This is him, taking a look at the wreckage of my bathroom.
This is a story as much about a bear as it is about me. My bear; Ginger. As far back as I can remember it has been me and Ginger against the world. Being an only child as an adoptee I had to make my own fun, my own entertainment. My Mum and Dad were lovely, kind and generous to a tee but not always willing to play with me at the drop of the hat. They didn’t have the time, my Dad worked long hours as Numero Uno in an estate agency in Leicester, he left just after 7am every morning and came back after 7pm; long hours. And Mum was meticulous in her role as house wife, the home was always spotless and a hub for weekend dinner parties and drinks. She looked after me, did all the shopping, cooking washing, cleaning, etc. I think I can safely say that they conformed to the stereotypical married middle class couple of the 70’s and 80’s. And why not? There were plenty of them around.
So when Mum was engaged with friends downstairs I would find myself upstairs in my room with Ginger, my bear and a host of other fluffy creatures. As this post is about Ginger I should explain. When I became conscious, I mean when I can actually remember stuff, Ginger was there, by my side, never letting me down. Mum and Dad had told me, when I asked, that Ginger had been given to me by my Auntie P and was as old as me. P as I called her (she called me D), was my mum’s oldest friend and we used to go on holidays together and they used to natter for what seemed like hours on end about god knows what on the telephone. We only had 1 phone and I always had to make myself scarce whenever they were talking. So I would take myself off to my room and get the monopoly board out, gather the cuddly creatures around and distribute the money evenly between; Myself, Ginger, Hank (Ginger’s best mate. Hank wore a gold chain, he had bling), Panda (he was huge) and married to a white bear, slightly smaller and I can not remember her name I’m ashamed to say no matter how hard I try, one day It’ll come to me. There was MacTavish who was a black dog and Scottish for some reason, I think possibly my Aunt and Uncle from Aberdeen gave him to me, there was also Basil Brush, a later addition to the family and consequently the relationship between myself, the others and him wasn’t too deep. We liked him, but he was somehow a new boy, he didn’t belong, he was adopted! Shit I wonder if that means anything, if somehow deep in my psyche this has been buried and is only now surfacing as I do this challenge. I honestly have never thought of this, I ‘m not sure what I think.
Anyway we would all sit round playing Monopoly, with me rolling the dice and me moving the pieces, buying the houses, paying the rent, taking a chance, going to jail ( I very rarely went to jail, it was usually Basil Brush if I’m honest!). So as the hours went by, one by one the guys would be delayed bankrupt and always would be left with just myself and Ginger. I had Mayfair and Park Lane, he; Fleet Street, Trafalgar Square and The Strand.
I’d always win of course but it was not without a good fight, sometimes the dice would have to be rolled again to get the correct number, sometimes Panda and his nameless wife would be arguing when someone owed them rent and would miss the chance to claim it because the turn moved to the next guy. Happy days for me and the gang on those rainy afternoons in Foxton.
It was not until much later, bearing in mind I was probably about 4 or 5 when I can first really remember Ginger, that I learnt the truth about him. He hadn’t been given to me by P, and he was older than be by about a week. It turns out he came with me. When I arrived so too did my companion, my confidant, my best friend before I had friends apart from Robert Porter who stuffed the thin grey 8’er lego up his bum (the type used to make helicopter rotor blades), my lego. I went off him after that. Isn’t it strange how i remember that? I only found this out 4 or 5 years ago but in the time in-between, Ginger came everywhere with me; he came to boarding school, but was soon demoted to the trunk until he was freed again when I came home in the holidays. He came to university, he’s travelled to France, Portugal, Cyprus, Crete, Sardinia, Spain, Scotland, and maybe a few more I can’t remember (you’ll understand when you get to my age) And today he sits in my bedroom, on the chest of drawers just keeping an eye on things and, when I look at him, I remember only good things. Even more so than “The Antiques Roadshow” Ginger has been a constant in my life, I know he has made a tangible difference, and I love him for what he has done.
Thank you Ginger.
So thank god it’s Sunday tomorrow, I’ll see you all on Monday for H (not heroin), I really need a rest, it’s exhausting!