Please look after this bear. Thank you.
This was one of the first things that I ever learned to read, and it’s stuck with me ever since. True to those deeply entrenched Anglophile sentiments that my family planted within me when I was quite the wee pup, I have loved that beautiful, clumsy, fluffy, bumbling, well-intentioned bear from darkest Peru for many years. He was one of the first stuffed animals I ever received. His were some of the first books my aunts ever gave me (right along with Peter Rabbit!). I still have my copies of A Bear Called Paddington and Paddington at the Beach. More importantly, though, is that I just discovered that there’s a Paddington anthology! I might just have to snag a copy of this. I think it would look lovely next to my Roald Dahl anthology.
I’ve also just discovered that the original stop-motion Paddington Bear series is now available here in the States! This is one of the most wonderful Flashback Friday discoveries I’ve made in a very long time (of course, it’s also been quite a while since I had a flashback…hmm.)
My first Paddington Bear is still around, somewhere in storage at my parents’ house. His little rain coat is tattered and the button holes are torn. He’s even sadly missing his little tag asking me to please look after him. I think even his hat might be missing as well. He was a well-loved little bear. He’s also a bear with company. On my first trip to London, I came across a store in Covent Garden, which has sadly gone out of business since, that sold all kinds of things pertaining to the Beatrix Potter animals and Paddington. I bought a Squirrel Nutkin Christmas ornament for my mom and a Paddington Bear plush for myself. He’s still fully clothed and tagged…even still has his price tag because I’m such a sad little Anglophile that the pound symbol on the tag amuses me each time I see it.
I remember the first time I got the chance to take a train from Paddington Station. It was a squee-worthy day, indeed, made even more so by the fact that there was someone dressed as Paddington Bear strolling among commuters who barely flinched at the sight, as though it was the most normal thing in the world. Sadly, though, I didn’t have enough time to find one of the Paddington statues located around the station. Having a photo of me with a bronze Paddington is one of my ultimate touristy goals. That and a photo of me sitting on one of Lord Admiral Nelson’s Trafalgar lions. Yes, sometimes I do like embracing my role as Obnoxious American Tourist. Maybe on my next trip…