My Bear Beatrice

Me and Beatrice
Me and Beatrice 1947, Springfield, Massachusetts in my backyard.

The first toy that I remember is the bear I am holding in the above photograph.  Her name was Beatrice. She wore a frilly, light blue pinafore. In this picture she looks quite fresh.  Maybe I received her for my first birthday.  I had her for a very long time. I don’t remember when she disappeared or was thrown out.


Here is collage of me with a variety of my early toys.  They included a wagon, old pots and pans, a wooden push mower, plastic records, a ball, a tin dollhouse, a little Beauregard doll with a bottle that emptied and refilled, little flat plastic cowboys. I had several buggies and strollers and an endless supply of dolls. Books aren’t really toys but I had many little golden books during this time.  The swing that Pearl is putting a doll in, was made of wood and blue. The tin ferris wheel was also hers and took many a little doll for a ride until it was no longer around.

After my sister Pearl was born when I was 2.6, I played with her most of the time because she was always there. And, of course, she was a delightful playmate. One of the best addition to any playthings we had during those years was our imagination.  I remember in later years making bows and arrows from sticks, strings and bottle caps, riding on saw horse and playing endless imaginary games with our cousins.  We had a good supply of Little Golden and Wonder books.

Playing Scrabble. Early 1960s.
Playing Scrabble. Early 1960s. I’m on the couch, Pearl has her back to us and my mother must be winning!

The first board game I remember was “Sorry”. We played it often in the evenings the summer that we spent at my mother’s parents. My grandfather, Poppy, played with us while eating his snack of grated cheese and ritz crackers and a glass of buttermilk.  Later I remember playing cards on the basement stairs of my cousins, endless games of “War”.

When we were older one of our gifts at Christmas would be a board game and we would play it over and over during that Christmas. Some never saw the light of day again but some we played throughout the years. Monopoly was popular for awhile. Chess was a staple. The summer of 1966 when I met my future husband at Wayne State University, we played chess almost everyday. He also taught me to play Solitaire.

We still play a lot of games in my family. “Five Crowns” is popular with my grandchildren. My husband and I play “Sequence” a lot.  When I play games with my grandchildren I never let them win or make it easier for them than I would an adult. I don’t try to crush  them, but if they win, they really won.

Two granddaughters playing Sequence – Christmas holidays 2013.

There is a toy trunk in the collage that I received as a gift one Christmas. That is as close as I could get to the well packed travel case below.  Next time I go anywhere, I’m going to take a picture of my suitcase.

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42 thoughts on “My Bear Beatrice

  1. What a lovely post! I enjoyed your collage, and learning about all the toys and games you played. I’m glad to hear that your grandchildren still will play board games. I miss those days, and find that most of the kids in my life would rather play a game on their phone.

  2. Great reminiscent post! I remember my sisters having a metal doll house very much like the one in your collage. My brother and I used to play marathon Monopoly games that went on so long we had to set an alarm clock to end them. We’d loan each other money, or take pity when one of us landed on Boardwalk with 4 hotels & reduce the rent just so we could keep playing. Now my husband & daughter & I play a card game called “3-13” every day. Games are an excellent way to keep the mind sharp!

    1. My sister and I used to have those never ending Monopoly games too. I remember one summer when we would take it out on the porch and have games with the neighbors. Now I avoid Monopoly and Uno like the plague. I have never played 3-13.

  3. Just love the name Beatrice Bear! Some of those old board games were played by our family too, and you’re right, some weren’t for life – just for Christmas. Have you discovered Banangrams yet? It’s brilliant!

    1. I will have to look for Banangrams. Never heard of it before but I’m always looking for new game. It’s interesting how some become games played year after year while others gather dust on the shelf.

  4. Wonderful post. You stirred up so many memories. My son has a bear he calls Cat that he took with him to college and brought back. I also recall our family playing a single game of monopoly for days at a time. So much fun and such great bonding! You have such a close family. No doubt the games have played a part.

    1. Angella, I’m sure I have more interaction with my granddaughters because they are always open for a game. Cooking together is good too. I just realized I don’t play as many games with the grandsons.

  5. Beatrice! Where on earth did you come up with that name? I, too, had a bear; I also played Sorry! (my father was really good at it); Scrabble. And I play Bananagrams frequently, so those of us who know that game need to spread the word…but, still, I’m wondering – Beatrice?

    1. I don’t know where I got the name and nobody left to ask. I’m going to look into babanagrams. I just remembered – one of my father’s first cousins was named Beatrice so it probably wasn’t a rare name in those days.

  6. My father used to do the grocery shopping on Saturdays. I liked to go with him, and I acquired quite a few Little Golden Books and Storybook dolls that they sold at the grocery stores. Unfortunately, none were saved.

  7. What a treasure trove of toys and memories your collage contains. I imagine Beatrice Bear went on lots of adventures. Nothing mixes up the generations like a family board game.

  8. This was indeed a fun trip for me as well. Great photos, it brought back a few fun memories for me too!

  9. Kristin, you and Beatrice Bear are so-o-o-o cute in that feature photo!

    WOW! I am just impressed that you have photos of some of your favorite toys. Okay, you are about to make me go through some of my old photos to see if any of my old toys were captured in them.

    I just purchased my oldest granddaughter an American Girl doll for her birthday last year that she absolutely adores. Yes, Blair (the doll) goes everywhere she goes. I started taking pictures of them because they are inseparable. After seeing your photos, I’m so glad that I am. I look forward to the day she grows up and enjoys looking back at photos of her favorite toys.

    Wonderful treasure & memories!

    1. Thanks Liv. I’m glad you’re taking photos of your granddaughter and her doll. Would love to see other people and their toys!

  10. You and Beatrice were adorable. The collage is so interesting…I can relate to many of those toys. My favorite photo is the one of you on the stairs with all the dolls. You brought back memories of many happy days during Canadian winters playing scrabble and whist. A lovely post.

    1. Canadian winters and Michigan winters both involved lots of cold and snow! I think my favorite is me with the dolls lined up on the stairs too.

  11. We always played a lot of board games and the love has passed to the next generation. My younger brother is the one who hunts out the ‘new’ games – I must tell him about Bananagrams. His kids’ later favourite is Dixit.

  12. Kris your hair! I love how blonde it was. Reminds me of Andrea’s little girl. I love your Pappy standing over you. What I wouldn’t give for those little socks you and Pearl had? I loved the collage. It did bring back a lot of memories. I too had to be imaginative being the only one in the house and Shelly next door, my childhood friend, she to was a AfterLife baby. I’m glad Mom saved me and my kids dolls. I’m carrying on the tradition. I’ll have to look through some old photos. Love this and Beatrice!

    1. My little socks usually ended up going down in my shoes and being sort of gathered around my lower foot. guess it was the thin ankles?

  13. Great post, Kristin. The boxes of favorite games, toys, and puzzles are the treasure chests we leave behind in attics for other little people to discover.

    1. I’m pretty sure nothing got left in our old attic. My mother either took it to the next place or threw it out. That would be good though. I should have done it but I think our last batch was sent to the resale store.

  14. It’s amazing the number of suitcases and other carry-alls like school satchels and cases for musical instruments that you were familiar with but which never got photographed. It made me think of the brief case my parents gave me that had handles when what
    I really wanted was one without handles that you just tucked under your arm. It’s a long while since I thought of that but all these posts are making memories come to the surface. An interesting post.

  15. Lovely family memories of toys and games we played with in our childhood. I liked your cheerful screen banner of children’s books too.

  16. Board games have been a feature of our lives, including darts. Now the scrabble, monopoly. yahtzee and trivial pursuit are store on the top shelf of the hall cupboard as there is not much fun in playing with just two of us – and I never win at scrabble..
    A great collage Kristin; we couldn’t put one together like that.

    1. My husband and I do play games, not Monopoly or Scrabble though. He has been winning for the past week, no matter what we play. grrr.

  17. Great memories…your childhood sounds like mine with Sorry, bows and arrows from branches, etc. As you stated the best thing was our imaginations!

  18. Games are a great distraction from some of the more boring or troublesome elements of life. I keep finding clues to some of my old childhood games – odd bricks from my plastic construction set, for example, – and they have the power to transport me back in time quicker than any rocket-powered time-machine.

  19. Beatrice is a beautiful, beatific name for a beloved bear! And such a sweet photo of little you with her. Love the games, the toys (we made our own bows and arrows, too) and the photo of your granddaughters over the holidays, playing on the floor with their matching pants (PJs?). So much family bonding over games, it’s true. We played Sorry, too. My cousin Sue’s husband Bob was a Sorry Master, if that is possible in a game that seems like sheer chance! And Monopoly, Scrabble, Chinese checkers, and a large variety of card games. And in India, a game on a wooden board called carrom, a kind of mini-pool game where you send the pieces into the corner holes by hitting a striker with your fingers, not a stick.

    1. I do know a Sorry master, my son Cabral was one. We eventually moved on from Sorry to Parcheesi. And finally my granddaughter felt that I kept winning that one so we moved on to 5 Crowns.

      Yes, they are wearing matching pjs. One of my daughters gave all the girls matching and the 2 boys matching to wear for the annual New Year’s Eve sleepover.

      I think that Beatrice must have been a popular name in some parts and time periods. I remember Aunt Bea, Andy Griffin’s aunt 🙂

  20. What a fun journey you took us on. I particularly like the tin ferris wheel. Too bad you don’t still have it. You could take it to the Antiques Roadshow and make a fortune!
    Ladies of the Grove

  21. I never had the Sorry game but some of my friends did. Monopoly and Scrabble were staples in my childhood home, along with Mouse Trap. I could play Jacks and Pick-up Sticks for hours. As for card games, I really enjoyed Solitaire, War, Slap Jack, Rummy, and Double Solitaire.

  22. Hi There!

    Teddy Bears are just the best. Beatrice means “blessed” possibly in Hebrew. I have a bear that I have had since I was 5 days old. Name is “Buster” and he has a little vestigial (sp?) tail. Totally cool! I also have other Steiff Bears – those are the seriously expensive ones that you find at FAO Schwartz in locked glass cases and you need a key to get to them. They have the best fur and those facial expressions are just fabulous. It’s best to keep your Teddies – they should always be around you.
    Wherever you are little Beatrice – stay cool!

    1. I’m pretty sure, now that you mention it, that Beatrice also had a vestigial tail. Poor Beatrice. I would love to have her sitting on my shelf overlooking my work right now.

      1. Hi!

        Believe in my heart of hearts that little Beatrice would be very happy to be w/ you overlooking all that you do these days. Seems that you do a lot.

        Have fun “little Beatrice” you are clearly missed, loved and appreciated by your “mistress.” More importantly, you are remembered. It is said that every act of memory is an act of imagination. Way Kool! Be well!


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