When I leave The Strong this week after almost seven years, a shiny, new collections manager will take the helm. I feel like the well-worn toy Margery Williams describes in The Velveteen Rabbit who becomes Real when the Boy loves him and when the nursery magic Fairy sets him free. Except for the trials of becoming Real, the Rabbit’s greatest anxiety is being forgotten or replaced. And here I am, undergoing the process willingly when so many toys are not able to choose when their time in the spotlight may end.
In the Full House episode “Goodbye, Mr. Bear” (ABC, 1989), Stephanie panics when she can’t find her favorite stuffed animal. Fans of the series spot Mr. Bear in many episodes, and in this particular one we learn that Steph’s late mother gave her the teddy as a gift when she brought baby Michelle home from the hospital. Mr. Bear is one of Stephanie’s last ties to Pam. Fortunately the dapper fellow isn’t lost forever; Michelle has only hidden him from her sister. Cue the sentimental music.