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I tear up

"My first friend was Laughing Ted. At one point, far earlier than my memory reaches, he was probably a vibrant shade of blue/green and very soft. I'm sure my parents must have bought him for me when I was a year or two old, but my earliest memory of him is when I was five or six. He got his name because his mouth and nose were one piece of molded rubbery plastic and he appeared to be laughing all the time. Laughing Ted and I were very close. He knew all of my hopes and dreams and kept the Boogie Man away at night. Even when I learned how to lie, I didn't lie to Ted.

But as I became a “big boy” of six, Laughing Ted had lost his fur and much of his stuffing. One of his arms, the one I'm told I sucked on when I was teething, was just a stub that had been sewn back on numerous times by my mother. Our dog had vomited on him more than once and he'd been through the brutal wash and rinse cycles of early '70s washing machines more times than my understanding of math at that point allowed me to count. He was still beautiful to me, but not to anyone else and I knew it. My father had a few talks with me about how, someday, I'd have to say goodbye to Laughing Ted. I didn't take those conversations very well, so Ted remained.

When I was seven, we moved. Laughing Ted was somehow “lost” in the move. As an adult, I know my parents made an executive decision about my relationship with Ted. But as a seven year old, I was panicked. I knew that nobody that found him would understand his value. That he would just be thrown away and lost forever. He was my friend and he was out there all alone and scared. And how was I going to sleep at night?

To this day, if I see an abandoned teddy bear, I tear up."

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