Who made Marianne?

by CC
(San Francisco, CA, USA)

Marianne front

Marianne front

This is Marianne, my bear. I received her at my 4th birthday party from my friend in January of 1991 in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA. When I first received her, she was a golden brown color, so I immediately deemed her to be a California Grizzly Bear. It helped that I had just learned about the California Grizzlies and had visited the UC Berkeley campus where my uncle was a student.

Marianne came with a black piece of yarn tied in a bow around her neck. Based on the year I received her (and she was brand new), I am assuming she's made of a poly fur with a fairly high pile. She did receive at least one non-uniform body fur trims from me one year when I thought her hair was getting too long (oh, the imagination of a 5-year-old!). I was definitely a bit scissor-happy that year and cut off her tag, which was located on her left leg. There are still remnants of the beige woven tag because of my lack of fully developed scissor cutting motor skills.

Marianne is about 15-16" in length when she is lying down without stretching flat. Marianne is a soft stuffed bear with stuffing all the way from her head to her main body, arms, and legs. She has no seams that connect her arms and leg to her main body. Her ears are not stuffed, as far as I can tell. She has black fur accents in her ears, on all four paws, on her nose, and that same black fur for her eyes. She has no tail. Her mouth is in that upside-down T-shape that goes down from her nose then meets her lips that go out in a mildly rounded smile, and it's made from a black 4-ply yarn. She has no hard plastic or metal
parts and no movable joints.

When I was 4 years old with my new bear, I didn't know what to name her at first. The only thing I knew about her was that I believed she was a California Grizzly Bear (the last one still alive in the world!). My mom wanted me to give her a boy's name, my dad wanted me to name her after Yogi the Bear's sidekick "Boo-boo", and my sister wanted me to go with the old standby "Mr. Bear." Well, after about a week or two of thinking and hearing these suggestions over and over again, I untied her unfeminine string bowtie and named Marianne. I thought she spoke French - which is why I didn't spell her name "Mary Ann," and also why I thought it took me so long to figure out her name.

Over the last 25 years of being my best friend, Marianne has put up with all my wacky shenanigans. From getting powdered and diapered, to being forced into baby clothes, to being smushed like a pillow every night, to hundreds of tumbles through the washing machine, to hiking and camping trips, to university, to being jammed into my carry-ons, to being taken to haute cuisine restaurants and nightclubs in my purse, to being adopted by my spouse, to being smothered with love by our dog Roxie, Marianne's gone through it all with me. Marianne has also traveled with me around the world, from 12 different states in the US, to Mexico, Canada, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Jamaica, and way more to come.

As much time as I spend with Marianne, I don't know where she's from! If anyone's seen a bear like Marianne or know who or where bears like here were made/sold, please let me know. I've done several searches and can't find where she came from!

Thank you,

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