‘A bear is for life, not just for lockdown’
So we are a week into a new lockdown in England, this time round we are perhaps not as bewildered as before; we are lifted by hope for a vaccine and if nothing else we know how important positivity is for us all. So with a little fancy footwork, we have outreach workers making bears from home and the ‘family bubble’ in the bear workshop: stuffing, stitching and finishing bears to be sent far and wide.
Having put our ‘bears in a row’ (we don’t make ducks … yet), we thought we would reach out to our followers, friends and members of the Canterbury Bear family (our mailing list) with a teatime message, when time allows. The aim is simply to connect, share a little bear news, have a cuppa and a biscuit … to shine a light when it may feel a little dark (it really is dark around teatime here in the Kentish Countryside afterall).
We shared an instagram post this week with the caption ‘childhood just wouldn’t be the same without a teddy bear or two’ and one of our followers commented ‘neither would adulthood’ … its an interesting thought don’t you think … what makes a teddy bear so special?
There is an impressive body of scientific work focussed upon what researchers rather coolly refer to as ‘transitional objects’, exploring why the human-bear bond is such an important part of how children grow emotionally. Simple, open-faced, soft, portable and above all reliably comforting… they often give the young that little extra strength to navigate what might otherwise be daunting. And those of us who love a bear know that there is nothing ‘transitional’ about them.
We receive so many pictures and letters from adults sharing news of Canterbury Bears who are still companions to them, those images are being shared on social media with our hashtag #bearsathome along with our new friends who have a bear for life. We’ll be sharing some of those stories in our teatime missives too.
During the first lockdown, to keep us afloat in so very many ways, we created the ‘Thank You Bear’ with all profits donated to NHS Charities Together. Were those bears bought exclusively for children? … not at all! They were of course sent to new babies, to missed-grandchildren and to be opened on lockdown birthdays; but they also went to staff in hospitals, to the elderly (longed-for grandparents and those who were simply lonely), to teens and adults without children in their lives, and those who just wanted a symbol to put in their window as an expression of support.
We believe that everyone who received a Thank You Bear was compelled to do one thing … give it a hug! So one week into lockdown 2.0 we are sending you a bear-hug and looking forward to the next teatime that we share.
PAWS FOR THOUGHT
Let’s start with the most basic of Teddy Bear facts, a story undoubtedly known to all arctophiles (bear collectors) but we would be remiss if we didn’t start our ‘Paws for Thought’ with this one. In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt purportedly refused to shoot a bear that had been tied up for him, newspapers carried cartoons of “Teddy” and “The Bear”. Which inspired a gentleman named Morris Michtom to create a stuffed plush “Teddy Bear” for his shop window display. Of course, soft bears were being created elsewhere at the time (not least of which in Europe), but without the story we wouldn’t be calling them ‘teddies’.
NEXT TEATIME …
We’ll share Presidential tales of Canterbury Bears in the White House, in times a little less turbulent than today but not quite as far back as Teddy Roosevelt!