IN MEMORY OF TOMMY
When we are on a bear hunting trip, we set a destination goal, typically a show or antique market, but we have learned over the years that taking the less traveled back roads can sometimes lead to an antique shop or second hand store that is not as picked over, due to their somewhat remote location.
It was on just such a secondary road in southern Michigan, a number of years ago, that we discovered a teddy bear with a poignant past.
We were returning from a trip to the popular St. Charles Illinois toy show, and review of our road map showed a two lane route that wound its way through a number of small farming communities.
It was a pleasant, sunny day and a change of scenery was always welcome.
We had traveled some distance and passed through a number of small towns, and we were starting to question our decision to take this route when we spotted a rather weather-beaten sign in a village that stated our favorite word; "Antiques."
We pulled to the curb and were pleased to see an open sign.
The shop offered the usual array of used furniture and bric-a-brac of questionable age.
In the center of the shop was a large table heavily laden with glassware, and half sliding into the jumble of plates was an 18 inch teddy whose grey and dusty appearance spoke of many years tucked away in someone's attic.
Some kindly mother had outfitted this bear in a red cotton shirt and blue overalls. Needless to say, he made the trip home with us.
After laundering his clothes, Doris glided an iron over his pants, and a lump in the pocket revealed teddy's very own monogrammed handkerchief.
While we nearly always attempt to get background information on teddy bear purchases, we had neglected to check his background at the shop, but a visit to an antiques market in the area several months later led us to a booth operated by the shop owner where teddy was purchased.
On inquiring about the purchase, the shop owner informed us that the teddy actually belonged to a friend who frequently gave them a helping hand, and as luck would have it, the friend had accompanied them to the show!