There he sits, as he has always sat, his bright little eyes patiently and imperturbably observing the world around him. Unlike Aloysius, he didn’t go to university with me, but apart from that he has always shared my home, and for many years my bed. I don’t remember a time Before Teddy. He is a little bit younger than I am, about a year I think, and all things considered has worn pretty well. He’s good tempered and never grumbles, as he has never had a growl, and doesn’t need a hearing aid or reading glasses. He is still very supple, his joints work well, and he has most of his hair.
I tried to shave his tummy when I was about four. My mother was busy making soft toys at the time, including teddy bears, and she used to shave their muzzles. I thought I was doing the same, only my aim wasn’t too good and sadly teddy bears’ hair does not grow back, so he has had a rather threadbare abdomen most of his life.
He has spent most of the last few years sitting or lying on his back, so like a person sunbathing in one position, there is an uneven distribution of colour. His front, exposed to the light, has faded more than his back, which remains almost as golden as in his youth, though alas not quite as furry as it was.
One ear came loose and he must have worked very hard and been for some long walks when nobody was looking, because his pads were also worn through, so I had him gently repaired a few years ago. This included having his label sewn back onto his right foot, and taking the opportunity to have him valued. The Teddy Bear Museum also issued him with a birth certificate.
He is a wartime Chad Valley bear, of which there are not a lot as the raw materials for making soft toys were in short supply in the early 1940’s, but that doesn’t seem to have raised his value. He is in good company, as Chad Valley supplied teddy bears to the Royal family. I know that he was not easy to come by, and possibly there was a bit of palm-greasing and black market dealings involved in his acquisition. I don’t know how much he actually cost at that time, but to me he is priceless.