It was more than a week ago when we first spotted what our family has dubbed “Dorchester’s Travelling Teddy” somewhere on the other side of the neighborhood from our house, if I recall correctly – on the far side of Park Street just before the Clam Point railroad bridge.
I saw it first when I was by myself, but soon after my kids saw it, and my wife had seen it too while driving to work in the mornings.
It was an oversized teddy bear with a Styrofoam plate taped to it pleading, “Please Take me Home.”
It remained there a few days and the heartstrings were tugged for our kids. Clearly, though, in the midst of a pandemic – or really any time – we weren’t going to pick up this bear off the side of the road and take him home.
With the kids in agreement, there was no argument from the backseat of the car.
The next day, however, it was gone. We all wondered whom it was that might have taken it.
These are the little things you see around the neighborhood – especially over the last year or so – that stick out and change the scenery, and in this case, provide some ongoing side drama to what life has become in a pandemic.
Only 24 hours after Dorchester’s Travelling Teddy disappeared from Park Street, I noticed that he was up near the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester – if I remember right – on a side street between Stoughton and Dorchester Avenue. I only got a quick glance as I passed by, but sure enough, I do believe it was the Travelling Teddy.
All the way to work, I thought about how he might have gotten all the way from one part of Dorchester, to a completely different part of Dorchester. These, of course, are some of the little things we have the time to think about these days – with less stress about jettisoning kids to and from school, over to piano lessons, or getting the house “ready” before family or guests come for a visit. I tried to piece the route together.
Maybe he came straight up Dot Ave with someone on foot who had every intention of taking him inside, only to be turned away by a more level-headed mother or grandmother. Could be.
Maybe someone passing by on Park Street tried to liberate him from the coming rubbish day over there, tossing him in a truck and taking a left up Freeport Street and landing on a Dorchester Avenue side street. Likely.
But who really knows.
So it was when I got up for my early morning walk this Saturday – all the way over on the western side of Dorchester (West of Washington territory) near the Oliver Wendell Holmes School – on the sidewalk propped up against a tree was the Dorchester Travelling Teddy. He looked right at me as the rising sun hit his face.
He looked exhausted.
Still, no one had claimed him and no one was going to, but this fella was on the move. Still taped to him was the Styrofoam plate desperately calling for him to be taken home with someone. Now, however, someone had added a red ribbon/bow around his neck, and dropped him at least a mile from where I last saw him.
I thought about it all morning.
I came to the conclusion it might be nice to see this guy take a spring trip around the neighborhood, avoiding the trash man, enduring the spring rains, and basking in the sunlight in just about every Dorchester hamlet that there is.
So, I made a crude sign to put around his neck, noting he’d been travelling and wished to continue his tour of the neighborhood. Hopefully he’ll evade the rubbish collector, and with a little help from neighbors and friends, perhaps he’ll come to your area of Dorchester someday soon.
By Monday of this week, he had scrammed from his weekend retreat on our street and long before the rubbish collection came. So, maybe he’s close to your house today, or maybe he’ll be there someday in the near future.
And if you see him at a location near you, give him a lift to another prime spot in the neighborhood. Let’s keep him travelling.