I never knew what it was like to have teddies on my bed when I was growing up in Goldenbridge. Teddies were unheard of in the Industrial “School”. The bed housed my nightdress which was placed under the pillow of my single iron bed. Nothing else. It used to fascinate me when I left the institution at first – at how people of all ages seemed to adore teddies. When I went to London to get away from the harsh regime in Ireland, and any reminders of Goldenbridge, I discovered that Paddington Bear was all the rage. I’ve a soft spot for Winnie the Pooh as well.
So – as you can see from photos here, I’ve certainly made up for the loss of teddies, which should have been a natural part of life as a child. I even went as far as buying a handmade teddy when it was announced that the doll hospital in Dublin was closing down. That was over a year ago. It has since re-established its business in the outer suburbs of Dublin. I know someone who is a collector of steifel teddies. I’ve oftentimes been tempted to get one. It’s so vital for any child to be given toys to explore, and play with, as their inquisitive minds are so open to absorbing everything around them. Toys given to children at Christmas time by businesses, who also gave parties, were immediately snatched away from the former in the immediate aftermath of visitors departure. So farcical. The toys were placed in a large wicker basket at the back of the stage. Never to be seen again, until the following Christmas, then the same pattern was repeated. So hypocritical. What was so wrong with the religious that they deemed the children not fit enough to be given Christmas presents. The religious forced us to smile at the hosts who gave of their generous time, – but they needn’t have done that, as children were able to smile at them naturally because they showed so much kindness and care. It was such an anti-climax after they left. I remember one man who was the boss of Bush, who took a shine to a child of African background. The nuns who would not have favoured this child, who perpetually went around with a dribbling nose, had no say in the matter. The tall boss man actually carried the child in his arms. I could see the mortification on the nuns’ faces. I often wondered was it because the child was not a pet, or someone who stood more of a chance because of being all doey-eyed.