The Teddy Bear Lady

by Arnold Nelson

Many years ago I moved to a small town in Oregon. There was an older lady and her husband living there. Everybody called the older lady the Teddy Bear Lady. I guess she had been collecting teddy bears most of her life. When she retired with her husband she bought a small house in town. She put all her teddy bears in the house. It was called the Bear's Den. It was usually just open on weekends, but you could make an appointment to go just about any time the teddy bear lady was free.

The Teddy Bear Lady had all sizes of teddy bears. She had one that was about 10 foot tall, it sat on the floor in one of the rooms and even sitting on the floor it was as tall as most adults. She has some teddy bears that were so small they weren't much bigger than a fingernail, about half an inch tall. She had some older teddy bears that she never let anybody touch, she also has some newer ones that the kids could touch and hold it they wanted. She loved to tell stories about her teddy bears and all the kids in town loved to hear her stories.

After a while she got so popular the schools were asking her to come and bring some of the teddy bears and tell story to the students. At first it was just the schools nearby and then as her popularity grew she was going to schools all over the state of Oregon. I think she even went to a few schools outside of Oregon.

Shortly after I moved there she lost her husband and her health started to fail. It got to the point that she had to quit going to the schools that were far away. When I left Oregon she was still going to the local schools and still enjoying herself.

I have often wondered what happened to the Bear's Den after the Teddy Bear Lady died. I have seen what happens after old people die. Their dreams just seem to die with them. No one in the family seems to want to take over for the old people when they die. So their dreams die a slow death. I am willing to bet that after the Teddy Bear Lady died her family closed the bear's den. They probably took some of the most valuable teddy bears and the ones they liked the best. The rest of them were probably sold or given away. It is a shame when dreams die like that, but with no one willing to take over there is no other choice.

I will never forget all the joy and happiness all the kids in Oregon got from the Teddy Bear Lady and the Bear's Den. Thank you Teddy Bear Lady for all you given to the kids of Oregon.

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