“Fancy all that fuss for a toy!”

For a long time Honey Bun lived in dark space in the attic, and no one, least of all Honey Bun’s owner, thought very much about him, for all that she had supposedly loved Honey Bun for 59 years.

One evening, when the Woman was going to bed, her head full of  worrisome questions about wills and property ( her father’s and her own),  and what to do next,  she suddenly had a dreadful thought which made her sit bolt upright and demand of herself, ” What will happen to Honey Bun when I am gone?” This was followed by an even more dreadful thought, “But where is Honey Bun? Where have I kept my sweet  little rabbit?  ”

The next morning, a foray into the deepest recesses of the attic, revealed Honey Bun  tucked away safely in a box with other family toys. The  Woman sighed with relief and clutched Honey Bun tightly to her heart.  “Honey Bun, how I have missed you,” she whispered into his long, soft ears.  Honey Bun, with eyes as brown and kind as ever, looked at the Woman and said not a word. There was no need.

The Woman took Honey Bun downstairs to her bedroom, determined to devise a succession plan for her dear rabbit, now slightly shabby, with tail becoming unsewn, but still with the sweetest, pink-embroidered  nose, and still with arms outstretched,  as if forever poised for a hug.

Whilst the Woman paced the room and wondered  to whom she could entrust her special friend, Honey Bun stared at her, fixedly and gently, and remembered how the Woman was when they had first met, all honey-coloured curls, blue eyes, and soft pink skin. The Woman was older now, shabbier and flabbier, wrinkle-skinned, and grey haired but, in the silence of the attic, Honey Bun had recognized instantly the Woman’s footfall and her whispers. Her essence was as integral to Honey Bun’s being as his own stuffing. Then, as Honey Bun continued to stare,  the Woman suddenly stopped pacing. She turned and returned his stare. A small, rueful smile played upon the corners of her mouth, and inside herself she said,” Fancy all this fuss and worry over a toy.”  No sooner had the words  crossed her mind, than she sensed a  shimmer of gentle reproach alighting on her soul. Though feather-light at first, the reproach grew heavier as each hour passed.

By evening the Woman was weary and no closer to finding a new home for Honey Bun than she had been earlier in the day.  Weighted down by feelings of unease she went to her bed, where Honey Bun lay patiently  waiting the outcome of the Woman’s wonderings.  In steadfast faithfulness, Honey Bun had remained exactly where the Woman had left him.  He had not moved an inch, just as he had not moved an inch all those years of waiting in the attic.

The Woman smiled at the sight of her long-loved bunny and placed her head next to Honey Bun’s on the pillow. She gazed into Honey Bun’s large, shiny eyes and saw her reflection gazing back at her with intense devotion. Her uneasiness lifted. What had she been thinking? Honey Bun was no toy.  Honey Bun was a presence as real as all her years.  There was no need to part, to find him a new home.  Not yet. They had years ahead of them to share . The Woman carefully tucked Honey Bun under her chin and drifted softly into sleep. Honey Bun was almost too happy to sleep, and so much love stirred in his little, soft  heart that it almost burst. But, eventually, Honey Bun, too, fell asleep,  pink nose twitching, almost imperceptibly, in the sweetness of his dreams.

Sharing the love: Honey Bun (59yrs) and Stella the Schnauzer ( ‘hardly me’)

“It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

 

With sincere apologies to The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams! (Can you recognize any words I have transposed from The Velveteen Rabbit?) This post was inspired  by The Velveteen Rabbit and by my mother’s love for a newly acquired teddy bear.

Beloved Betty

The teddy bear is about the size of a new-born baby. The teddy bear is named Betty and  has a name tag to prove it.  Betty wears a dress.  But my mother habitually refers to Betty as ‘he’ and occasionally will look at Betty and remark, with surprise,”Oh, he’s wearing a dress.”   Which makes me think that when it comes to love and soft toys, its love, not gender, which prevails.  Although I have referred to Honey Bun as a male, in order to be avoid being  annoying (linguistically) , Honey Bun has never been exclusively male.

197 thoughts on ““Fancy all that fuss for a toy!”

  1. Michael Scandling

    I have recently discovered you through Steve Gingold’s site. What a joy! Something like 40 years ago I bought a lot. Rabbit and puppet for the woman who was about to become my wife. We named him Bun Rab. Recently my wife looked at him on our dresser and said that he was beginning to turn into a simply material object: we had not been investing life in him. We have started investing life in him, and he is alive again. You can perceive the smile.

    Reply
  2. inmycorner

    Oh – I loved this story! And I felt the love you had (have) for Honey Bun too! I wish I had kept some of my childhood toys – which I had so loved – what a beautiful memory and comfort to all of us! Thank you.

    Reply
  3. Sarah Russell

    I love your tale of Honey Bun and its likening to The Velveteen Rabbit. The minister who married us quoted from that story at our wedding. So many anecdotes come to mind to share after your post. I’ll share one about another Honey Bun. A neighbor’s daughter was going away to college, and decided she was too grown up for her Honey Bun, a homemade bear who had “Honey” embroidered on his chest. Being an avid bear lover (especially well-loved, elderly bears) I bought Honey for a quarter and brought him home to live with me. About 10 years later, I got a Christmas card from the neighbors who had moved away. Their daughter had just had a baby, and they were thrilled with their first grandchild. I wrote to them and asked for her address. I sewed up Honey’s ear and patched his foot and sent him to her. She wrote back that she had been crying all day and hugging him. She said she didn’t know who had bought him, and that she was so glad it was me, and she knew her baby would love him as she had, but that she’d never make the mistake of abandoning him again.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Oh my goodness, that is a really special story. I am teary-eyed over the joy of the young mother being reunited with her Honey Bun. I am going to celebrate the love, goodness, and good fortune in your story by giving my Honey Bun an extra special hug tonight.

      Reply
  4. J.D. Riso

    This is adorable. The sweet love we keep for our childhood friends. No, you don’t have to worry about a home for her just yet. I’m so happy that you still have her. 💗

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, Maria. I probably should take some photos of other childhood toys. Oh dear, there are always so many things I ‘should’ be doing. 🙂

      Reply
      1. melissabluefineart

        Well, some I simply can’t sell but after so many years of painting, I don’t actually feel that way anymore. They are more an expression of the love I feel for the natural world and the people who tend it, and selling them to someone who appreciates them fills me with satisfaction.

        Reply
  5. valeriedavies

    Yes, I recognised the echoes of The Velveteen Rabbit…I read that famous paragraph with the quote at the end of a speech at Auckland University, and seeing Keith Sinclair walk to the edge of the room with tears flowing down his cheeks… I still give it to children and grand children….

    Reply
  6. Ayesha

    So beautifully penned. And a cute story.. And felt like this was about me. Toys are still dear to me no matter how old I am. It kinds of fills some void and which cannot be expressed..

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Our toys certainly do wriggle into our hearts. I wonder, if when I was first given Honey Bun, someone had told me that I would still be hugging him decades later, I would have said, “Of course”. Children see some things so clearly, and perhaps have a greater concept of time than we give them credit for.

      Reply
  7. Clare Pooley

    I am so glad you rescued Honey Bun from the attic! Not only did I recognise bits of The Velveteen Rabbit but it also reminded me of another story that was very popular in our house called Old Bear by Jane Hissey https://www.janehissey.co.uk/19/Old-Bear. Old Bear is rescued from the attic by the other toys in the playroom. I still have my Teddy Edward who, like me is approaching his 60th birthday. He sits in state on the shelf in my wardrobe.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Sadly, we didn’t have Old Bear in our house but he looks a very amiable chap. I had to laugh about Old Bear’s friend, the grumpy duck. My daughter told me that her toy duck always had to play the role of the grumpy character. She’s has no idea why. It was decided, and from then on it became an unwritten rule of play time. And I am very impressed you have a Teddy Edward. Is this the Teddy Edward from the series written by Patrick and Mollie Matthews? My sister still has 2 of their books, I think. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituaries-patrick-matthews-1357515.html

      Reply
      1. Clare Pooley

        I like that your daughter had a grumpy duck! I think my parents named my bear for me as I had him either for my first Christmas or my first birthday. I don’t know if they named him after the Matthew’s bear (he doesn’t look like their bear as mine is white with blue eyes) but I remember my father coming home from work with a Teddy Edward book (T E at the Seaside) as a present for me when I was about three years old. I was entranced by it (I think it was one of the first books I was given) and I still have it, though it is looking quite disreputable now.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Ah, I am delighted to hear that you do have a T E at the Seaside Book, even if your TE is probably not related to the book T E. Isn’t it interesting that Teddy is associated with both Edward and Theodore?

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      How lovely to still have your Raggedy Ann. 🙂 Does her music box still work? I have a vague recollection that Honey Bun had a squeaker when I first got him. But my memory serves me ill on that point, and, if he did, it certainly doesn’t work now.

      Reply
        1. Brenda Davis Harsham

          I just looked for her to play the music box, which I haven’t done in years. I don’t remember what tune it plays. It must be in the attic, though. Could take a while to find it.

        2. Gallivanta Post author

          Excellent idea. Clare, another commenter, mentioned her love of Old Bear stories. “The animals at the playroom have remembered that Old Bear disappeared long ago. He has been put into the loft. They rescue him and bring him back down to the playroom. He becomes the most respected toy and guides the others in their many adventures.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Bear_and_Friends Your daughter will be too old for Old Bear stories but I can imagine her on a similar quest!

  8. Lisa Dorenfest

    OMG I love this story. Made me cry. I have never read the Velveteen Rabbit so I’ve no idea what parts you’ve lifted, but this story hit home. I’m not going to go into details here at the moment, but may be back with a story if I am lucky enough to be reunited with my Honey Bun like friend. Like your mother’s Mr Betty Bear ;-). Always enjoy your posts. They always speak to my heart. Hugs from Nosy Komba

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Oh, I do hope you are reunited with your Honey Bun-like friend. I will look forward to hearing about it, one day. In the meantime I am loving your photos and stories of your sailing adventures.

      Reply
  9. Sindhuja Manohar

    This post gave me the warm fuzzies! I loved The Velveteen Rabbit too.

    This is also my first time to your blog, and I’ve really enjoyed looking around. There is so much heart in all your posts. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, Sindhuja. It’s lovely to welcome you here. The Velveteen Rabbit is an old favourite, for sure. Is it one you have read to your boys? I am not sure how popular a book it is anymore. When my daughter was 5, and we lived in New Delhi, she was in love with the Panchatantra stories. That was a long time ago. She loved the Velveteen Rabbit, too.

      Reply
      1. Sindhuja Manohar

        Yes, I have read it to my boys. I like reviving old tales and my own old-school personal favourites to read to my boys, just to give them a taste of some of the classics in between all the modern stories! I don’t know if anyone reads The Velveteen Rabbit to their children anymore, to be honest.

        Oh, how nice that you used to live in India! Panchatantra stories are the Indian classics. 🙂 Are there any particular NZ classics I could read to my boys? (We currently live in NZ!)

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Hmm….. I am not sure. Unfortunately, when I was growing up we only read British, American, and Australian stories. Depending on the age of your boys, I would suggest anything by Joy Cowley, Margaret Mahy, and Lynley Dodd, but you probably know all those. The Little Yellow Digger by the Gilderdales is a classic. For older children, I personally love books by Jack Lazenby. http://www.bookcouncil.org.nz/writer/lasenby-jack/ And I am told that Elsie Locke’s The Runaway Settlers is a great classic. Your boys have such a rich treasure trove of cultures from which to choose their stories. 🙂

  10. Born To Organize

    Your story resonates with all your readers. I love the photo of your mom holding Betty. None of my plushie animals made it with us from Canada, and the ones I acquired later (after 8 or 9) are long gone. I don’t remember a particularl attachment to any of them though. Perhaps I’ve missed out. My older son had a Winnie the Pooh for a while, but he didn’t attach to it for very long.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Your comment made me wonder why some have attachment to soft toys and some don’t. I don’t think anyone really knows the answer but I was fascinated by this research (mostly done in New Zealand) which suggests that there is a relationship between sucking habits (eg thumb sucking) and attachment to soft toys. https://www.jaacap.org/article/S0002-7138(09)60562-8/pdf I was certainly a thumb sucker! I don’t know that you have missed out on soft toy attachment; no doubt you channelled your compassion and love in other directions. 🙂

      Reply
  11. shoreacres

    Your wonderful tale had the feel of The Velveteen Rabbit from the very beginning. I can’t remember when I first read it, but I was unbelievably touched, and even thinking about it now brings a little pang of emotion.

    Your photo of your mother with her teddy bear brought memories of my own mother. She was given a truly big bear as a gift on her 85th birthday, and that bear was her pride and joy. It was big enough take up an entire chair — or a seat in the car, which meant it had to be left behind when we evacuated for hurricanes. That occasioned some discussion, believe me.

    I still have my Raggedy Anne doll, which my mother made for me when I was about two or three. She’s on her second dress, her pantaloons are a little loose, and she lost her apron somewhere along the way, but otherwise she’s in fine shape. She’d been living her life in a closet, until I lost Dixie Rose. Then, there was only one thing to do: get Raggedy Anne, and bring her out to sit in the spot on the sofa where Dixie always slept. It’s amazing how comforting it was to fill up the space in that way. Raggedy Anne wasn’t alive in the same way, of course, but she was alive with memories, and sometimes that’s good enough.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I am sure Raggedy Anne is very pleased to be out of the closet! I can imagine how her presence on the sofa is a comfort. My mother’s bear, when she is not holding it, often sits on my father’s chair. Betty helps to lessen the emptiness of it. She goes for a ride in the car, too, but fortunately doesn’t take up as much space as your mother’s beloved bear. Interestingly, I don’t know if my mother ever had a teddy bear when she was young. I have only heard her talk about dolls.

      Reply
      1. shoreacres

        No teddy bear for me, either — but I did have my very own rabbit. It arrived one Easter, and I found it in the oven while looking for eggs to fill my basket. It wasn’t velveteen, but I loved it, too: just not as much as my Raggedy Anne, who became quite real.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Gorgeous! Thank goodness no one forgot Rabbit was in the oven and turned it on by mistake. By the way, is that a water collection system by the side of the house?

        2. shoreacres

          It certainly is. That’s my grandparents’ house. They collected water for the gardens there. See the watering can next to the tank? That’s the can I used to water Grandma’s bachelor buttons, zinnias, and holly hocks — and the veggies, from time to time.

          I laugh when I hear breathless discussions today about the marvels of collecting rainwater for home use. If some of today’s “green” folks knew any history, they’d know they aren’t the first to have such ideas.

        3. Gallivanta Post author

          Indeed. Water tanks were a common sight in my childhood and young adulthood. I think in some areas of New Zealand, water storage tanks are now compulsory in new houses.

  12. Mél@nie

    impressive and nostalgic post, Miss G… just recalled that as a kid, I never had a teddy-bear, a rabbit or other animal toys… 😦
    * * *
    @”when it comes to love and soft toys, it’s love, not gender, which prevails…” – I totally agree with each and every word: yes, LOVE alone matters… ❤

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, Lady M, for your support on the subject of love. I did have toys (some home-made), a beautiful backyard at home with swings and a tree house, and I had books, but none of it would have had any value without the love which came from my family. 🙂 Although I had a fancy doll from a shop, some of my favourite dolls were made with the help of my mother from scraps of material. I no longer have those dolls but I have lovely memories of our time working on these toys.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      🙂 🙂 Hmmm… I think Honey Bun may be very quiet for a while, and simply enjoy the view from the bed. He has a lot to catch up on after so many years in dark space. Observation and cogitation will require all Honey Bun’s energy. 🙂

      Reply
  13. Neha Sharma

    Velveteen Rabbit is really close to my heart and your work indeed reminded me of that familiar warm feeling I feel whenever I read it. Absolutely beautiful post ❤ ❤

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Neha, I am so pleased to hear the Velveteen Rabbit is close to your heart, too. I have my own copy but it is in storage , so I was happy to find the original story online.

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          I am completely sure he knows how dear he is to you, and I am completely sure you are equally dear to him. Cats like to feign insouciance but they do care. 🙂

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      It has been such fun to see, in the comments, just how many people still have their special toys. I am wondering what is in your box, Julie. Is it time to bring them out for some fresh spring air? Actually, it would be dangerous if I let out all the toys here (not all mine!). We wouldn’t have room to move in the house for toys!

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          It’s a beautiful day for fresh air, here. Winnie the Pooh and friends are lovely. And since you have almost a 100 acre, they couldn’t have found a better home. 🙂 Enjoy the sunshine, if you have it.

  14. Kate Johnston

    I still have all my favorite stuffed animals from when I was a child. They got me through some rough times. Most of them are tucked safely in a cabinet. I have left a few out and about, though, and why not? No different than keeping our photo albums and scrapbooks or any other memorabilia on display. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      That’s an excellent point, Kate. And, sometimes, our toys, even when faded, can be a lot more attractive than certain, unfortunate family photos!

      Reply
  15. Andrea Stephenson

    This is lovely, of course they aren’t just toys – if they don’t already have their own spirit (which I think they do!) then our love and attachment to them imbues them with a spirit.

    Reply
  16. Val

    Lovely post. I’m glad you still have Honey Bun and that your mother has Betty. They do take on a kind of spirit of their own. I still have my first soft (stuffed) toy, it’s a lamb, but she lives in the cupboard as, when we moved here I removed her stuffing and washed her… haven’t restuffed her yet. I do fancy I hear her from time to time… “Don’t forget me,” she says. And I don’t. And then there is ‘sofftoy’ which is another lamb that I bought about a year before other half and I got married, and he lives in our bedroom. And at night we say goodnight to him. (Sometimes, he’s a she… they waver a bit, don’t they?) And… he gets a bedtime story. It consisted of the word ‘Once’ for several years because we didn’t think a lamb would really need all the words. Then ‘upon’ got added and now we’re up to ‘a’. Sofftoy seems quite satisfied! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Such a lovely comment, Val. I smile every time I read it. I suppose, as with humans, so with toys; every now and then we get the stuffing knocked out of us, and we need time to recuperate. 🙂 I hope your little lamb will make a full recovery some day. In the meantime, it’s good to know you have Sofftoy who sounds utterly delightful and very easy-going. Thinking about your lambs reminded me of one of the earliest TV show I watched, starring Lamb Chop and Shari Lewis. Did you watch them? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shari_Lewis Lamb Chop was a sock puppet in the days when sock puppet was still a respectable occupation. 🙂

      Reply
  17. Su Leslie

    Lovely, lovely post. I read and re-read The Velveteen Rabbit to the boychild, who was very attached to his soft toys. When he was about 8 he insisted on spending some birthday money on a toy dog — think Footrot Flats’ Dog! He named him Wham and they have been inseparable. Wham is very well-travelled and has had “adventures” (read, been accidentally left behind) in all sorts of places. He now lives with the boy and his partner in their flat.
    Your mum’s reassigning gender to Betty reminded me that the boy did something similar. A little bear with his name embroidered on the chest arrived and was instantly called Rosie. Grandma patiently pointed out my son’s name on the bear. But she was, and has remained, Rosie. Thank you for prompting this lovely trip through some particularly sweet memories.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      How delighted I am that the Boychild has not forsaken Wham. My son played with soft animals but was not greatly attached to them, unlike his sister. Your lovely story about Rosie reminds me that my daughter told me, a propos my post, that she and her brother thought for years that a small bear they were given was called Mein; because the words Mein Teddy were printed on its shirt. They puzzled over this name ( and I never thought to tell them Mein meant My) until my daughter started to learn some German at about the age of 12! She said, even though they didn’t know what this odd name was, Mein Teddy was always a boy in their games. Sweet and smiling memories, indeed.

      Reply
      1. Su Leslie

        I love that! It is so wonderful when children share their (mis)understandings of life and language with us. It helps to remind me how important it is to respect children’s imaginations and ideas and not to trample on them because we think they are “wrong” and need to be “taught.” 🙂

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          It is wonderful. And, thankfully, I couldn’t hinder their ideas because I was so oblivious to their puzzlement. So much for being a stay at home mum paying close attention to my children’s upbringing. I obviously zoned out more times than I care to admit. 😀

        2. Su Leslie

          I know I zoned out quite a lot. I found being a mum quite challenging and really missed my old life — especially having time to read. 😀

        3. Gallivanta Post author

          Indeed, challenging. I was challenged by gross sleep deprivation, especially with number one. It has taken me years to catch up on all that lost sleep. 😀

        4. Su Leslie

          The boy-child slept through the night precisely nice before his first birthday. For years afterwards if he so much as cried out in his sleep, I would have a panic attack, remembering all those awful sleepless nights.

        5. Gallivanta Post author

          Whereas I would almost have a panic attack, with baby one, if there was silence. 😀 My sister and I both decided that our sleepless babies gave us good practice for these recent years of looking after sleepless parents!

        6. Su Leslie

          My mum says she was like that with me. I suspect I might have been the same, but never had a chance to find out 😂. I have huge admiration for my step-mother, who cares for my sleepless father.

        7. Su Leslie

          A never-ending one (says the woman who dragged herself out of bed at 6am today to make sure the boy-child was up in time for an 8am lecture). 😀

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      It is amazing! My daughter has a Snoopy which is now about 32 years old. He still lives at home under my care. Looking at the history of toy dogs, I saw that in the early 20th century, Dismal Desmond was a great hit, as was Bonzo. Having a soft toy dog seems much more logical than a soft bear, much as I love teddy bears. But, really, who says soft toy likes and dislikes have to be logical! 😀

      Reply
  18. April

    This made me smile. I used to have a Raggedy Ann doll. A woman my mom knew hand made it and I took it everywhere. Same with a quilt my grandma made for me. I lost the doll a long time ago but still have my beloved quilt…all tattered. I have saved what I could of the pieces and I’m going to make a wall hanging.

    Reply
      1. Gallivanta Post author

        In the header? Sadly, no. I acquired it recently because it relates to my family history. The butcher’s shop used to belong to my grandfather and this is where my father grew up. I am so pleased to have it.

        Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you for reminding me about Raggedy Ann dolls, April. And the Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy stories. I had forgotten about them. And it’s lovely to remember a time when dolls were lovingly created by friends and family. I had a great uncle who made soft toys. I thought he was so clever. Glad to know that the quilt is hanging in there. I don’t have any quilts or blankets because we lived in the tropics. I do have a beautiful little embroidered dress which I wore when I was about 2. It’s very fragile now.

      Reply
      1. April

        I have a little summer dress I wore when I was around the same age? My parents had photos taken…I remember a photographer coming to our house back then. I was going to dress my daughter in the dress and have her photo taken but it completely slipped my mind. I used to make teddy bears and dolls. One year, I worked so hard to make dolls for all my nieces. The most difficult part of it was making them with two little kids to take care of. I gave them to my nieces at Christmas time. They weren’t very excited. Made me a little sad that they didn’t understand the value of a handmade item over a store-bought item.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          I did manage to get a photo of my daughter wearing my special dress, but my daughter didn’t like the dress very much, which is a good thing because otherwise I wouldn’t still have it. It would have worn out years ago. As for your nieces being unexcited about the beautiful dolls you made, I may have been the same at a certain age. But that would have been long ago, in my case, when a store bought gift was something precious and rare. Something that was only possible at Christmas or for a birthday. Even a dress from a store was a very big deal. 🙂

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Considering how much I have travelled, I am surprised I still have anything from my childhood toy chest (yes, we had a lovely wooden toy chest). No toy keepsakes, but did you keep a first camera or a first photo? I have the very first photos I took when I was about 12.

      Reply
      1. Steve Gingold

        No I haven’t and wish I had. I do have some quite old images from early on, but nothing that is close to the first ever. I can remember them though which in itself is amazing. 🙂

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          That is amazing recall. I would have done well to lose my first ever photos. They are a reminder of how terrible I was (and still am in lots of ways) at the art of photography!

  19. insearchofitall

    Such a sweet story. I still have the bear I bought for my mother over 30 years ago that wears a dress, pinafore and long worn out bloomers. The bloomers are waiting for me to repair. She sits on my headboard reminding me daily of mom. You’ve brought a lot of memories back to mind here. Thank you.

    Reply
      1. insearchofitall

        She is wearing her original clothes though her bloomers are in the sewing room waiting for me to fix the elastic that has disintegrated from age. I need a round tuit. 🙂 Thanks for the link. I’ll check it out. I think my daughter will have the bear after me but there are no grand children so then, who knows. She’s still in excellent condition.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Oh my, don’t we all need a round tuit! And even if you have one, it is devilishly good at hiding. 😀 😀 It must be comforting to know that eventually your mother’s bear will be with your daughter.

        2. Gallivanta Post author

          That is an excellent idea to write the bear’s story. Which reminds me that I should ask the uncle who gave me Honey Bun if he can remember where he bought him in Europe. I am a little unsure about Honey Bun’s birthplace.

        3. Gallivanta Post author

          A birth certificate would be most useful. 🙂 These days most bears would probably have a city or town in China as their birth places.

  20. Tiny

    What a lovely, heart-melting story, my friend ❤ Loved it and wish you both this many (stretching her arms) years of beautiful dreams and shared pillows.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you for your kind words. My daughter found The Velveteen Rabbit unbearably sad when she was little, but I have always found it comforting (and just a little sad).

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, Sally. I was surprised by how quickly my mother took to Betty, and I was even more surprised by the intensity of my feelings toward Honey Bun. Perhaps, subconsciously, we were both wanting something to hold in the wake of the death of a loved one.

      Reply
      1. Art and Soul Space

        ‘Something to hold in the wake of a death of a loved one.’ Beautiful. Sounds to me like a gentle act of self-compassion and care. Our subconsciouses can be pretty astute, don’t you think?

        Reply
  21. Joanne Jamis Cain

    I love your story! I have a baby doll from when I was a child. Her name is Jody. I bet I was 7 or 8 years old when I picked her out from a department store. She has been with me all these years and now my granddaughter plays with her when she comes over.
    Some things we just never outgrow. They are meant to be with us always.
    xo

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      How lovely that your Jody is bringing joy to another generation in your family. What memories and stories Jody must whisper in your granddaughter’s ear. I bet she remembers the very day you chose her. 😉 I do wish more thought were given by consumers to keeping toys with us for always, or for as long as possible. I bought my mother’s bear at a thrift store. It was so new it still had its label on it. And the thrift store was full of similar soft toys. I wondered how there could be so many unwanted soft toys. And I wondered what would happen to them if they didn’t sell? More trash for an already burdened landfill, perhaps.

      Reply
  22. Mrs. P

    At first I thought the Schnauzer was Jack and that Jack had declared Honey Bun as his own. That happened with one of Michelle’s stuffed animals. A friend of my husbands gave her a Curious George monkey which she loved to play with. Many years later she got a dog, Phoenix. Shortly after he arrived Phoenix went into her room and surveyed her stuffed animals…there must have been twenty of them. He walked up to the monkey and took it to the couch and laced with it. At first, I told him that was Michelle’s and gave him one of the other toys. Every day, he repeated his trip to her room to get the monkey. Eventually she decided it was okay for him to have it and it was his favorite toy/friend.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Jack has one favourite toy which, fortunately, isn’t Honey Bun, but he is very curious about Honey Bun. (Not curious or brave enough to jump on the bed and grab him!) It’s funny the way some dogs are as particular about favourite toys as children are. We have offered different toys to Jack over the years but, after some momentary interest, he always returns to his beloved ‘Babby’.

      Reply
  23. Clanmother

    Oh Gallavanta! This is a wonderfully special post that warms our hearts and reminds us of those wonderful companions that shared our childhood secrets and ups and downs. Did you see that Disney is bringing back Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh. It seems that there is a recognition that we must stay our true selves and not be consumed by noise that shares our lives as adults. http://youtu.be/ZJp6q8B1gTI

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Dear Clanmother, thanks to you I now know that Disney is bringing back Christopher Robin. The film looks charming. Recently I saw Goodbye Christopher Robin which I enjoyed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsAlKzokl-8 It seems we have a complex relationship with our soft toys, particularly toy bears, which is odd considering real bears are not man’s best friend. Is it too far-fetched to think that a teddy bear represents our huge fears made manageable? By the way did you know that an arctophile is a person who collects, or is very fond of teddy bears? I did not until a moment ago. 🙂

      Reply
  24. utesmile

    Everyone has a ‘Honey Bun’ really. Mine is 57 years old and is a teddy called ‘Zotti’. He has been plastered up as the straw is coming out of his paws. Also he wears hand crocheted shoes to make him more comfortable. He is so well loved and still now with me in my bedroom. I understand you and Honey Bun! Hugs to both!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Hugs to Zotti, Ute. He is obviously not only a well-loved bear but a well-lived bear, too. I hope Danny and the other family members treat him with great respect and care. Has Zotti ever been to a Teddy Bear’s picnic?

      Reply
  25. thecontentedcrafter

    I could immediately see the Velveteen Rabbit in your story – perhaps we all have our own version hidden somewhere around our homes. My daughter has my doll which was given to me when I was three. My second daughter has my velvet elephant, the one I made myself (with help) when I was nine. That took care of my favourite toy’s futures. I’m glad to hear your mumma has a teddy – don’t we all need a teddy if we don’t have a Jack or a Siddy – and maybe even if we do……

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Pauline, I am sure we do, indeed, all have a version of a ‘Velveteen Rabbit’ either in our homes, or in our memories. Which is why, I suppose, the story, The Velveteen Rabbit, has had such enduring appeal. Hmmm…..having said that I am wondering how popular the story is with children today, who would be puzzled by a nursery without an iPad, and the term scarlet fever. I am pleased to hear that your doll and elephant already have secure homes (and well done ,you, being able to let them go. 🙂 ) I laughed about Jack and Siddy; yes, Jack is my first choice cuddle buddy, but even Jack sometimes prefers his soft toy to me! Does Siddy have a special soft toy?

      Reply
      1. thecontentedcrafter

        Siddy is a spoilt puppy, he has a basket full of soft toys and his favourite changes day to day. He is very fair, they all get a turn.
        We play fetch with whatever today’s favourite is two or three times. And he chooses one to cuddle every evening. Now and again he offers one to Orlando in hope the cat might play fetch with him, the cat has never obliged…… And he also of course likes a cuddle with me, if my hands have stopped working on whatever they are doing.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Siddy is too cute and I love his sense of fair play. Jack is a one toy dog. If his one toy wears out we have to replace it with exactly the same model. 🙂

  26. Michele LaFollette

    Another gentle, sweet reflection …another tear stained face. I don’t have anything stuffed from my childhood, which is probably why my daughter has an entire zoo full of animals that she’s loved well for 21 yrs! She’s got her college friends and the friends that wait for her to come home for visits. I also have a very special bear that was a gift to my brother when he went into hospice. It’s huge and resides on my daughter’s bed. It was nice to hear a bit about your mom. I know from your posts the special place your dad holds in your heart. How’s the weather today? Will you take a stroll? I think I may swim…my trainer is on vacation.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      No strolls or outings for me but the weather does have a hint of spring warmth in it. The trees have noticed the warmth. Today I have my first magnolia bloom and, by Monday or Tuesday, I expect the first apricot blossom to open. There is sweetness in the air just as there is sweetness in your comment.It’s lovely to hear about your daughter’s huge collection of animal friends waiting to welcome her every time she returns. My daughter has a similar vast collection, which is currently stored in the attic. (After the earthquakes almost everything moveable was boxed and contained in the attic) And your brother’s bear must have a special place in all of your hearts. Hope you enjoyed your swim. 🙂

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, Lavinia. I hope it will be so. Honey Bun is certainly in good shape and looks set for many years to come. His owner is less spry and perky but she should last a while yet! In the interests of Honey Bun’s continued longevity I will have to be careful to keep him out of Jack’s reach. Jack is already wondering if Honey Bun would make a fun playmate.

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Honey Bun might be polite enough to play at first but he would soon tire of having his ears chewed and his tail pulled. That would be very undignified for a rabbit of his age.

  27. KerryCan

    I was thinking Velveteen Rabbit the whole time I read and, as with the VR, I got all misty with your telling about Honey Bun. These are *not* just toys, ever. I’m glad your mom has Betty . . .

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Teehee, the story owes a lot to the Velveteen Rabbit, but I couldn’t resist my own retelling of the tale. Shall we call it ‘fan art’? My mother also has a little soft dog called Basil. Her very own doll which is about 93 years old lives in my house. The doll is too fragile to travel abroad.

      Reply
  28. Marisa @missmarzipan.com

    This post honestly made me tear up. Sitting in Stockholm crying as I type. I have my bear, Bubba, with me. She’s made every move to every country I have lived in. Her ear is burned (I tried to dry her by a fire when I was little), her eye is superglued on. She wears a dress that I hand sewed from a scrap of fabric I found literally on the street when I was a lost and miserable teenager. She is still loved even though she resides in my draw these days. Thank you for this beautiful post! xx

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      My deep love to Bubba. Honey Bun has been with me on almost every move, too, although we were separated at times. Honey Bun’s ears are intact but I am sure that even if they weren’t, I wouldn’t care. I honestly couldn’t believe how hard it was to contemplate parting with Honey Bun . I thought I had reached the stage where it would be relatively easy. HA! Silly me. Hugs to you. Hope you and your little ones are thriving.

      Reply

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