Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Sentimental Journey...for my Meta Monday Post!

Thanks goes out to Susan today from "Between Naps On The Porch" for hosting this special fun day! Once you enjoy my Sentimental Journey I'm going to take you on today, don't forget to visit her so you can enjoy everyone elses fabulous Monday shares!

Ok...Here we go! More than 20 years ago I stood in my Grandma's upstairs bedroom (the one I slept in as a child growing up) helping her prepare for her estate sale after my Grandfather died. She was both giving away things to her family...and then selling the rest at the sale. I opened the closet door and stood amazed at seeing this lovely coat hanging in her closet. It was a gift to her back in the early 40's given to her from a beloved friend who was very much like a special mother. She rarely wore the coat, she said she always felt like women stared at her as if she were rich...and so, she just left it hang in her closet. She told me to try it on, I did...and it fit like a glove. The next thing I knew...
....she said, "It's yours"! I stood there in amazement...as I'd never even known my Grandma had this coat...and now it was mine. I wore it a few times, but felt bad that my other sisters didn't get to enjoy it. And, the few times I did wear it...I felt like my Grandma did, "drats" that she told me that story! ;) Many years later....and before she died, I found a dear lady named Elaine, she makes Teddy Bears (they strongly resemble the Steiff bears in design, hump on back, etc...) She travels all over the country selling her bears in special events...and has even been written up in magazines. She custom made me and my family five bears, four male bears and one female. We named the males Claude, after my dad. My dad passed away in 1996, and these bears had an inscription written on a heart shaped fabric that she placed within the bears that read like this, "It's just the way it should have been, all of us together again!". Those were the last words my father spoke to my Mother when our family was all together for the last time when he was dieing of cancer. On 2/23/96, our family (all adults), spent our final evening together enjoying birthday cake for my brother. So, please meet "Claude", he sits to the right of the Wild About You pillow...he's made from my Grandma's coat that looked very similar to the one pictured above.
Elaine Sparkes of "Heart 'n Sole Bear-Rocky Bottom Creations"is the creator of Claude, and hundreds of other little bears out in the world, I'm sure. All of Claude's limbs are jointed, including his head. He's made from recycled fur, poly filled, muslin lined, suede pads and internal heart, and has glass eyes. "Claude" resides in our master suite, on the bed. He enjoys the room since it already has animal prints here and there...kinda makes him feel at home. Below is a closer look of the room he shares with my Beloved and me. The pic is intentionally taken in the evening with dim light so you can enjoy the chandelier in the mirror over the bed, he loves the chandy! ;)
Sometimes Claude likes to sit on the hand made bench that my dad made at the foot of the bed. It seems natural that he'd make that one of his favorite places to sleep when we kick him off the bed as we crawl in, since my dad is his namesake! ;)
One more view of our room that we share with Claude~
Thanks for coming on my "Sentimental Journey" on this Meta Monday post! It's always a warm fuzzy moment for me when I can recall my Grandma giving me her coat...and remembering how I was able to "multiply" her love to my sisters, mother, and daughter. We all share a piece of the fabric of this story now, literally! And Claude will always remind me of the final evening our family spent together laughing in our home together, "Just the way it should have been, all of us together again", as my Daddy said. ;)
Till next Meta Monday....don't forget to sneak a peek at the others over at Susan's by clicking on the link above! ~CC

45 comments:

Susan said...

Awww..what a neat thing to do with a coat... I don't think I ever would have thought of that!

Love the room he shares with you too

Susan

Wendy said...

At first I was, "No!, you can't cut up your grandmother's coat!" But after reading the rest of the story, I think that coat was meant to be made into bears for each of your family. That has to be the most touching story I have read. That bear will be something you cherish for the rest of your life.

Wendy :)

ellen b said...

Oh CC! What a wonderful way to enjoy your grandmother's gift. Claude is fabulous. I loved your story!!

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

What a lovely story and wonderful way to remember your grandmother! Beautiful!!

tardevil said...

Think it's cool that you were able to find someone that could make the bear for you! How nice!

mbkatc230 said...

What a sweet story. I imagine your grandmother would be thrilled with the ultimate fate of her coat, I just love that everyone got to share in it. What a beautiful bear he is, what a wonderful "metamorphosis". Kathy

Terri and Bob said...

THere is a woman in our town who is famous for the same bear making talent. She is going to make bears for me from my dad's flannel shirts for gifts for christmas this year. Dad passed on in March 2007. Thank you for sharing your family's stories.

prof en retraite said...

Oh CC...what a sweet idea for that coat! That way it can be enjoyed by everyone! I really think your bear is sooo special! Thanks for sharing such a touching story! Hugs...Debbie

Kathy said...

What a fabulous thing to do with your grandmothers coat! Your story was very sweet.
Kathy

Blondie's Journal said...

Catherine...I was so touched reading this sentimental story. It was written as if it belonged in a magazine. I bet you are just so in love with that bear, I just can't get over what you did with that coat!! Wonderful!

Thanks so much for sharing this story with us. It must have been a little hard but it sure had a sweet ending. :-) I also adore your bedroom!

xoxo
Jane

pammiejo said...

What a great story! A treasure that will surely go on for generations! I loved it! PAM

marty39 said...

What a touching story. I have a coat that I don't wear because I too feel like your grandma. You made a wonderful decision to share this fabulous piece with your entire family. The bears are just perfect and the internal heart is priceless. Thanks for sharing such a warm and inspiring story. Hugs, Marty

Dixie's Whimsey said...

what a great story! Claude is so handsome... probably just like his namesake!

hugs. Dixie

BECKY said...

Precious story, Catherine, and I'm glad I popped in to read it! What a sweet teddy rememberance! I enjoyed my visit...I'll be back soon!
Blessings,
Becky

Kathy said...

I wanted to let you know that you've been mentioned in my post today. Have a perfectly wonderful week!
xo...Kathy

xinex said...

What a wonderful story! And how nice of you to share the coat with your siblings in the form of teddy bears...Christine

claudie said...

OH CC
I love CLAUDE I do.
My girlfriend in Vancouver used to make bears from recycled fur.
Happy MET
Love Claudie (Claude-tte)
xo

Valerie@travelingthrough2 said...

Okay, that was a wonderfully touching story. Yes, I cried. I am composed now. I am so glad you were able to share the love!
Valerie

Cynthia said...

CC,
I had tears in my eyes after reading this wonderful post! What a lovely idea and a lovely post. Thank-you, Cindy

carolinajewel said...

What a sweet thing for you to do for your family! Claude is a cutie and sounds like you get to enjoy lots more than you would a coat!!! :D Jewel

Margaret said...

ok..its too darn early for tears! What a touching story and a great way for you to share with your family..

Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) said...

Catherine,
Claude is adorable! So neat you were all able to share your grandmother's coat this way. Very sweet, touching story about your Dad...I know he is very much missed.
Susan

Ma'dame French said...

What a wonderful way to keep a memory....he's precious;) French

Kimm at Reinvented said...

What a fantastic idea to spread the love of a special gift. I loved the story, thanks for sharing.

Carrie said...

What a wonderful story....the teddy bear is very special.

KD said...

What a beautiful sentiment and a beautiful story to go with it. Thanks you for sharing.

Steph said...

What a great heirloom you have created with the bears. They are gorgeous!

Cami @ Creating Myself said...

What a special, special bear! How wise you were to make-over your grandmother's coat this way.

Kim Chalfant said...

I love this story. I collect teddy bears & I have an old fur coat that was my Grandma's that just sits in my closet. I may just have to see about turning it into some bears to share with the rest of my family. That is a brilliant idea. Thanks!

Lori said...

What a wonderful story thanks for sharing!

Terry & Dennis Macri said...

What a wonderful story and how clever of you to get bears made to share your Grandmothers coat. I am going to see if I have any clothing that was my Mothers or Fathers. I might try maiking a Christmas decoration for all of us. Great Idea you had. Thank you!!

Linda said...

Wonderful story and great thing to do with the coat!
Linda Q

Design Ties said...

You know, CC... I'm not a big fan of real fir coats, but when it's a family heirloom I completely understand the importance and sentimentality associated with the item. In fact, I have a fir stoll stored away that belonged to my Great Grandma. So you see? I get it! What I wanted to tell you for sure, though, is that I loved how you re-used that coat to create momentos for other members of your family!! Ever time I come across my GG's stoll I wonder what the heck I'm going to do with it. I refuse to send it to good will! You've definitely given me an idea worth considering!

Thanks for sharing such a touching, personal story!!
Victoria (one half of Design Ties)

Lavender Dreamer said...

What a wonderful sentimental journey! And what a precious keepsake! I love him and the memories you've shared. He will be treasured for years to come! Thanks for inviting my back!

paintergal said...

What a great way to remember your grandmother. Love it!

janet said...

aww what a sweet story, im just learning about this Meta monday, what an awesome idea. I loved your story and your room is so pretty, love the chandy above the bed too
hugs
janet

Misti of Studio M Designs said...

That is a wonderful way to remember your Claude. How very sweet. Now I am thinking about my grandfather and all of his funny beachy shirts. Hmmm....You've got my wheels turning!
Thanks for sharing this wonderful memento.
~Misti

Meadowsweet Days said...

CC~ What a beautiful story.... such a lovely way for your family to remember your Grandmother! Your bedroom looks so pretty, I especially love your headboard and footboard!

Carol

Yellow Rose Arbor said...

I enjoyed hearing the story about Claude, he's so pretty!

Nice bedroom too!

Katherine

Belinda said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderful family story! I love how Claude is your father's namesake, and I am so charmed by how you turned your Grandmother's beautiful coat into 5 sweet teddy bears, shared by your beloved family. How delightful, and what an absolutely PERFECT idea. And Claude the bear is adorable. :-)

Pam said...

What a great story! My Mom was given a rabbit coat in the late 60's or early 70's. She kept in the closet for years, rarely wearing it. In the 90's she had a bear made out of it. She died in 2005 and now I have the bear. It is treasured. :)

Alisa Lucas-Brown said...

Hi CC :)
Oh what a wonderful story and what a wonderful idea! That is so very special and thank you for sharing that. It sounds like you have had a very close relationship with your Grandmother. I was close with my Grandma too. I miss her so much! I love to have things around me, out where I can see them and use them that make me think of her. Your Teddy Bear is incredible!!!
Warmly,
Alisa - Carolina Panache

Rose Haven said...

What a lovely thing to do...and thanks for sharing the story!

~Blessings,
Jan

Kathleen Ellis said...

I remember this sweet story and how cool I thought it was that you shared your grandma's coat with everyone!
It really was the BEST thing to do with it!
xo

lvroftiques said...

Oh my goodness what a wonderful story! I'm tearing up! What a lovely gift from your grandmother which became another equally beautiful gift. And a reminder of your dear father. Now that's one fabulous bear! Vanna