New Castle News

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April 27, 2013

Josh Drespling: Please bear with me as I remember my brother’s special friend

NEW CASTLE — As you may have picked up on in my past blogs, I grew up in a home that had only little money to spare.

We made the best of all things and found our way by being resourceful and frugal. One such example of that thriftiness: My mother made my little brother his very own teddy bear.

It was a rather large and very cute panda bear. Simple in form and quaint in design, its soft black and white fur became a constant companion for my brother. He would take it everywhere. Indoors, outdoors, in the car, to the grocery store, to church and Grandma's house, the bear was always there.

This bear could be described as well-loved. Over the years, the fabric that was his fur became worn and thin. You could feel the lumps of stuffing in his arms and legs. His large, oval eyes made of felt were tattered and worn and hung on by only a few determined strands of thread.

I know mom had several surgical sessions with her sewing machine repairing the tattered bear. She patched the wounds in his battle-damaged skin after weeks and years of hard-fought dedication to his human companion.

Now that my little brother has grown into a rough and tough construction contractor with a big heart, he will most likely deny the very existence of the bear in question. I swear that every word is true. He clung to that panda like Linus and his blanket from the Charlie Brown comics. Come to think of it, he had a little blankie, too.

Yes, I realize he is going to kill me for this. Sorry, bro!

Eventually, the bear was no longer with us. As the years progressed, the bear had passed his point of usefulness. I suspect he met his final demise on that fateful day in 1989 when our house caught fire and burned down. The poor panda was surely trapped in a box, stuffed away, and forsaken by a boy who had outgrown him. He was lost in the rubble and remains of what had been our home.

I do have to admit that I was not saddened by the departure of this bear.

Even though our childhood was one of sharing, I hold a bit of resentment and jealousy because nobody cared enough to make me my own teddy bear.

Maybe, just maybe, his coincidental disappearance was no accident.

I will never tell.


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