This is a true story written by my husband. The story is about my mother Alice (Great Grandma) and Taylor (Grand baby) when she young. Taylor had a stuffed animal that she carried with her all the time. It was actually a cow called “Mooey”. For simplicity purposes, we called it a teddy bear. Enjoy!
Great Grandma was taking her nearly two-year old great Grand Baby, our “Grand Baby”, to the Laundromat. Grand baby had her favorite teddy bear with her, THE teddy bear. No other teddy bear or toy, or form of comfort would do when Grand Baby was crying or sad, only this, exact, teddy. So this teddy went everywhere with Grand Baby: in the crib, out of the crib, in the high chair, out of the high chair. Teddy was Grand Baby’s nearly constant companion: inside and outside, dragged behind on floors, sidewalks, and parking lots, in cars and out of cars, on lawns, in shopping carts, everywhere. Teddy started out white and yellow and had developed a deep (and lovely to Grand Baby), gray patina, like that of a dust mop. Teddy was covered from the top of her frazzled head to the bottom of her frayed feet with nearly two years of love and grime. Grand Baby was not selfish about Teddy, she was generous. Grand Baby would offer her precious, precious Teddy to you: as a sign of trust, as a gesture of affection, or just to hold. It might be your honor to hold Teddy for Grand Baby at those times when Grand Baby’s own little arms were too tired to hold her dear Teddy, anymore… though… you might have to give Teddy back immediately if, filled with second thoughts, Grand Baby stretched a single arm back out at you..
Great Grandma was sitting in the Laundromat, readying the clothes to be cleaned, when she glanced over at Teddy. Poor Teddy was gray where she should be white, a pale dirty yellow where she should be a bright, sunshine color. Great Grandma felt sorry for Teddy and had an idea. Teddy was here, in the Laundromat. Teddy, poor Teddy, should be washed…and dried! For the moment, Grand Baby was otherwise occupied. Teddy was left unguarded, unheld. Teddy looked up at Great Grandma, Teddy’s big button-eyes practically begged Great Grandma, “Wash me, wash me please.” Great Grandma slipped Teddy into the washing machine, hiding Teddy in with some clothes. Great Grand Baby was quiet, Great Grandma was stealthy and careful, and Teddy was not yet missed. All was well. The washer began to cycle: wash, rinse, wash, rinse, spin, rinse, spin. Teddy was washed, Teddy survived. Still, Teddy was not missed. Great Grandma put the load of wet clothes into the big front loaded dryer; you know the kind, one with a big round front door with a large, clear, tempered glass window so you can see if your dryer load is behaving properly. Great Grandma started the dryer. The load, and Teddy, began tumbling. Still, Teddy was NOT missed. The clothes started to dry, and as the dryer load dried and the weight grew lighter, the clothes, and Teddy, began to tumble faster and faster. That was the moment when, suddenly, Grand Baby missed Teddy.
“Where’s TEDDY?” came the panicked little cry.
What was Great Grandma to do? Fear clutched her heart. Guilt racked her. What to do? What to say? A long, painful silence ensued. “There’s Teddy!” Great Grandma exclaimed, turning Grand Baby toward the big glass door where Teddy’s face could be seen plastered up against the glass, while Teddy’s little arms flapped. “See, there’s Teddy, right there.” Great Grandma’s finger and arm stretched out and moved in a repeating arch as Great Grandma endeavored to point out Teddy’s trajectory to the now weeping Grand Baby.
But Teddy’s face wasn’t always there. Tumbling in the dryer, Teddy would appear and disappear, appear then disappear, into and out of the other clothes in the load. Sometimes Teddy would appear suddenly, in startlingly awkward poses, her little Teddy face squashed and distorted horrifically as it pressed against the glass. Appear, disappear, arms and back, hands and feet, round and round Teddy went and Grand Baby was horrified.
“WAAAAAAHHHHHHH!” Teddy’s face kept popping in and out of Grand Baby’s field of view. Grand Baby’s eyes teared up and her throat choked up, and with each appearance and disappearance another wail would come out. Now you see her, now you don’t, face flattened against the glass, now it’s gone. Teddy’s arms: now you see them, now you don’t….Side views, back views, horrible, horrible, horrible,
Grand Baby had to act, and act she did. Heroically, Grand Baby marched up, opened the dryer door, and grabbed her beloved Teddy in mid-flight, hauling her out of the dryer. Clutching Teddy protectively in both arms, Grand Baby ran away.
But Great Grandma followed in hot pursuit for Teddy, Great Grandma had discovered, was not dry!
I will spare you, dear reader, the sights, the sounds, the horrors, of their brief, intensely fought battle. But know this, Grand Baby and Great Grandma both struggled valiantly for their respective causes. Know too, that, soon, Teddy was back in the dryer.
Eventually (a long eventually), Grand Baby and Teddy were reunited, baby arms reached out, baby tears stained anew the freshly laundered ears, baby slobber soaked once again into Teddy’s face. The sad, sorry, soulful look on Grand Baby’s face spoke of the drama, of the separation, the betrayal, the shock, the rescue, the battle, the defeat, the reunion, and the slow, hard process of healing that had just begun. Grand Baby and Teddy had somehow, someway, endured.
“What of Great Grandma? What,” the curious reader might ask, “will happen to her?”
Well…revenge, as any Grand Baby will tell you, is a dish best eaten cold.
Between The Dashes