The Secret Lives of Stuffed Animals

When I was little, I loved stuffed animals. They were my pals, and I slept with them all every night. In fact, I still have Percy, my first stuffed bear. These days he is in our office on the top shelf, surveying the Internet along with me.

Remember how, when you got a brand new teddy bear, that he/she always had a red felt tongue? When I was growing up, it was a Christmas tradition for me to bring my tongue-less stuffed animals to my grandparents’ house on Christmas Eve. When I woke up in the morning, they all had new tongues! (Thanks, Ba!)

Whenever I received a new stuffed animal, I always asked my mother to name it for me. I felt that I wouldn’t be able to come up with a suitable name on my own. Once someone gave me an enormous red and white bear, and Mom suggested that he looked like a “Ulysses.” It sounded like “Julysis” to me, so “Julysis” it was for all time.

Whenever I was afraid at night, thinking of the usual cast of monsters, I would put Julysis on top of me, facing up. That way, I figured, if a monster did  come into my room, they would only see a big red and white bear in the bed.

The best name Mom ever came up with was for my stuffed toy raccoon; she named him “Calhoun the Maroon Raccoon.” Perfect, as he really was maroon and white. There were many more, and sadly I do not remember them all….which makes me think of that lovely and sad song from the movie “Toy Story.” It was called “When She Loved Me,” written by Sarah McLachlan:

“When somebody loved me
Everything was beautiful
Every hour spent together
Lives within my heart.

And when she was sad
I was there to dry her tears
And when was happy so was I
When she loved me.


Through the summer and the fall
We had each other that was all
Just she and I together
Like it was meant to be.


And when she was lonely
I was there to comfort her
And I knew that she loved me.


So the years went by
I stayed the same
But she began to drift away
I was left alone
Still I waited for the day
When she’d say I will always love you.


Lonely and forgotten
Never thought she’d look my way
And she smiled at me and held me
Just like she used to do
Like she loved me
When she loved me.


When somebody loved me
Everything was beautiful
Every hour spent together
Lives within my heart
When she loved me.”


But I do love the memory of all my old buddies, and all they meant to me. I think that somewhere in our hearts, our old stuffed pals are with us still.