Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Story of "Donna the Bear"

This is Donna the Bear. I've had her since I was probably 8 years old. I didn't get her when she was brand new. You might find it interesting how she became mine.

Growing up, we lived in a middle class neighborhood. My dad was a dentist. Our neighbors had various occupations - policeman, car salesman, airline employee, corporate something or other, but it was the family who lived across the street and one house to the left of ours that was "the mean neighbor".

Mr. Cole worked for General Dynamics. He and his wife had one daughter and we all knew she was spoiled. She was very girly and much older than the rest of the kids in the neighborhood. One day she moved out and went to college. The day her parents cleaned out her room and threw out all of her childhood toys was like Christmas for the rest of us. I'll never forget seeing the huge (in my 8 year old mind) pile of "trash" at the curb. There were so many toys. It was an incredible sight.

It was a boring Saturday, so we all sat across the street staring at the "trash". I'm pretty sure the law was the same then as it is now, "Once you put something out for trash, it's fair game", right? Therefore, we were figuring out what we were gonna take from the trash. Of course, as if on cue, Mr. Cole came out of his house and yelled at us, "Don't even think of taking anything from there!" As if we weren't scared enough, that just made this plan scarier. Once we had all staked our claim on what were were taking, we would make a run for it. Now, I didn't know Donna was a bear. Actually, I thought she was a poodle because just her legs were sticking out of the box and there was a lot of stuff around her. On the count of three, we made a run for it, grabbed our "treasure" and ran into our own houses.

Donna sat on my bed and became my "baby". My mom let me buy clothes for her from a garage sale. To this day she wears the same jumper I bought and its about a size 2T, if you wanted to know. She lost an eye and part of her nose when I was about 18 and got my first dog. I was horrified but would never consider throwing her away. It's just that now I don't really know what to do with her. One thing I can just about guarantee - I'm the only one that still has what they took from the pile that day.

I think I saved her to pass down to my kids but I had three boys who would never take her and a girl who doesn't have any interest in my memory, not that I blame her. Now it's just a good story to tell. It's not like she really takes up room. She lies on some boxes in the back of my closet. No one would know she's there unless I pulled her out. I have a few things like this from when I was young - ok more than a few. I'm trying to go through this stuff and decide what's really important to me. I'm sending anything ex husband related home with my daughter for her to decide what to do with. I only have it because she made a request nine years ago that I not throw anything away that had to do with my marriage. I did the same with my mom, but I was 23 when they got divorced. Everything else I have was from my kids and will go to them soon or from my parents or grandparents.
Clearing out one item at a time, but for now, I think Donna will keep her place in the back of my closet. For now.
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