Sunday, May 11, 2008

That Was No Picnic For This Teddy Bear

Last night we went to the Confederation Centre to see a Charlottetown Rural High School play. It was very good with great acting, singing, music and of course costumes.
With a lot of things it triggered a memory of mine and a play we did at the WI Hall many years ago.
Our old school on Linden Avenue has been torn down, Bull Dog Demolition completed the job. Dick McGuigan’s company. A good Parkdale boy too!! Lucky for him "Chief" wasn't around.

In back of the school was the WI Hall which is long gone after catching fire some years ago.

As I related in previous stories, this old hall was the scene of many concerts and events for many years and was the centre of entertainment for Parkdale.
I’m thinking back now to a particular school concert we held there probably in late spring,
I recall it was quite warm in the hall.

Our class was putting on a play and I was to dress up as a Bear.
There was no Value Village or Froggies in this era, in fact there was no such thing as giving away old clothing. Even our underwear was handed down from oldest to youngest, thank goodness I had older brothers as well as sisters.

I remember telling Mother I needed a costume for the play and I was to be a Bear.
Mother had many things to get accomplished before worrying about a costume.
We practised the play and my Teacher would enquire how my costume was coming along and I’d Say
“OK, I guess”
The day arrived and I still didn’t have a costume and I continued to ask Mom to make me one. Finally she sent me down to the store to but a 10cent package of RITT DYE, dark brown. At last I would get my costume.
Remember we were a family of 8 kids , me being the last, so their was neither extra time nor money for wasteful things like costumes
Much to my horror Mother came down stairs with an old pair of Long Johns, you know the kind, the ones with the trap door on the rear end. She dyed the underwear brown and hung them on the clothes line to dry.

Next she sent me upstairs to fetch my old Teddy Bear, the one I was supposed to have grown too old to play with, does anyone ever get too old to love their Teddy Bear?

She took the Teddy and cut his head off and pulled out the stuffing.
I ‘m still shaking at the sight of my Teddy being killed in front of my eyes.
Off we walked to the Hall and mom and I went in the kitchen to get me dressed.
It was full of other kids putting on their costumes over their clothes, boys and girls. Mom told me to strip down to my shorts!
I recall Brenda Mutlow and her Mother were there.

“No way not in front of these girls”!

“Don’t be so foolish, they can’t see you”!
Yea right.
I obeyed Mother and stripped down to my underwear, actually they were probably Niall’s or Gord’s old pair.

I pulled on my “costume” knowing full well it was really an old pair of Long John’s dyed brown with a faulty trap door just waiting to open and expose me to the world .

This was not going to fool anyone!

I then placed the eviscerated head of my recently departed Teddy over my head and stumbled on to the stage for my bit part.

All I recall is realizing there I am , standing in front of all those people in my underwear wearing my Teddy’s head over mine.

It is an eerie feeling looking out from in side the body of your recently departed best friend feeling your warm breath filling the cavity and imagining your Teddy is coming to life and has eaten me in revenge.
I didn’t think I could make it through that afternoon with out dying of humiliation , but I guess I did, with a minium of mental scars.

I must Google Freud on this one and see if it explains any part of me.

That day was no picnic for this Teddy Bear.


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