Friday, October 23, 2020

Stuffed Animals

When I was young, I had a fascination with panda bears. I had several stuffed pandas that I loved. It’s funny looking back that I collected teddy bears that I often slept with at night as a child. I had one named Andy Panda and one named Sandy Panda. I don’t remember the names of the others, but Sandy was always my favorite. Whenever I was feeling down, Sandy was always there to cheer me up. She and my cat Calico never failed to be my faithful companions when I was sick or scared. Calico was an actual real cat and the sweetest animal I have ever known. When it comes to my cats, Victoria and I had a special bond, but she could be mean to other people. She tried to kill my grandmama’s chihuahua one time. Isabella is a one-person cat who is more persistent than any cat I’ve ever had. She does not understand the words “No” or “Move,” and she can be very temperamental at times. She is also a murderess and torturer when she finds a mouse. I won’t even describe some of the horrors I woke to occasionally in my old apartment. 

 

Pandas, though, were a fascination of mine growing up. I wanted so badly to go to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and see Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, two giant pandas given to the United States as gifts by the government of China following President Richard Nixon's visit in 1972. Sadly, Ling-Ling died suddenly from heart failure in 1992, and Hsing-Hsing died in 1999 due to painful kidney failure. I didn’t get to visit Washington until three years ago when I went for work, and I got to see very little of the city. I wouldn’t see my first panda in real life until sometime around 2012 when I got the chance to see the Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta. Even as a grown man in my thirties, I was so excited to get to see real pandas. It’s the only time I have ever seen live pandas, but it was a memorable experience.

 

Did any of you have a stuffed animal that loved? What brought you comfort when you were sick or scared as a child? To be honest, I wish I still had Sandy sometimes. I loved that bear.

3 comments:

NYCHATHAM said...

A quick story, I had a clown (hand made by a local lady) given to me when I was three at Christmas. I became very attached to "Clown" and he became rather well loved (read filthy) over the year. My Mom thought this through and ordered 10 more clowns from the same woman and then every Christmas Eve Santa would give clown a "new outfit"...But he always had the same small stuffed bear toy with him. It was the longest night of the year and sleeping on Christmas Eve without Clown and in anticipation of Christmas was the worst...but without fail he was there all clean and new. I think this was a brilliant move on Mom's part. By the way she, of course, kept all the clowns and every year they have a party under the tree at my house and a little bit of the past comes back.

Joe said...

NYCHATHAM, that's really sweet. Your mom was ingenious to do that. I'm glad she kept all of them for you, and that you still have them.

Coop said...

I had stuffed animals from the Disney movie "Oliver and Company." Dodger was my favorite.
(Yes I am dating myself). Dad brought him home when I was convalescing in a body cast from fairly major hip surgery, bodycast and all. I'm walking without any aids, so in the end it was worth it. Tell that to a little kid left staring at the ceiling.

To this day I have a Ty stuffed dog. I don't sleep with it but I like having it.