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The Easter morning bear

Photo: Old fashioned daffodils

Photo: Old fashioned daffodils

When we were small children my mum always gave us cardboard eggs on Easter Day, which we opened to reveal a present. I’m sure that we must have been given chocolate eggs too but it’s the cardboard ones that have stayed in my memory.

One year she made small bears for my sister and I. They lay curled in the cardboard egg shells. The bears had boot button eyes and were made of brown furry bear material. I was enchanted.

As a special treat we were allowed to take the bears to church with us. I walked with my bear sitting in my pocket with his head looking out so he could see what was going on. For years I thought that my toys were alive and only pretended to be toys when I was around. So, even though they never appeared to respond, I talked  and confided in them. Somehow they provided a good sounding board for all my joys and hopes and fears. I trusted them and they were ‘loyal companions’ for many, many years.

The entrance into Great St Mary’s (Cambridge) at Easter was always quite overwhelming. Out of the brightness of the spring morning into the darkened gloom of the church. But the heavy wooden pews meant that we could play with our toys quietly during the service and no one except the vicar in his high pulpit could see.

I remember letting my bear sit beside me and then lifting him down to explore the floor area beside our kneelers. He had long legs, far-apart eyes and small crescent ears for listening. I suspected that he wouldn’t really be interested in the church service and looked forward to walking home in the sunshine and getting to know him.

Finally the service was over and we were outside, going home. Me running  ahead in my Easter bonnet, thrilled with the thought of lunch and egg hunts and getting to know my new friend.

But when we got home I discovered that the bear had vanished. How could have I taken it for granted that he’d stay in my pocket? We went back to the church the next day and searched frantically under the pews. A fruitless exercise.

Fifty years later I still think of that lost Easter bear. I knew him for just a few hours and still hope that he found a happy home and was given a really good name.

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Michelle

    I’ll email you tonight!

    Hope is doing well. She’s a bit bullied but gets on well with Beatyl the cockerel so has a companion.

  2. michelle sheets

    Hi Fiona,
    Boy, do I feel silly, I never checked back to see how you replied on your post. Yes, I remember naming the hens, I felt so honored that you chose my suggestion. Yes, drop me a email and I’ll give you my address.
    I hope the low girl in the pecking order is doing all right….

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Amanda

    I love the idea of very small people living in the house and garden!

    Hello Michelle

    Happy Easter to you too. I’m going to email you for your address as I finally found the perfect prize for you. Do you remember the naming of the new hens back in December?

    Hi Angie

    The cardboard eggs were great. You can still get them in the UK today!

    Funny about the pyjamas. They are a Christmas thing at the cottage and we really need them then!

    Hi Free

    Thanks for dropping by!

    Hello Jan

    I so agree. One of the great lost toy traumas was when my sister lost her favourite toy (a lamb originally named Lamby) in the dunes at Hunstanton. We searched for hours without success.

    Hello S.O.L.

    Love hearing about these family traditions. We still bring out the yellow chicks at Easter.

    Hope that you had a great one!

    Hi Pamela

    I can’t remember whether we had real Easter eggs or not. My stepfather introduced me to Cadbury’s cream eggs when I was nine and I discovered chocolate nirvana.

    Hi Gemma

    That’s great news about your chickens.

    Six years down the line, I’m thrilled with every egg. And they taste so much better and fresher than shop ones.

    Hi Willo

    That is really touching.

    We have a few toys from my childhood that sit on the dressing table in the bedroom. They are old compatriots.

    I don’t think that any have ever fallen in love though. They are a disparate group.

    Hello Martyn

    Give Mr Edward a hug from me!

  4. Nice story. Hope your poor old bear wasn’t homeless for long. My bear Mr Edward who came to me when I was two and stayed with my parents while I left home, got married and generally did stuff is now back where he should be, sitting on my bed.

  5. What a poorer world it is we are expected to live in as adults. I still have my favourite doll who sits next to my husbands bear with other assorted people of the stuffed variety. They are as alive as they ever were. I was at first horrified when my husband pointed out to me that he thought they were falling in love but I soon had to agree. They have remained that way for these past 24 years giving us both great pleasure when we look at the love in their eyes.

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