The Lost Teddy Bear

Yesterday I spoke with our 44 year eldest daughter about her teddy bear that was lost when she was about four years old.  I was surprised to find she still remembers it and is still upset at its loss. She says it was her best Teddy bear that she loved a lot and is still upset at the memory of it.  As this is a Sandy Haven story I had better record it.

     When my family had reached the size of one wife and two children we would take our summer holiday in Pembrokeshire. In those days I was working in Arabia and my wife as working at the University of Kent. We had our home in Canterbury.   I would arrive in Kent for the summer and would hire a car for a month. We would load the children and some camping gear and drive to Wales. So the holidays always started and ended with a long drive. The completion of the M4 motorway almost as far as Carmarthen was a great help. Before that the old road bridge at Carmarthen was always jammed with lorries and caravans. But that was better than the 1960’s when the M4 motorway stopped at Slough and it was small roads with traffic lights most of the way. Happily when our family grew to 4 children, British Rail introduced the family rail tickets, so we could go by train with each child charged only £1 for a return ticket. This made the journeys much more pleasant and safer.

        The ‘Lost Bear Year’ was one where we had had our month in Pembrokeshire and were driving back to Kent. As my wife and I had been students in London used to enjoy driving to Kent through the heart of London including passing the houses of Parliament. The children liked this and we would stop in London to let them spend their pocket money on sweets. This was before the traffic increased so that city charges, hugely expensive parking,  zoning and emissions controls were invented. The cars in those days were not very powerful either.

         The accident occurred on the M4 motorway somewhere between Swansea and Cardiff. It was a nice dry day and the trip was going well. There was a fair bit of traffic on the motorway with all the lanes in use. My wife and I were in the front seats and our 4 year old daughter Joanne and her nine year old brother Peter were in the back seat. Joanne was playing with her teddy bear.  Suddenly there was a loud scream from Joanne who burst into tears and was hugely upset. I could not stop on the busy motorway but carried on.  My wife turned to find out what had happened.  It emerged that the door window alongside Joanne was two inches open at the top as it was a hot day.  She had been showing her teddy bear the things outside – mainly trees. She had pushed the head of the teddy bear through the open widow to look out.  The slip steam had seized the teddy bear and pulled it out through the window.  Joanne was left holding only one of his legs.  She wanted me to turn back to go and get him.  There was no possibility of doing that on a busy motorway so we continued.  Joanne cried all  way back home for she had loved her teddy dearly. She is still upset by it today. 

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