Not Just for Kids

 Vol. 10, No. 50

December 12-18, 2002

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Not Just for Kids
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Not Just for Teddy Bears
Teddy Turns 100

Teddy Bear, America’s favorite stuffed animal, is turning 100 years old.

Nowadays, just about everybody has a Teddy bear. Teddies aren’t just for kids, either. Grown-ups find they haven’t outgrown the warm, fuzzy comfort Teddies give.

But toys weren’t always so warm, friendly and fuzzy. Nineteenth-century American toys were hard, made of wood and tin and china. Then, about the turn of the last century, a German toymaker stumbled — by way of a stuffed pincushion shaped like an elephant — on the idea of making stuffed animals as toys. Bears were one of those animals. But those were just any bears. Teddy was to be somebody special.

Back in America, in November of 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt (in office 1901-1909) was visiting in the state of Louisiana. Teddy, as the president was called, was a great outdoorsman, and it’s to him we owe the creation of our national parks. He was also a hunter, and while in Louisiana he hoped to shoot a bear. But when finally he came on a bear, he refused to shoot it. Some say it was too old; others that it was just a cub, and too young.

With the president that day was Clifford Berryman, a famous editorial cartoonist, a kind of artist who draws for newspapers cartoons that make a political point. The president’s refusal to shoot the bear inspired a cartoon called “Teddy draws the line.” It was printed in the Washington Post, and soon the story of the president and the bear became famous.

So famous that soon toymakers everywhere were sewing and stuffing Teddy bears. Everybody wanted one, and so many were made that, even today, nobody’s sure just which was the first Teddy bear. All were brown or tan or black and fuzzy. Some had stitched eyes and nose and mouth, and some had buttons. Some had arms and legs with bendable joints, and some were all of one piece. Even today, when Teddies come in all sorts of styles and colors and dresses, you still see bears that look like the first ones, and all those bears are our Teddies.

What other bears are American?

Panda Bear?
Woolly Bear?
Grizzly Bear?
Black Bear?

Three of those bears are American. But one of them isn’t a bear at all.

Pandas are natives of China, though some of them live in American zoos, and you can see a pair, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Pandas are a critically endangered species, with only about 1,100 in the wild, found only in central China.

Woolly bears are furry black caterpillars with brown stripes that will eventually become Tiger butterflies. They’re very American, and we see them crawling all about in autumn. It’s said the furrier they get, the colder the winter will be.Go find one next autumn and make your own prediction.

Grizzly bears are also American natives.They are also the biggest of all bears, or more specifically, Kodiak bears are the biggest. Grizzlies live in the mountains and grassy wilderness.

Black bears are also American. Well, some of them are. There are American black bears and Asiatic black bears. You are far more likely to come across a black bear than a grizzly bear in the U.S.

Calling All 2002 Babies!

We’re collecting pictures of Bay Weekly’s newest readers to spotlight on our last “Not Just for Kids” page of the year. Do you know a baby born in Chesapeake Country since December 25, 2001? Send your favorite baby picture (with baby’s and parents’ name, address and baby’s birthdate and weight)

Mail to: Bay Weekly, P.O. Box 358, Deale MD 20751 (original photos will be returned)

E-mail: [email protected] (digital photos must be sent in .TIF or .JPEG format at 150 dpi, no smaller than 3 inches wide).

We’ll send family and baby a souvenir copy!

Photos must be received by Wednesday, December 18.

Kids Stuff

Saturday, December 14
Winter Festival of Lights
Wander Watkins by car and peek at a lighted showcase of over one-half million lights. Ages 3-10 can visit w/Santa and make crafts, 2-6pm at the Nature Center, $4. Can food donations greatly appreciated. Thru Jan. 5. 5pm-9:30pm @ Upper Marlboro. $5/car: 301/699-2456.

Breakfast with Santa
Sit down to a hearty breakfast w/Santa Claus and the cast of The Talent Machine Company as they spread holiday magic. Breakfast 9am @ Buddy’s Crabs & Ribs, Annapolis. $10.95; rsvp: 410/956-0512.

Music Hall’s Kids’ Holiday Treat the kids to lots of songs and crazy antics in Charlotte’s Holiday Adventure. Includes lunch.Doors 11:30am; lunch noon; show 12:30pm @ Chesapeake Music Hall, 339 Busch’s Frontage Rd., Annapolis. $10; rsvp:

Copyright 2002
Bay Weekly