Friday, December 02, 2005

Batman and Robinâ„¢ and Teddy Bears?

The story began in Louisville, Kentucky where I was a thirty year old single mother who, as it happened, read comic books. One of the few that I read was Batmanâ„¢.
During this period of time, in all of DC Comics' books, there was a column titled "Meanwhile" that happened to feature columns which were occasionally written by readers- of all ages. In Batman #378 was a column by Steven Pearlman of Bloomfield,New Jersey. He wrote an imaginary conversation with Dick Giordano, who was then vice-president and executive editor at DC Comics. He went on about his favorite comics over the years and I found that they were all my favorites, too!
Since he mentioned several comics I remembered when I was "little", I assumed he must be my age and had managed to hang on to the comic book collection of his youth. I wrote to congratulate him. He wrote back, so I wrote him again, asking if he'd like to be "pen-pals", in a manner of speaking, since we shared an interest in comics that seemed uncommon to our age group. He wrote back and sent me a birthday gift of another of the comics his guest column had appeared in. Oddly enough, it came just days after my birthday and he'd had no clue just when my birthday was!
We wrote back and forth for another two months and he invited me to come visit him in New Jersey. I replied that I had a just-above-minimum-wage job and couldn't afford it, but he wrote back that he would send a ticket for me - and for my daughter, too, if I wanted to bring her with me. I was a little leery on that count, but I took him up on my flying to New Jersey.
We met on December 30, 1984, just three months after I'd seen his guest "Meanwhile". We hit it off so well that I asked him to come visit me in Louisville for Valentine's Day. He made the arrangements and came up and met my daughter, Jennifer, and my parents. I came into a bit of money in March of 1985, so I returned for another visit and brought my daughter to visit in April.I asked him to come down to see the Kentucky Derby with me, since a friend of mine took me and a bunch of her family's friends to the "backside" of the track, where her husband worked as the "second best horseshoer in the world" (a tribute from his father, who alleged himself to be the best). He came up and proposed the day just before the 111th Kentucky Derby.
Dawn McChesney, the wonderful woman who let us go with her to Churchill Downs, made my wedding cake and let us use her house and yard for our very casual wedding on June 22, 1985 (no, we didn't dress as Batman & Robin).
We moved to Verona, New Jersey on June 24, 1985 and filled our home with Batmanâ„¢ collectibles and my collectibles - the teddy bears of which I spoke. Batbear hasn't found his way into our home, but not for lack of trying!
I do have "Herobear" and bears from all over the world, including Canada, England, Scotland, Australia and South Africa.
For a while, I made bears myself and tried to make a semi-career of it, but felt outnumbered by artisans much better at the bear-making craft than I was. One of my bears is Satchmo, who was made for a competetion in Ontario for their 1996 jazz festival. He has a gravelly voice, just like his namesake... But my bears usually stay at home with me, or go live with Jenni and her little daughter, Kara Marie. They both have some of my hand made bears. So does my youngest daughter, Elysha, who is still at home, with me and her dad - the Dark Knight of Verona, New Jersey! So the teddy bears and Batmanâ„¢ are still together, and, although other heroes have snuck into the house from other comic books, Batmanâ„¢ is still number one at our house!

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