‘Nanook’ by Rebecca Laird
I received my dear old polar bear Nanook for Christmas when I was about seven, from the teddy bear heaven of the toy department at Cole Brothers in Sheffield. I am now 40 years old and he’s still in my bed to this day. Or rather, what’s left of him is. He’s in such a state it’s amazing he’s still more or less in one piece. He has lost a large proportion of his fur, especially on his back, his head permanently lolls, everything else is floppy and he has various gaping holes. In short, he looks completely knackered. My affection for him though is entirely undiminished. He came with me to university every term and still accompanies me on every holiday. Leaving him behind would be unthinkable.
Many other toys came and went over the years, including a horrible pink care bear (remember those?) that I got the same Christmas. Somehow though, could never find it in my heart to get rid of Nanook. Now, after all these years together, I can’t imagine a time when I ever will. Yes, I am far too old to be so sentimental about a raggedy old stuffed bear, but we have so much history together I can’t help myself.
Nanook is now very dirty and probably a hotbed of bacteria but if I tried to wash him he would only disintegrate even more. I can’t sew so all the holes are here to stay and to be honest they do kind of add to his bedraggled charm. Of all the things I own (apart from my two adorable cats), Nanook is by far the most precious, partly because of how long he’s been around. My parents could never have imagined when they bought him that he would still be with me, and still be so loved, thirty-odd years later.