Many people have been asking me where Stretch came from and how he ended up as my mascot. I honestly don’t remember buying him, although I have a vague recollection that I may have found him in the gift shop of a miniatures museum on Long Island.
As to how he got his name, that’s an interesting story. I was on my way to a chemotherapy appointment 5 years ago when I passed the bookshelf where he sat with some larger teddy bears. On a whim I picked him up and stuck him in a little empty side pocket on my purse. In the car on the way to my appointment Joe said to me, “I see you’re bringing “Stretch” along. I had never named the bear so I asked Joe why he called him “Stretch” and he said he figured that was a good name because he had long arms and legs, unlike the stubby ones most of my other teddy bears had.
When I got to the Monter Center for my treatment, a nurse noticed the little bear, laughed and said, “What a cute little guy, he looks like he’s “stretching” his head out of your bag to watch everything going on and keep an eye on you!”
So that settled it, Stretch became “Stretch!”
And right when Stretch and I were recently musing about his past, who should appear but two new friends who volunteered to help him with some genealogical research. First there was the arrival of a new neighbor, Kathleen. She looked deep into teddy bear history and presented Stretch with this account of how his very first ancestors came into being (so now he has another thing we humans don’t—a complete history of how his ancestors developed!).
(P.S. The book is available in human size also.)
When Stretch’s friend Ellie heard about Stretch’s quest for family history, she also volunteered to pitch in. She managed to delve further into specific teddy bear records related to Stretch’s family tree, and started a scrapbook for him with pictures of his ancestors.
And for good measure, she had this portrait painted of the most famous descendant of all these bears—the world-renowned “Stretch Bear.” Stay tuned everyone, the reality show is sure to follow soon….