Sepia Saturday #352: A Tale of Two Bears

sepia-352001sepia-352002Since it’s getting towards the end of the year, I’m putting three cards I have from Aunt Sadie’s Shirley Temple Scrapbook relating to my theme today of teddy bears. We have five really industrious bears helping Sadie celebrate her fifth birthday. Newton Memorial Hospital, where Sadie was born, is the one sending the card.








We then have two mischievous bears getting into a golden honey pot. The blue ribboned bears pop out from the bright red background and wish Sadie a happy birthday with the following “It’s your Birthday Honey. My! What a treat to say ‘Happy Birthday’ to someone so sweet! There’s simply no end to the honied licks you’ll find in the wishes I’m sending: For sweeter they grow with your birthday, so your supply will be always unending!” This card came from Sadie’s grandmother Anna K. Repsher.









Next up are three little bears, Mama Bear, Papa Bear and little Baby Bear. This card is a fold-out type so that it’s four times the size (the pictures don’t convey this) when unfolded. They are out for a stroll on the front but are working hard at home on the inside. Papa Bear is cranking away at the ice cream maker while Mama Bear is making something tasty in the kitchen. Baby Bear is wearing a blue vest and a big pink ribbon is tied around his middle. He’s getting ready to blow out his birthday candles. The saying inside says, “1 for the money, 2 for the show, 3 for your birthday, – and here we go! 3 wishes for so many good things to do that you will be 4 before you are through!”

And now for the tale of two bears…

Once upon a time, when my grandmothers were young, wearing fur was a fashionable thing to do. Both my grandmothers (Beatrice Irene Repsher and Etta Berendine Pauw) owned and wore fur.


Grandma Westra (left) and Grandma Strait (right)

Grandma Etta Westra had both a coat with a mink collar (complete with feet and tail still attached) and a mink cape. Grandma Beatrice Strait, a seamstress by trade, made her own mink stole from a piece of fur that was leftover when a client requested that her coat be shortened.

My sister, Jill, inherited the mink cape from Grandma Westra and the mink stole from Grandma Strait. However, in the 1990s and early 2000s, wearing fur was not in style and came to be considered by many people to be politically incorrect. My sister’s unique solution to the problem of owning the furs was to have them made into the teddy bears that are pictured below.

thebears003 thebears002Suzi Gilbert, who designed the bears, incorporated the maker’s labels and linings into the bears’ feet and accessories. Additionally, Jill provided the bears’ designer with a copy of the picture above of our two grandmothers together. Each grandmother’s picture was put with the bear that was made from her mink fur.

I can’t decide which bear I like better. Grandma Westra’s silver mink is just gorgeous but the variations of brown in Grandma Strait’s mink make it a more interesting fur. It doesn’t really matter; they’re both ultra soft and cute as all get out!

The concept behind these weekly Saturday posts can be found at Sepia Saturday Intro.
Theme taken from Sepia Saturday photo (originally #301, 17 Oct 2015): Teddy Bear



One thought on “Sepia Saturday #352: A Tale of Two Bears

  1. I really love those teddy bears and it was a wonderful idea your sister had. I think the brown one is my favorite. I like that Grandma Strait’s name was embroidered on the bottom of his foot and flowers on his other foot. Was the material used to make the “handkerchief” attached to Grandma Westra’s bear something special of hers?


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