Once upon a time there was a brown teddy bear. Not a particularly well-made teddy bear, either. Just the kind you saw on the shelves at Bradlees or Ames, or Korvettes, or any of the other pre-Wal-Mart discount stores.Something to bring home to a child or a girlfriend or someone recovering from the flu. In 1979, it cost probably something around $5.99. Not much, but even so, if you were going to bring it to a child or a flu patient, you’d make sure that, at $5.99, it had all its parts, right? Not in my case. If you were in the aisle of Bradlees or Korvettes and you saw a 9″ Pot Belly Teddy Bear, Brown, that was MISSING ITS RIGHT EYE, you wouldn’t buy it, right? Or maybe you’d ask the manager if you could have it for $3.99; I don’t know, I’ve never haggled and I’ve never learned how.

Well, my sister and I not only bought that Daekor 9″ Pot Belly Teddy Bear, Brown, with the missing right eye, but we picked that one specifically, paid full price, and then went home and dug through my sister’s craft supplies until we found a teddy bear eye, brown, and she took her long upholsterers’ needle and gave Misfit an eye, so he wasn’t really Misfit any more, except he was always Misfit. Still is, in fact.

Misfit might indeed have two eyes, but they are slightly off. It looks like he’s blown a pupil, but that’s just a minor size difference between the two plastic eyes. I described it to myself in my journal that afternoon in terms something like this: “He’s looking at me kind of carefully, because one of his eyes is Not Like The Other.”

I wasn’t exactly a child in 1979, either. I was fourteen.

So Misfit stayed with me, into my marriage. The first time Misfit tipped his head and asked my (not yet) husband something, he raised one eyebrow and said, “You are not really going to make that bear talk to me, are you?”

Fifteen or so years later, Misfit talked in his voice more than in mine.

There was a tricky stretch in 1999 when we had “sold” our condo except the person who “bought” it disappeared, but in the meantime we were having a house built which was supposed to be ready in October but actually didn’t get a C of O until December and we moved all our stuff into (expensive climate controlled because of the antique upright grand piano which I am STILL trying to sell thank you very much) storage and moved into a furnished garden apartment behind Morristown Memorial Hospital so in essence we had 1) an empty condo 2) expensive climate controlled storage 3) a furnished apartment with only summer clothing and two pairs of shoes 4) an unfinished home. And then Hurricane Floyd came and there was eleven feet of water in the basement of the garden apartment and we had to evacuate and we had four places costing us and nowhere to stay. But anyway, during the storage time, the fuzzy friends stayed in big green trash bags in my parents’ spare room (and when you ask why we didn’t spend Hurricane Floyd in my parents’ spare room, we tried all the east-bound highways, 80 and 78 and 24, and they were all flooded) and so one day when we were talking about how uncomfortable we were in our one-bedroom apartment with two pairs of shoes and somebody said, in a high squeaky voice, “You think you have it hard, I have Misfit’s heinie on my head.” And I asked, “Who said that?” and the voice replied, “Everybody.”

Well he does have a large round heinie.

Misfit is back in the bag again, but due to The Dog That Chews and Has Eaten a Pooh Bear’s Face Off, not due to my moving. I miss Misfit. I miss hearing his voice.

So this morning the Vermont Teddy Bear company sent me this email, here’s a screen clip…

MisfitI’ve been crying a lot today.