It’s been a wonderful and blessed life to be teddy bear makers. We have met so many delightful, gracious, open hearted people. That kind of stuff is impossible to put a value on.
So I just had a great visit with a lovely couple who came into the shop looking for great teddy bears. That is what we do. But usually it takes a while to pick one out and that gives you time to visit. Dorsey and I were talking while his wife Jo looked at the bears. He had a denim shirt that had 3 Bugs Bunny images embroidered on it.
I complimented him on it. He told me it came the Warner Bros. store in the Twin Towers. He said his daughter had sent it to him and she had sent him many items from that store. Then he told me that she had lost her life there the day the towers came down. she was vice-president of a large insurance company. She was 34 years old and six months pregnant. We visited a long time. They told me about their journey from what I guess you could call the dark back to the light. Their faith, their outlook, the kindness they showed was the real deal. I am thankful to the Good Lord for sending them by my way. It was a day and a story i won't soon forget.
So what do you do when you know you're going to die? Not in the rhetorical sense of that we are all dying. Which is true but irrelevant. But when those who know, have told you, that save for a touch from Jesus, in 6 to 12 months, you'll be dead. What do you do? I do not know what I would do. But I can tell you about one act that someone did, because I saw it. Corinne and Jack came by the shop late Friday afternoon. As always I was glad to see them. They are dear friends and collectors of Stearnsy Bears. Well maybe it's more like this, Corinne loves our bears and Jack loves Corinne. They bought their fist bear when Dad was still alive. And he died in 2001. So we have know them for a while. They are dear and gracious people. So when I saw them on Friday it wasn't a great surprise. But I would soon be surprised. After we had enjoyed greeting each other. Corinne told me she had some stuff for us. I thought maybe she had brought us a few pieces to use on or for bears. But the trunk of the car was full was full of nice pieces and then she brought in in most of the bears she had bought from us over the years. It was dumb question, but I asked what was up? Because over the years we have had people who for different reasons had wanted to sell us back, pieces they had bought from us. Not often, but enough, that I didn't take it personal. But Corinne gave me a bit of a look and said she was giving back to us. Said she thought maybe we could resell them. I didn't understand or know quite what to say. But when she went back out to the car, Jack told me, Corinne had been diagnosed with brain cancer and been told she had 6 to 12 months. Then it became clear, in fact painfully clear. She hadn't even wanted us to know. She came back in and we finished our visit with the smallest of talk. I wanted to ask why but I didn't. So all I did was accept her kindness. We hugged, shook hands and they were gone. But the essence of the act still seems to hang in the store even today. I don't know when Jack and Corinne were believers in what Jesus did. But their act of kindness to us, in the midst of deep trouble, felt like him to me. I know Corinne had mentioned us reselling those bears, but I don't think so. I usually wouldn't compare myself to King David of the scripture. Unless it one of his mighty screw ups. But once David was brought water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem. Water that men risked their lives for. And he refused to drink it but poured it out for an offering to the Lord. Corinne didn't risk her life, but she thought of us with her life on the line. So we'll be keeping those bears here in the shop with the rest of the bears who live here permanently. Here where I will see them daily, here where I can tell others that story. We'll keep them here and we'll think of Corinne and JacK.
Stearnsy Bear History
Ozark Mountain Yeti Bear."Hootin and Hollerin." Which is no more than you would expect from the Ozark Yeti and don't call me, Bigfoot, please. He's my uncle's mother's cousin. Of course many people think only of Nepal when you mention Yeti. Those folks haven't been to the Ozarks. The Ozark branch of the Yetis did originate there. First mentioned in 1832, the James Prinsep's Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal published trekker B. H. Hodgson's account of the Yeti in northern Nepal. That was us. Then in 1959, actor James Stewart, while visiting India, reportedly smuggled remains of a supposed Yeti, the so-called Pangboche Hand, by concealing it in his luggage when he flew from India to London. Wouldn't you have thought better of Jimmy Stewart than that. Over the years the Ozark Yetis have become quite civilized from living in close proximity to the Ozark Mountain Hillbillies. It does rub off. Other than a penchant for hootin and hollerin at inopportune times, the Ozark Yeti is quite well behaved. Just don't take him to any funerals
2015: I am so excited!! See this guy? His name is "Panchito" and he is my newest bear in my collection..he has a great history! When the kids were little--Becca needed a play coat--but money was too tight-the kids' dad's VA benefits had not kicked in yet. I went to town to run a errand for tractor parts--I saw a garage sale--why stop? I only had a bit over 1.00 in change in my purse. I stopped---and I found this little lined Wrangler jacket--.25! Becca wore it and 4 more kids after her. I could never bear to part with it--sometimes I would hang it out--it was always a reminder of how God provides for us. Now two sweet friends have turned the little jacket into a bear for me--and in his chest is a quarter ❤️. Perfect--!! Thank you so much Charles and Vicky Stearns....
1998. These were some of our favorite custom bears. We loved the story behind it. The bears themselves are made from one of two antique wool capes a family brought us. Both of these capes came with their grandmother when she immigrated to America by boat from Denmark Vicky made the outfits the bears are wearing from the other cape. Her given name was Brit Anna and she wore both of these capes on that journey to America. she later decided to "Americianize" her name to Bertha Ann. A family story for a lifetime and lifetime bears as well.