with the ten threadbare favourites, the ones who were the main characters in all of the teddy episodes, if you like.

Here are a few of them, posing for their picture in the sun:

The others will go to the nice people at the Dog Shop, I'll let them decide what to do with them.


  1. You're very brave, I still have a bag full of mine in the loft, which I would hope to clean up and pass on to Jacob when he's a bit older.

    When my sister helped my mum pack up her dolls into boxes in the loft, she made my mum leave a gap in the lid of the box so that they could breathe ;)

  2. I'm so glad you're keeping some of them at least! I'm going on 38 and still have some of my childhood teds, they will go to Jake of course. I love the sound of your teddy world! Brilliant. Much more imaginative than sitting in front of the tv with an x-box like so many kids do nowadays...

  3. That is the cutest blog post I have ever read.<3 xx