Thursday 21 August 2014

Miss E's Love Affair with Alfie (Your toy story)

Miss E - meeting Alfie for the first time on her christening day in May 2008 through to today

There really is something very special about a child's relationship with their most-loved toy. Take my little Miss E for example, she is 7 years old now and got her Alfie teddy when she was 8 months old as a Christening gift and he has barely left her side in all those years. That in itself presents problems; as a toddler she would want to take Alfie out with her in the buggy and I used to panic until we were back home that she might lose him.

To ease my worries I thought it would be a good idea to buy an identical Alfie and then if one got lost she would still be happy with her replacement and of course it meant I could give Alfie a much needed wash too. There is only so much loving any teddy bear can take before he becomes a bit smelly!

I searched for ages for a duplicate Alfie. As he was a gift I did not know where he came from but I knew he was made by Gund and called Alfie as his tag said so. The internet bought up lots of large versions but none the same, so it was with delight that one day walking through our local John Lewis I spotted an Alfie. Of course I immediately bought him and that night I hid Miss E's Alfie downstairs and at bedtime I placed the new Alfie next to her. She was only two at the time, so still fairly young but she knew what she wanted.

Miss E glared at me with a look of horror and chucked the new Alfie at her twin sister and said "Not my Alfie, that Miss M's Alfie, where is mine?".  Something I thought would be such a simple answer turned out not to be at all! It has proved useful to have this other Alfie though as the girls enjoy having twin bears as they are twins themselves and to this day they are both still called Alfie and on the odd occasion when we cannot find Miss E's Alfie (as he has got packed away in a toy box or been left at Nanny's) then  Miss M will gladly lend her Alfie to Miss E, it really is very cute.

I do love the fact that Alfie is helping to build beautiful childhood memories for Miss E, she chats away to him, takes him on every holiday and he gets involved with all sorts of teddy bears picnics and make believe games. She has told me before that she loves her Alfie like daddy loves Orange, his teddy that he has had since birth.

I also remind her that mummy loved Raggedy Ann in the same way too, this was my rag doll that went everywhere with me and I know my mum had to replace her felt face a number of times as I used to rub holes in her! I believe she is still in my parents loft, I must ask them to get her down so I can introduce her to Alfie.

My funniest memory of Raggedy Ann is that she regularly used to take the train to see my Nanny. As a young child we had a railway line at the end of the garden and by all accounts I was quite a handful and run rings around my mum. So in an effort to help me behave, if I was naughty Raggedy Ann would be sent away on the train to stay with my Nanny in the next town. Then once I was behaving, there would be a knock on the back door and I'd run and answer it and find that Raggedy had been allowed home again.  I do chuckle about this now and think my Mum was quite clever to instate this discipline as it sure did work and I remember it 37 odd years later!

I won't try this with Miss E though as she is much more of a tender heart than I am and I fear she would cry her heart out. No I'll let her keep hold of her Alfie and they can continue to make beautiful memories together for many years yet.

Talking of childhood memories, John Lewis Insurance have just launched their ‘Your toy story’ campaign.

Every Thursday for the next four weeks a different retro toy will be featured on the John Lewis Insurance microsite (, along with the story of the toy’s history. This will detail why the toy was popular; its success and why it has been chosen. Furthermore, John Lewis will be publishing a Throwback Thursday (#TBT, ‪#ThrowBackThursday) post each week to celebrate the toys of our childhoods.

The first toy featured is the good old ‘TeddyBear’.

John Lewis Insurance wants to hear your special childhood toy memories, share them on Twitter. Also, why not keep up to date with John Lewis to see what retro toy they will be featuring next week!

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