“The toy you most treasured”
I feel like the first thing I have to do is clarify that the past tense of the prompt doesn’t really apply to me as this ‘toy’—that seems so generic a term—is one I still have. In fact, he’s sitting on my pillow as I write this.
When I was five months old, on my very first Christmas, my great grandmother gave me a teddy bear. It was about half my size, cream-coloured, fluffy, with glass eyes and a leather-clad nose. I’ll have to admit he doesn’t look like that anymore. 27 years of being carried here and there, thrown into suitcases so that he could come with me to school and university every term, and a dog attack or two can have an effect on one’s complexion.
Most of my first memories include my bear. When I was very young, I’d go everywhere with my little finger looped into the tag on his back—he was my version of a security blanket. Of course, the tag eventually broke, but that didn’t really stop me from taking him places.
We’ve had a few near disasters, my bear and I. He once got left on a train in the UK, and my mom—amazing that she is—waited until the train came back to the station to conduct a search and rescue mission. And he was there!
I’m sure you’re wondering why I keep referring to him as ‘he’ or ‘my bear’, and not by his name. But he never really got a name. To me, he’s always been ‘bear’.