Article #42
October 2007


The mini-series continues its wild and curvy path to the Northeast, into Vermont, and The Greatest Bears.  From there we will go back to the future, and receive a blast from the past contributed by Bruce Ahlvin in Black and White.  So...get comfortable, grab that favorite beverage and snack, and let your eyes take you on a memorable trip.





Vermont Has the Greatest Bears
Contributed By Bob Graham

Many years ago, after Aragon and a year and a half at San Mateo JC, I was fortunate enough to go to the University of Montana.  The mascot was the Grizzly Bear, and one of the first things I heard there was...”If you have to be a bear, its best to be a Grizzly!”  Well, I know that is true, but there is a new one liner that I would submit to you.  “If you want a Teddy Bear, the best are in Vermont!”  Oh sure, tell me you didn’t have a Teddy Bear as you were growing up, sometime within those first five or ten years.  It was probably some shade of brown, with button eyes, and a stitched smile and you dragged it from one end of the house to the other.  It may have been your best friend at the time, along with of course, that security blanket.  And don’t try and tell me you didn’t have conversations with your Bear.  If you are real lucky you might still have your Bear in the attic, cellar, suitcase, or you might proudly have him out for public viewing.  Those, our Bears, have been around a long time, and I see no reason why they should not continue their partnership with the next, and follow-on family members.  No, you don’t have to turn your Bear over to a son or daughter, or a granddaughter or grandson.  I have a solution:  The Vermont Teddy Bear Factory.
     The village of Shieburne is a well kept secret in the Green Mountain State.  Vermonters are extremely proud of their “Made in America” Teddy Bear Factory.  So much so that they don’t say made, but each Bear is “born” there.  Then it is sent out to a loving family in the United States, and throughout the world. 

     If a Bear is in your future, or that of a family member; okay Grandma and Grandpa, time to take care of the Grand Children, then this is as far as you need to look.  There is a Bear for “every” occasion, and there really is something special about these Bears.

     Bears range is size from fifteen inches to thirty-six inches, called the Big Hug.  Colors run the palette from Vanilla to Butter cream to Honey to Dark Chocolate.  The Bear Galleries have the following categories or they can custom make a Bear to meet any specifics you may desire:
          •  Love and Anniversary
          •  Hobbies and Occupations
          •  Sports Bears
          •  New Baby
          •  Get Well
          •  Birthday
          •  Graduation
          •  Summer Favorites
          •  Patriotic Bears
          •  Christmas and Chanukah
          •  Thanksgiving
          •  Halloween
          •  Easter
          •  Secretaries Day
          •  Retirement
          •  Sweetness Day - 20 October
          •  And Many, Many More 

There are hundreds of choices for you.  And finally, the price, they range from under fifty dollars to two hundred dollars.  The average price for a bear is around seventy-five dollars.
     There are five stages to a Bear’s birth.  First, a designer will sketch new teddy bear ideas.  Every Vermont Teddy Bear is designed at the factory, so a special touch is given to all Bears, clothing, accessories, and signed limited editions.  Fur cutting is stage two.  All Bears are cut out on a 23,000 pounds of pressure hydraulic press.  All fur used is hypoallergenic, flame-retardant, and machine washable.  Stage three is sewing.  Each Bear is carefully sewn and hand-stuffed so that no two bears are exactly alike.  These unique furry family members come to you with a lifetime guarantee and a spot in the Bear Hospital if they ever need it.  Dressing is the next stage, and come in a wide variety of outfits to choose from.  The Bear birthing facility also provides accessories and embroidery options, so that each bear can be personalized.  Shipping is the final stage.  Now the he or she Bear is ready to deliver smiles to a new friend or family member.  It will be dressed and groomed according to your specific request, and will be “housed” in a colorful package, complete with a candy treat, a personalized card, and of course - air holes.

     On a personal note they bring a BIG smile, a whole lot of hugs, and many great lasting memories.  In January 2007 our home was blessed with a brand new Vermont Teddy Bear Factory member - A Grizzly Bear, so now the circle from those University Days are complete.  Once a Griz, always a Griz.  And yes, he is on display in “our” home. 

     Try the web site, I’m sure you will find something for someone(s) special in your life.  They are a great, and different gift.  I tried to condense the Bear nursery material, but if you desire more information you can go to:               







Black and White
ontributed By Bruce Ahlvin

          Whoever wrote this must have been my next door neighbor because it totally described my childhood to a “T”.  I hope you enjoy it.  Under age 40?  You won't understand, but we don’t have to worry about that, do we? 

     Remember that small little box we called a TV?  You could hardly see a picture, for all the snow.  Spread the rabbit ears as far as they go, pull a chair up to the set, and hear, and somewhat see, two “young” guys say "Good Night, David. Good Night, Chet."

     My Mom used to cut chicken, chop eggs, and spread mayo on the same cutting board with the same knife and no bleach, but we didn't seem to get food poisoning.

     My Mom used to defrost hamburger on the counter and I used to eat it raw sometimes, too. Our school sandwiches were wrapped in wax paper in a brown paper bag, not in ipecac coolers, but I can't remember getting e.coli?

     Almost all of us would have rather gone swimming in the lake instead of a pristine pool (talk about boring), no beach closures then.

     The term cell phone would have conjured up a phone in a jail cell, and a pager was the school PA system.

     We all took gym, not PE, and risked permanent injury with a pair of high top Ked's (only worn in gym) instead of having cross-training athletic shoes with air cushion soles and built in light reflectors.  I can't recall any injuries but they must have happened because they tell us how much safer we are now.  Flunking gym was not an option... even for stupid kids!  I guess PE must be much harder than gym.

     Speaking of school, we all said prayers and sang the national anthem, and staying in detention after school caught all sorts of negative attention.  We must have had horribly damaged psyches. What an archaic health system we had then.  Remember school nurses?  Ours wore a hat and everything.

     I thought that I was supposed to accomplish something before I was allowed to be proud of myself.

     I just can't recall how bored we were without computers, Play Station, Nintendo, X-box or 270 digital TV cable stations.

     Oh yeah... and where was the Benadryl and sterilization kit when I got that bee sting?  I could have been killed!  We played 'king of the hill' on piles of gravel left on vacant construction sites, and when we got hurt, Mom pulled out the 48-cent bottle of Mercurochrome (kids liked it better because it didn't sting like iodine did) and then we got our butt spanked.  Now it's a trip to the emergency room, followed by a 10-day dose of a $149 bottle of antibiotics, and then Mom calls the attorney to sue the contractor for leaving a horribly vicious pile of gravel where it was such a threat.

     We didn't act up at the neighbor's house - either because if we did, we got our butt spanked there and then we got our butt spanked again when we got home.  I recall Donny Reynolds from next door coming over and doing his tricks on the front stoop, just before he fell off.  Little did his Mom know that she could have owned our house.  Instead, she picked him up and swatted him for being such a goof.  It was a neighborhood run amuck. 

     To top it off, not a single person I knew had ever been told that they were from a dysfunctional family.  How could we possibly have known that?   We needed to get into group therapy and anger management classes?   We were obviously so duped by so many societal ills, that we didn't even notice that the entire country wasn't taking Prozac!  How did we ever survive?






Don’t Forget:

to All October Classmates


The Month of: 
              Adopt a shelter dog

              Breast Cancer Awareness

              Country Music

              Sea Food


              Flu and Pneumonia Awareness

              Energy Awareness

The Day of:
     •  First World Series Baseball Game - 1 Oct. 1903
     •  Captain Kangaroo premiers - 3 Oct. 1955
     •  PBS becomes a Television network - 5 Oct. 1970
     •  CATS opens on Broadway - 7 Oct. 1982
     •  Columbus Day - 8 Oct.
     •  SNL premiers with George Carlin - 11 Oct. 1975
     •  U.S. Navy established - 13 Oct. 1775
     •  I Love Lucy premiers - 15 Oct. 1951
     •  San Francisco earthquake (7.1) - 17 Oct. 1989
           [Loma Prieta – Bob wasn’t here with us for that one!]
     •  Mammography Day - 19 Oct.
     •  Sweetness Day - 20 Oct.
     •  Beach Boys release “Good Vibrations” - 22 Oct. 1966
     •  Beirut Terrorist Attack (241 Marines killed) -  23 Oct. 1983
     •  Black Thursday - 24 Oct. 1929
     •  President Truman raised minimum wage from
               40 to 75 cents an hour - 26 Oct. 1949
     •  NOW founded - 29 Oct. 1966
     •  War of the Worlds (Orson Wells) Broadcast - 30 Oct. 1930
     •  Holloween and Nevada Day - 31 Oct.

  Keep Your Fork...’64,
                                                               Bob Graham


PS.    Thanks, Bruce.


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