I believe that if there is a Teddy Bear in your home, you will never be "home alone." For being such a inanimate object, a bear sure can be good company.
I have probably always liked the Teddy Bear even though I don't remember having one as a child. Dolls were my playmates, the Patsy Joan doll shown below is a reproduction that is from the era when dolls were a big part of my life (pass your mouse over the image to see more details about this doll).
I do have memories of a rag-tag Panda Bear being in the house at one time, but it could have belonged to my brother or sister.
It was my sister Lori who actually got me interested in collecting these cuddly creatures. This began when Lori gave me a Gund as a Christmas gift in 1987. So this Collector's Classic Limited Edition Chocolate Truffle is special and appropriately named as "I Love Chocolate!"
Anyone who knows me very well knows one of my weaknesses is chocolate, and well it should be for anyone, in my humble opinion.
This porcelain doll came from the grocery store I worked at in Albert Lea, MN in 1990.
I now have 11 Gund Bears, my latest and maybe the last one I'll ever add to my collection is "Snookums." I usually restrict my bear buying to $35 or less (obviously I don't have any Steiffs).
But this one just fell off the shelf into my arms at the Silver Dawn Gallery, Har Mar Mall, Roseville, MN. We were visiting Brian in the spring of 1999 and we were browsing through the mall's antique show when this store caught my eye. Snookums is a limited edition bear and a true mohair design, what a wonderful addition to my collection.
Most of my bear collection consists of 8" to 16" sizes, but I do have some larger ones. I have gotten a JC Penny Collection Christmas bear every other year since 1988. Another big bear favorite is one purchased from Target Stores in 1995. I named him " Targé." Yes, all the bears have names and no I don't discriminate against the smaller bears, I have several 4" to 6" Boyd's Bears.
Of course being a bear collector means that many of them come to me as gifts from family and friends. But you know I can always find a reason to purchase one for myself. I guess you'd say that I am always on a "bear hunt" while on vacations or browsing through shopping centers. My new bear friends always remind me of places we have been and the memories of the trip. I can always count on some teasing from Dan as I choose the right bear, "...it's in the face!"
Bean Bottom is a 13" tall Gund bear with a reddish brown shaggy coat and a real pot belly. I adopted him from Winnie's Toy Orphanage, Valley Junction, IA (1997)
Gund, Boyd's and Russ make up the majority of my collection, but I do have quite a few others that begged for my attention. I guess they are my "generic" friends. For the serious bear hunter the lack of a brand name is not a sign that the bear doesn't need a home. I have picked up several at our grocery store, HyVee, around the holiday seasons.
JC Penny Bear, 1998
I also collect the Cherished Teddies series of bears. This collection represents most of the people in my life. The bear, its name, or it's activity or title remind me of people I know. So far I have about 50 of them. In future updates I will dedicate a page to just Cherished Teddies so stop back to see it.
Baron, Jointed Bear by Carousel Company, 1989
And finally, do I have Beanie Baby Bears you ask? I was a little slow at getting into this crazy collectors thing, but then the frenzy that Ty produced with these little creature drew me in. This is the smallest part of my collection with only 20 as of July 1, 1999. I do collect just the bears although I bought Tiny the Chihuahua as a joke for Dan. He is not excited about this collection, I think his line is "...how many bears can they make, just change the fur color and add a new name.." Well that's a guy's approach to it and I'm sure you'll understand and forgive him, I do.
I am lucky that my niece Kim works in a Hallmark store and with her help in informing me about what is new I am prepared for the next great bear hunt when the new arrivals occur. So I have added the Ty Beanie Bears to my list when I go on my Bear Hunts. I would like to pick up those that I missed when they first came out, and of course I do enjoy helping others who are also collecting them.