20/10/2016 Change of cover because Ted has been expressing his most disgusted disapproval of the cover I made. He says it looks like a gremlin crawling out of a coffin. Oh dear! This was it -
So here's another WIP cover... oh, and I added another chapter too, 'Age Shall Not Weary Us' about two extra-special seniors (no... it's not us two this time!) Here's the 'newbie' -
Well, that's the one I created, but can't get the sizing right when I put Ted into his heart shape with shimmery edges. Have to try again another day when I've learned more about photo editing.
She’s not crying ‘cos I’m hogging our chair… truly!
A Few Words from Christine
Ted Bear and I have been best mates since I was two and he was new.
I had only barely been a doll person until I met Ted, but he won my heart on that birthday when we met and has owned the oldest part of it for nearly 7 decades now.
He holds one little girl’s secrets and the tears (both happy and sad), and even after all this time, never, ever told anyone else a single one. What a champion!
Straight after deciding he wanted his story told, he naturally chose me, the person who’s known and loved him best in this whole wide world. It's been yet another joy to share with my best mate, Ted.
(Trumpet fanfare.... drum roll… 21 gun salute)
- a LOT of words from Ted Bear Esq.
Hallo – Ted Speaking (haarr-haarrumph)
Telling Mum what to write is a tough job, but someone had to grin and bear it - that is, tell Mum what to do about anything. It's a challenge I'm up for after all the years we’ve shared. There's a stout heart beating strongly beneath this hairy chest. Plus, I have the added support of small friends at Mum's computer… there's Guide Dog Puppy in a red coat, True Blue the Aussie Koala with his Anzac Day badge pinned to his jacket, another Guide Dog Puppy in a blue coat, and most importantly, the best assistant I've ever known, Charlie the One-eyed Crows supporter (he’s made from a gumnut with a knitted ‘Crows’ cap, and poor fellow truly only owns one eye). Although they're only little chaps, you know the saying about good things in small packages? Well these kids are simply the best.
I'm sure it's already quite clear to you - like a great wine, I am ageing beautifully. There are the odd niggles - a bit of thinning hair here, a suggestion of sagging there… ah well, I try to accept the wear and tear always trooping along with the 'getting of wisdom'… it happens, even to nobility. Mine not to reason why. Mine but to bear, or cry... ( haar-haarumph! That’s enough now!)
These days I find I need glasses more often than not. My vision problem began when I found my arms were too short for comfortable reading. Did they shrink, do you think? Funny - I didn't feel my arms getting smaller. It began to disturb me as it worsened each time Postie Bear brought me important mail from far away friends and I needed to squint and twist my head every which way to read those precious words.
‘Twas quite unbearable for a while, until Mum bought spectacles for me. At first I felt a bit weird. Kind of different, you know? And sort of ashamed and scared. What would others think about Ted Bear Esq. in glasses? Snigger? Whisper behind my back? You know… ever had those feelings? I thought maybe there’d be people who wouldn't like me anymore. It felt gross, and made me SO unhappy. Trust Mum to gather up all the Small Knitty Gritty Kids – and Gran and Grandpa too – to sit together on the lounge and talked it through.
They’ve all been SO kind. I had armfuls of hugs from small people telling me how much they loved me, with or without glasses. I could hardly bear it, and must admit to the odd sniffle. And as if their caring wasn't more than enough, the Small Knitty Gritty Kids went without all manner of things to give me warm and special scarves for the coldest nights.
Sometimes I wear the pure wool scarf we inherited from my Mum's Dad. The one he loved and wore heaps, many long years ago (bit of an honour actually). It's all brown and cream and SO cosy when I'm sitting there – on guard – watching over Mum through the night.
Then, for a change, and if I need a lift of my spirits on dreary Winter days, I wear the gorgeous pinky, purply one – thanks to the overwhelming kindness of the Small Knitty Gritty Kids. Who else would have guessed how mean those chilly nights can be as you sit perfectly still… for hours, and hours? And understood how stiff a neck can get after it doesn't move… for hours, and hours? The Small Knitty Gritty Kids could – bless their small loving hearts. What a family!
If you haven't seen our group snuggle photos before, you probably don't know story-telling is my way to thank them for their kindness. They love it, and are SO quiet and still you could hear a stitch drop. And THAT IS QUIET… I promise you.
I wasn't always old, you know. Once upon a time I was but a cub - it's true! My Mum and I became family when she was two, and I was new. We can't remember anymore what our first words to each other were… but most definitely we fell in love at first sight. I didn't know then that I would be exactly what she wanted. I didn't know she had never really been in love with dolls, and for the rest of her life would prefer cuddly kids (and animals, too).
I still have my chair from brand new. I call it my chair, and these days it truly is – although it actually began life as one of Mum's later birthday presents. Don't quote me, but I think it was her 5th birthday. In those days, we both fitted into our chair in a traditional cuddly kind of fashion. The good news is, as Mum outgrew our chair, I didn't – and like Goldilocks, I found it to be just right. Funny how me and my chair still fit as well as ever we did.
I share my chair most days with two likely lads. Greengrass is the youngest of we three bears by many years; he's a quiet sort of a chap who mostly listens – and learns - many pearls of wisdom from Postie Bear and myself, (Ted Bear Esq.) while we reminisce. Greengrass truly knows 'listening is as important as talking’.
Actually, it's a curious thing with Greengrass. I firmly believe he's an old soul (you know, like he's lived before… in another time and place?) It's maybe hard to understand this, because Mum only made him less than a decade ago. I think she stitched her formidable history (or two? or more?) into Greengrass when she created him. Strange thought… isn't it? And yet it truly seems possible to me‼
And Postie Bear? He is chock-a-block full of postman stories involving much whistle-blowing, and bearing tidings of great joy (and sometimes sorrow) – and dog stories – never-ending dog stories. Like ALL postmen, he has a million of them.
His feet are extremely thankful his postman days are done. You will often hear him say – "Those modern posties don't know they're alive… zipping and zapping every which way on their motorbikes. And all the protective clothing for bad weather days! Hurr-hum-hh… Now back in my day…". He can go on for hours about this subject.
And then there's THE Letter... the one Postie Bear insists he didn't write - but look at the signature! Need I say more?
Dear Mrs. Brown
We would like to thank you for using our service.
We received your letter that was posted today and we are very happy that you think Australia post staff are that intelligent that you do not need to address it.
Sadly I have to inform you that none of the hapless post office employees are gifted with such astute mental powers nor do the slackers have any telepathic powers that would allow them to read your mind so I am sorry to say that you will have to please address your letters in the future.
PS: a bloody stamp would not hurt your cause either.
They’re the good memories. And the bad and the ugly? I think we won't go there or dwell on things like that – not here, not now. It's one of the things we old fellows share amongst ourselves sometimes, late at night – the way good old friends tend to do. You see, the three of us choose to live our lives by the old saying – It's OK to let your stuffing show… now and then. We prefer to do this in private, baring our chests only amongst ourselves, you know?
Now and then, at most special times, visitors stay for a small holiday. We love that. We always say "ALL VISITORS WELCOME – ESPECIALLY OUR 'SPECIAL' FRIENDS".
Jemima is a favourite. She's a little lady in a faded pink baby jump-suit. Jemima belongs to my Mum's grand-daughter, Cirena. They were both born in 2000. Jemima is a most special old friend, despite her young age. She’s been coming on holidays for most of her life, and for lots and lots of overnight stays. I don't see her through the night time, because Cirena always loved to take her to bed to snuggle with, all through her darkest hours. Jemima and I had the same job – to make sure no bad dreams drifted in to our two Mums' sleeping minds.
I love the way Jemima hugs me… bless her little heart. Maybe she wrote the saying - Hugs are even better than chocolates. It's always good to be together again, and we have SO much to talk about. You can't imagine how many things happen in our lives in between visits. We have many different friends, Jemima and I… mainly because our homes have often been far apart.
And the other special friend who visited Greengrass, Postie Bear and me a few times, is a young fellow called Billow. He's a seal and he comes from Queensland. Oh, don't worry… he didn't have to swim all the way to South Australia. No, no, no… he came by plane! Huh? I know… I could hardly believe it at first, either. But the answer is simple. The first time he came to visit, he came with Cirena, and I believe she had Billow tucked safely under one arm and Jemima under the other, never letting them go for anyone. She had no doubts about the saying - Everyone needs someone to hold onto – and no way would she be visiting the Lost Children desk at the airport.