Once upon a time, in a state far to the midwest (from California that is), near a large body of water, at a time almost too long ago to mention, just after my birth…..I took a buggy ride with my mother pushing all the way! Phew that took the wind out of me. I was very small, but old enough to go for walks, and eventually…go shopping with my mother.
Mother, & myself in my English Carriage
Before I was born, my parents bought me a very large, Black English Perambulator… because that’s what they did in those days. It was probably large enough for Mother to climb into, and take a nap with me should the occasion arise – to my knowledge, that never happened!
We started out walking around the neighborhood on the very mildest, and most beautiful days of July… Since I was born the 23 of May, I’m sure we never left the house for at least six weeks after my birth. Who knows…maybe longer!
Things were different in those days, everything was different. Hospital stays after giving birth were ridiculously long, something like two weeks. If I had to stay in the hospital for two weeks after having my children, I would have chewed my arm off out of boredom! But… I’m guessing that didn’t happen in those days. On the other hand, sometime after being sleep deprived for several months, it would have been really nice to spend two weeks in the hospital being pampered! I’m told…you can’t have it all!
I’ll bet you’re wondering if the Perambulator was my treasured friend?
Maybe at the time…but NO! When we would take a walk, people would want to look in and see the baby (that would be me). My poor mother would cringe at the thought of anyone touching, or breathing on her prized possession (again, that would be me)! It was quite a conundrum because, Mother really wanted to show me off to all her friends, and even the people who would soon be her friends because, I was so cute, and they would tell her so! Finally, Mother quickly realized that netting placed gingerly over the entire carriage would solve this problem, and then, and only then would she be able to show me off without having to constantly tell them not to touch the baby (me). After many walks around the block, with Mother prancing all the way, we finally made our way to downtown Detroit. Maybe I forgot to mention being born at the Mount Carmel Hospital in Detroit Michigan. This was in the early forties, and since then the hospital has been torn down with the newest of hospitals, probably state of the art, being built-in it’s place.
Mount Carmel Hospital
On this particularly perfect day in September, Mother and I packed up all our gear, and proceeded to walk into downtown Detroit to a large department store by the name of JL Hudson’s. Now, this store was the place to go if you were anyone, and we were anyone! I’m sure Mother packed diapers, bottles, rattles, blankets, and anything, and everything …just in case. Just in case, because you never know…. As we wound our way around the wooded streets of Royal Oaks, in the suburbs I could smell the fresh air, and hear the rustling of the trees. After a while, the noise was getting louder, and louder…apparently from all the traffic when we reached the city.
I snoozed off and on while Mother huffed and puffed her way along the busy city streets. Finally we reached Hudson’s, and I must say it was BIG! Never in my entire life had I seen anything so big as this store, except maybe Mount Carmel Hospital, and I really didn’t see very well at the time!
Mother managed to get the carriage into the front door of the store, but negotiating the perfume counter with a large English Carriage was a challenge for even the most determined of mothers. We did it, and got there in one piece too! As we rolled through the store, nothing was broken, we only had a few bumps along the way, but Mom did great, I was so proud of her for her determination, and energy, because I was exhausted just thinking about it!
Since I didn’t have any idea why we went to this particular store, on this particular day in September, with the exception of, it being the place to go, I was excited to find out the purpose of our adventure. This is something I have reflected on over the many years of my life… what is the purpose of my adventure in life?
Quickly Mother managed to get my Buggy up to the floor where all the toys were on display, and before long we were deep in thought about …toys, stuffed to be exact! Mother stopped at one table after the other, each having lots of stuffed animal toys sitting just there for me to look at. As Mother was searching each, table, and every stuffed toy, or maybe I should say animal, a huge crowd of ladies engulfed my buggy, and the ooh’s and awes began. “What a beautiful baby, how old is she?” one woman asked? “What did you name her?” asked another? “How long were you in labor?” yet another asked. The questions kept coming, and Mother answered with great pride.
But on the other end of things…
It won’t surprise you when I say…..the faces were terrifying, BIG noses, BIG eyes, LOUD voices, and the smell of stagnant perfume just about gagged me! They kept looking at me from all angles, like I was a strange bug or something. I began to cry….louder,and…Louder, and…LOUDER! Finally Mother had to excuse us, and we took a little ride around the store, just to get away. Boy was I happy to get away from all those Looky Loos!
When things had calmed down, we took another pass at the stuffed toy tables, and with each of these furry creatures Mother would show me, I simply couldn’t see the fascination. Some of them were stiff, and unfriendly, some were dark and foreboding. Finally out of clear, and total exasperation I was shown one last stuffed animal, and do you know what? My little legs and arms started bouncing around, and I started talking to this lanky ball of fur. Mother was so happy, I could see it on her tired, worn-out face. At that point, before I knew what was happening, the carriage started moving, and off we went – to a place I’d never seen before – soon I found myself sharing my carriage with a creature covered in brown and white fur, little black BB eyes, a tiny little brown nose and tail, long legs and arms. Mother told me this was my new friend, and I have to say I was really excited to have him with me. Now I wouldn’t have to be alone all night in that big room. Oh it looked nice, it was pink and frilly, but it was big and lonely being in there all night by myself.
After much thought, I named him Teddy!
Teddy quickly became by best friend, he stayed with me all the time. Mother even allowed me to take him to the doctors when I had to go. Teddy had floppy ears, and he would sing to me at night after everyone would go to bed. No matter what happened, Teddy was there for me.
One day something terrible happened! This was after he helped me learn to eat vegetables, and walk. Something even more horrible than eating peas, and green beans, something worse than anything I could have ever imagined!
I had competition!!!
Yep you guessed it – That Friggin’ stork dropped a bundle of “Pain in the ass” down the chimney! Well, let me tell you…my world changed forever, and not for the better either! Teddy was there through it all. He wiped my tears, he talked me out of dripping oatmeal all over the PIA’s head. I’m telling you Teddy probably saved my life…more than once!
That kid didn’t stop yapping for years! All through growing up….yap – yap – yap! Even my parents would complain about how this kid would never stop yapping! But what are you going to, they couldn’t send it back!
Well in the middle of all that yapping…it happened again, and once more after that!
Crap will this ever stop? You guessed it again…another yapper! Two more to be exact, one shortly after the other. It exhausts me even telling this story, but somebody has to tell it.
What happened next?
In the middle of all that yapping, I had to something to keep myself busy, and distracted from the gaggle of yappers. Lining up all my dolls, and stuffed animals, I would hold school. Each of them would contribute to my class but the one who contributed the most was Teddy. He must have known my need for teaching, or maybe the need for standing on a soapbox would be more accurate! Teddy sat there like an “A” number one student, and was every teachers dream.
Later in life, Teddy was with me through my Sweet “16” Birthday Party, through all the dances, my heart breaks, and my triumphs. Never did he turn his back on me, and he never offered advise, unless I asked him for it. When I married he sat in the middle of our bed…this in my eyes was an act of bravery, and protection! He was there through divorces, marriages, and remains with me.
Teddy has been with me all these years, remaining loyal, and trustworthy!
He is my best friend, my oldest friend, and my Treasured Friend!