From time to time, I receive a telephone call reminding me exactly why I am a bear maker. Today was one such day. The 'phone rang just as I was about to give Polly and Betty their breakfast, so I asked them to wait while I picked up the receiver ...
On the end of the line was a lady 'no longer in the first flush of youth' (her words not mine!) asking if I was the person who made teddy bears 'for the Auntie Bears firm'. I smiled to myself as I told her yes, I had made bears in the past under the 'Auntie Bears' label, way back in the mid to late 1990's. It was then she told me about a very special teddy bear she had recently purchased, after much careful deliberation, from a local antique shop. The teddy was large, ivory white and wore a delicate net collar, now yellow with age. She told me she came with a beautifully handwritten tag, bearing the name 'Lilian' ... did I remember when I made her?
Sometimes, when a collector rings with such a question, try as I might, it's not easy to remember their bear after so many years because I have made so many teddies over the past two decades ... but I knew this lady's bear in an instant. 'Yes I remember Lilian,' I told her with a smile, 'I named her after my Grandmother'.
My caller espied Lilian tucked away among the antiques and fell instantly in love. Being a lady of sensible disposition, she left the shop without Lilian in her arms, but the bear wouldn't leave her thoughts. The next day she decided the only answer would be to return to the antiques shop and claim Lilian as her own.
Lilian was a beautiful bear, one of the few I made that even tugged my own heartstrings. I recall being reluctant to sell her and for quite some time, kept her with me, until I had no choice but to find her a new owner. I don't recall who bought her back then, but sometimes a teddy bear's path takes twists and turns and their first owner may need to find them a new home. Lilian was one such bear.
I couldn't be more delighted that the beautiful white bear I made twenty years ago and named in memory of my Gran, found her way to that antique shop, then into the life of the lady who rang me this morning.
Sadly I no longer have a photograph of Lilian teddy to share with you, so I will have to leave that to your imagination and instead share some pretty white Spring blossom.