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
• Summer Favorites
• Patriotic Bears
• Christmas and Chanukah
• Secretaries Day
• 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
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
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
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
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
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?
LOVE TO ALL OF US WHO SHARED THIS ERA, AND TO ALL WHO DIDN'T - SORRY
FOR WHAT YOU MISSED. I WOULDN'T TRADE IT FOR ANYTHING.
to All October Classmates
The Month of:
Adopt a shelter dog
Breast Cancer Awareness
Flu and Pneumonia 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,
PS. Thanks, Bruce.