Lynda asked me to make four bears from a quilt made by her great-grandmother. Two were to be given to the newest generation in her family, cousins Finley and Thomas. The other two are to be tucked away for future babies.
Lynda wrote a letter to Finley.
Dear Finley, I had this teddy bear made for you from a very special quilt. The quilt was made by your great-great grandmother, Della Hart Smith, for your great-grandmother, Mary Lynn Perkins, who had it on her bed when she was a girl. She then gave it to me for my bed when I was a little girl. Over time, it became too fragile to be used, so it was lovingly packed away, and there it sat for many years. A few months ago, I found it while unpacking some boxes after moving. I took it out thinking that surely it could be used again in some way. A few weeks later, you were born, and I thought of the most perfect way the quilt could have a new life – as a teddy bear for you. There’s so much love built into this bear – from the hands that made the quilt, from those who slept under it throughout the years, and from my friend who made the teddy bear – which is now yours to love and enjoy!
The fabric of the quilt was so fragile I asked Lynda’s permission to intervene with some embroidery over the areas that ‘popped’ open when the bears were stuffed. I love what I do~!
This is not a memory bear. I have a stash of recycled sweaters and lace that I chose from to make this bear for a friend. She received a promotion and was transferred to a distant city. It was hard for her to leave what was familiar and all the people that love her.
The bear is a symbol of something new. It is made from a brown recycled knit sweater overlaid with lace from a knit shirt. The collar is one of the ribbed cuffs, I added the crocheting. Both fabrics were, at one time, brand new. They lived out their journey serving in the area of their value and worth. Then one day they took a new path and became something new, again. Revelation 21:5
Every bear that I make has a story. Not all, but most of the bears are memories of someone who passed away after living a long and quantitative life. Will and Andrew, two very little boys, won’t have the opportunity to create memories with their father. He died in October 2015 in a vehicle accident. No words can bring justice to this sweet family for Will, Andrew and their mother.
Kyle died many years ago. Janet gave Kyle’s daughter this bear that I made from his camouflage hunting jacket.
Janet wrote, “When I saw Jessica and gave the bear to her I asked if she recognized it. She looked at it for a second and said “This is Dad’s camouflage jacket, you made a bear out of it?” She was already crying by this time and me too of course, and she just hugged me. I cannot think of a better thing for her to keep her Dad close to her than this bear that she loves so much. I was unsure at first how she would react because the jacket itself didn’t mean that much hung in a closet, but you brought life back to it for her.”
As children brothers Justin and Tyler found comfort in their blankets at home, in daycare and on vacations.
The ABC blanket was made by Justin’s grandmother when he was about 3 years old. It was well loved and worn. Last year his new puppy decided it tasted good and chewed a huge hole in the middle of the blanket. There was enough left over to make a bear.
Last year Justin became a daddy at age 23. I was able to make a ‘baby’ bear from the remains of the ABC blanket.
Tyler (now 21) decided he didn’t need the bottle anymore when he was 10 months old but he picked up his light green thermal blanket. When he was 4 years old one day Mommy accidentally set it too close to a lit candle and it caught fire. Tyler decided right then, “Mommy, I a big boy now and I don’t need it anymore.” He thought it had been thrown away but Mommy had stored it in a safe place.
“My father John was a Boston Police Officer for over 32 years. He served and protected everyone proudly and humbly. The various police districts used to have a Sunday Morning Softball league. For many years in my early teens I went with my dad to every Sunday morning game. My father was the catcher but he was so much more for the team. He was the motivator and moving force of getting those guys to play every year. The roster of players changed here and there over the years but everyone one of those guys loved my dad and respected him greatly. The younger players all wanted to be the type of cop my father was. At these games I was the score keeper, collector of dues and mascot of the team. It was a time that was just me and my dad on the rides to and from the games. One of the reasons why I have sentimentally held onto this jacket for so many years.
My father always had a solution to any type of problem and he has a great way of making things simple. My father was a very generous man and never wanted to be acknowledged for anything he did. My father will always be my hero and my inspiration.
Double click on the collage to enlarge
When I was a little girl, one of my dad’s and my games evolved around his bedtime. My dad worked the night shift as a Boston police officer so he would sleep during the daytime. Right before he would go upstairs I would race to my parents’ bedroom and hide behind his pillows. My dad would always act surprised when he found me. And we would laugh together. Even as I grew to adulthood my dad would occasionally ask if I’d like to go hide behind the pillows before he went to bed for the night. As an adult I will always remember his wisdom over the years that I might not have appreciated as much in my youth. I’ll remember his infectious laughter and the pure delight he took when I laughed at his remarks or jokes. His face always lit up with his love he had for his family.
My father passed away on February 21, 2009 at home and on his own terms. He showed bravery and strength until the end and still had some words of wisdom for us all.
I am most proud to say this one thing of all that he was. He was and will always be my daddy.”
That’s what is written on the Tee-shirt. Robert collects VWs. He especially has a heart for the outcast, broken, disheveled and forgotten VWs. Robert is a part of a VW group and loves the fellowship and camaraderie he finds as he travels in his restored beetle to different weekend camps around the south. This is Robert’s bear from a tee-shirt he bought at one of the VWs roundup.