Memory Bears

I hope that you will drop by here to find out about Bonnie’s Memory Bears…
Here’s my letter to my sister-in-law this morning…  but before you read it, here’s a little background…Richard and I have returned to Quartzsite, Arizona.  This little “town” is more or less a wide spot in the road between Phoenix and Los Angeles.  Not much goes on here for about 9 months out of the year.  But, then for 3 months each year, the place is filled to the brim with RVers – trailers, Fifth Wheelers, campers and hundreds of thousands of people – trading, bartering, and selling/buying rocks.  It’s a lot of fun for so many people.
Richard and I have come back to Quartzsite for the last of our days.  Call it the “boomerang” effect or whatever, it’s appropriate we live out what we have left here where we know the washes, the valley of the saquaroes, where the best cold beer is and when the best time is to drop by Silly Al’s for a good home-made pizza.  We keep in touch with our family and friends on this blog mostly…and we watch out for each other.  We wish we had more time left, but with the poisoning running around through our systems the way it has, the loss of weight, and everything else, it’s painfully obvious our days are numbered not by years anymore.  Here’s this morning’s letter to my sister-in-law and good friend…
Good morning Angela – when you’re through reading this email, click on the link above and you’ll meet Bonnie – she makes bears for people who have lost someone who they loved – usually made from the material of something like a blanket or piece of clothing that the person wore and loved.  She calls them “Memory Bears.”  I follow her blog.  At first I thought it seemed a bit nutty, but as I read her blog, I began to understand that it’s a unique “ministry” such as Bonnie calls it – – and can really help children all the way to old people in keeping the memory of someone we love alive in our hearts…
Herc's Quilt

Herc's Quilt

After all these years, as you know, I still have hung on to Hercs patchwork blanket that we got him when Herc was here between January 1st and the day he died.  Towards the end of January there was an auction and potluck held out at the little park across the street from the Quartzsite Town Hall.  We all went because it was a chamber event and as director of the chamber of commerce, I had “duty” whenever there was an event that the chamber sponsored.

It was a beautiful day out, with a typical small town potluck . . . the tables were filled with tons of casseroles, homemade salads, deviled eggs, and a big BBQ.  During lunch we were entertained by a kind of homely bunch doing country music (remember; I didn’t have much to chose from here!).  At 4 p.m. sharp,  the auction began. 
You know, I think that’s the last time I saw Herc really eat much or smile – –  it was one of those recognizably “good days” – he ate quite a bit, and you could tell he was relaxed and enjoying the sun and outdoors that afternoon at the park. 
By then, most of the town people knew Herc and he was dying of cancer, and he had made quite a few friends in the community. You know Herc…he was usually on first name basis with anyone he met within hours of meeting…
Herc's Quilt and "Deli" the Cat

Herc's Quilt and "Deli" the Cat

It was an afternoon of smiles, pats on the back, handshaking between neighbors, and just a darned good day in many ways.

When the auction started, your brother (and my crazy husband!) Richard was on one side of the bandstand and I was on the other.  A patchwork blanket came up for auction that was made by Hercs cousin’s sister-in-law (one of the Sanderson’s relatives).  I started bidding on it, several other people bid on it, and a guy on the other side of the bandstand were all bidding on it…I was determined to get that damned blanket, so I just kept the bidding going until it got ridiculously high.  And, I won the item. 
The reason I wanted that patchwork quilt was because I wanted to give it to Herc.  He needed something “personal” in the room he had at our place, and since he was usually laying around on the couch or in bed, I thought that quilt was perfect for him. 
Once I won the quilt, it was time to “pay the piper.”  Herc went over with me when I walked over to pay for it and pick it up at the end of the auction.  I turned around and handed it to him and told him to consider it his because, it was our gift to him and I knew he didn’t want anyone else to have it because it was made by his family (small darned world . . . we had commented on that several times!).
Herc’s eyes swelled up with tears of thanks, and we hugged.  Seconds later, Richard showed up, stomping mad.  “I bid on that quilt, and some lady on the other side of the bandstand got it…I really wanted to get it for Herc,” he whined.  Just then he noticed Herc and saw that Herc had the quilt in his hands.  The light dawned for Richard, and he realized “that lady” he bid against was me all along!  We all got a good laugh about it, and Herc treasured that blanket to the night he died.
Through the last 15 years we have held onto the blanket.  Today I’m feeling just a little selfish about it.  I’m thinking of parts of that quilt being made into memory bears for family might be just the right thing.  Perhaps we could use some  Memory Bears to remind us all that Herc had a soft side to him, and share in keeping his important memory alive. 
What do you think?  Shall we do it?  I have a feeling that you’ll say “yes.”

4 thoughts on “Memory Bears

    • It IS neat, huh?! I think sometimes we forget to share…it’s easy to do when you’re in any kind of pain, yourself. We concentrate on beating off the “bad” days, and that’s when I look around at blogs from others about reconnecting with our friends and family. I think Bonnie’s Memory Bears is a terrific idea – – not just another scam . . .something really from the heart. Thanks for dropping by our site.

  1. Patti….I think this is one of the BEST ideas ever. Sandy and I would love to have a “HERC” bear from the memory quilt Please keep us informed on the progress of this. Praying for you two, love you…. Carol and Sandy

    • Hi Carol, let’s do it! I’m preparing the quilt – needs cleaning, etc. and will ship it to Memory Bears! I’m glad to you found us on the internet; send a personal email sometime so us at richardandpattiredd at gmail dot com (I put it that way because of spammers, but I am sure you get the idea! Two things: can you pitch in any money for bears – I believe they are $60.00 each. We will pay for shipment, etc., but are unable to afford the cost of the bear….let us know? What do you think about having two more made for Herc’s sons, Jake and Mack? …or would they appreciate it. I will leave that decision up to you and Angela, okay? Give us a call sometimee after you private-email us and I send you are new email telephone numbers, okay?! It’s wonderful to hear from you and Sandy. Love, R&P

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