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July 2012                                         by Terry & Doris Michaud
 
BEARS REPEATING chapter summary

What would a teddy bear collection be without a Winnie The Pooh?

Our connection with this lovable bear goes back to 1968 when our daughter Kim (age 4) lost her commercially made Pooh bear when an aggressive playmate walked off with it.

Doris managed to dry the tears by promising her a new one.

Doris was into sewing by this time, and she came up with a McCall's pattern for Pooh, rounded up a terry-cloth towel and set to work. For stuffing the bear, a pile of slightly worn nylon stockings were utilized. And a pair of black shoe-buttons served for eyes.

Our Pooh was dressed with a child's robe and brought an instant smile to a 4 year old.

With an 8 year old son close at hand, Doris expanded the project to include an Eeyore crafted from a gray wool skirt. Both Pooh and Eeyore have survived the past 44 years in the custody of their respective owners.


A Pooh created in 1968 by Doris for our then 4 year old daughter, and an Eeyore for our 8 year old son. Also shown is the rare Schuco Bigo Bello Pooh, and a Pooh game.


Ltd. Ed. Pooh for Disney convention.

In 1992 Walt Disney World licensed the Michauds to design and produce a  Limited Edition Winnie the Pooh for the Teddy Bear and Doll Convention.  An edition of 100 bears were made, and all were sold out before the convention opened.

This love affair with the character created by British author A.A. Milne was to stay with us, and when we "caught the bug" for collecting teddy bears some four years later, we were always happy to add a Pooh or two to the growing bear family.

When we began our series of visits to Great Britain, we not only kept a sharp eye out for Winnie, but actually had the pleasure of visiting his home village in Hartfield, East Sussex on several occasions.

I would have to say without fear of contradiction that the very best find of a Pooh bear was at the late Pam Hebb's teddy bear and doll shop in Camden Passage, London.

Pam could always be counted on to have a selection of vintage teddies for us to choose from, and sitting on a shelf in her shop was a Winnie the Pooh by the famous German firm of Schuco. They did a series of animals called their Bigo-Bello group, and this prime example was complete with his original hang tag.

He did not have the moveable cotter pin joints that were common at the time, but had what was advertised as "flex joints", which meant that a stiff wire ran from the body to his limbs, allowing you to pose the bear by simply bending the arm or leg.

While the Schuco teddy had a hefty price tag of 30 Pounds sterling (in the range of $50.00) there was no question that he was going to make the return trip with us.

While it was a financial burden at the time, it is safe to say that it was an astute investment, as his current value has escalated many times over. Disney offered this delightful Pooh to customers at Disneyland in the mid 1970s with the first showing of their Winnie-the-Pooh movie.


This Disney licensed Pooh by the German firm of Schuco, is highly prized and considered rare.


Our book "Bears Repeating" was first printed in 1985, and another adventure involving our Schuco Pooh bear took place several years later.

In 1988 we were privileged to be invited as guests to the first Walt Disney World Teddy Bear and Doll Convention in Florida. This became a highlight of the year for us and continued for the next 14 years.

We created a Limited Edition teddy bear each year, and after making the folks at Disney aware of our Schuco Pooh, we were licensed to do a Limited Edition recreation of Pooh for the 1992 convention. We designed and created an edition of 100 pieces, and all were pre-sold before the convention ever opened!

In subsequent years we were granted a license to create other designs of Pooh and other Disney characters, but Pooh remains at the top of our list of favorites to this day.

In a bit of irony, we made another visit to Pooh's home village of Hartfield with our annual British Teddy Tour in 2010, and Doris stepped in a hole at the shop entrance where a brick was missing and fell and broke her right arm. It was the second day of the tour, and after a visit to "the casualty ward" at a hospital, she was put in an arm sling that held her arm tight to her body and sent on her way!

As tour directors, we had no choice but to carry on, so she spent the rest of the tour moving about slowly with frequent doses of Tylenol. After returning home and going to a bone specialist, it was decided to decline surgery and opt for natural healing. I am happy to say that it took some time, but she has regained a minimum of 80% use of that arm. As our friend Pooh would say, " Oh, bother."

 

Terry & Doris Michaud

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