An alphabear is one in a set of twenty-six handmade bears, each made from its own unique fabric, each with its own unique letter of the alphabet. These alphabears left an inpression on me long after I could recite my ABCs by heart. Sometimes I would think of them when I was older. I could still remember the pattern of the fabric of the letter N. I could still remember the soft fuzziness of the letter E. I wondered what happened to them. Did they surive our two family moves?
One weekend I was sitting in my mother's living room about a year ago. In the middle of a conversation between my husband and my mother I spotted my bag of alphabears in the corner. I shrieked and darted across the room turning the bag over and spilling alphabears onto the floor. I started spelling words and examining my favorite bears while my husband looked at his thirty year old wife like she was crazy.
The next day at a family gathering I showed my aunt the alphabears and explained how happy I was to see them again; how special they were to me. With tears in her eyes she explained how her family did not have much money that Christmas and she could not afford to buy me a present. She told me that she had to raid her mother in law's fabric scraps to come up with twenty-six different fabrics. She said that she drew and hand cut each letter because it was cheaper than buying pre-cut letters. I could see her reliving that difficult time in her life; a time when she gave a handmade gift out of neccesity. I'm sure she was concerned that her handmade gift was not as good as a store bought gift. And yet her gift was more special to me then and more special to me now than any store bought gift she would have purchased.