Brian (my Animal Fair yellow bear)
Brian the bear
As far as I know, my bear Brian is not a rare antique or a valuable collectable. His white fabric tag has become worn and faded over the years, but I can still read the words...
Animal Fair Product
Sewn In Korea
But I thought his yellow fur, plus the white and orange checkered fabric on his feet and inner ears, were unusual enough for inclusion here. He also has a dark brown, smooth plastic nose that I can't look at without thinking 'chocolate drop'. His eyes are brown, almost amber, with large black pupils.
I don't remember exactly where I got Brian. He was one of the many stuffed animals that I had growing up in the 1980s and 1990s. To be honest, I've had Brian for so long that I can't remember a time when he wasn't there. But that doesn't mean he always held such a big place in my heart.
Brian's story really started one summer, when my mom was packing my things for sleep-away camp. Since I was going to be away from home I wanted to take a stuffed animal with me. But I didn't want to bring any of my favorites because I was worried they'd end up dirty or bug infested or otherwise destroyed. I wanted someone, I hate to say it, disposable, someone I could get rid of if need be without feeling heartbroken. So I grabbed Brian.
Brian survived sleep-away camp just fine, although my mom insisted that he take a trip through the washing machine and the dryer when he got home, just to be safe. The heat from the dryer must have puffed up his stuffing, because his head and tummy were much rounder when he came out. Brian was quite a bit...flatter before that.
Anyway, after sleep-away camp Brian became my go to travel buddy. If I was going to be sleeping away from home, Brian came with me. I remember bringing him to a sleepover at a friend's house. He accompanied me on family vacations. He sat on the bed in my dorm room. And because he was always there for me, he became one of my favorites.
I picked the name Brian for him simply because he looked like a Brian to me. That was the day I'd gotten it into my head to name all my stuffed animals, whether they were favorites or not.