Of books and bears

In 1907, Paris, a little bear was purchased by a seafarer. He gave it to his nephew, Vittorio (his name means Victory) who loved the little bear.

In 1912, Vittorio’s father Gaspare, took a job as catering manager , on the Titanic.  The little bear went along as a good luck mascot. He rode inside his tobacco pouch, kept in a pocket in Gaspare’s coattails.

Gaspare did not survive the sinking but his body was recovered and his belongings — including the little bear still safely tucked in the tobacco pouch — were returned to his widow, Edith. Later, during WWII, while  living in London, Edith’s home was destroyed by German bombing. The little bear survive this ordeal also.

The little bear –tried by fire, ice, and time — returned to Vittorio after Edith’s death (1962). In 1974, the bear became Marjory’s, Vittorio’s widow. Finally on April 14, 1990, the bear was donated to the Museum Of Childhood where he (or she?) quickly became the star of the museum.

Books survive for the same reason as bears – they are repositories of memory. We secret them from harm.  Pass them down. Make sure they end up in a safe place where everyone can enjoy them.  Such is the power of books — and bears.

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Published in: on July 30, 2009 at 4:47 PM  Leave a Comment  
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