The Bears of Barnard

by Manuela Hiches

Imagine coming home to him every night.

Women of Barnard! That’s a catchy and often-heard phrase ain’t it? A lot of strong and powerful women probably come to mind, right? But why doesn’t anyone ask about Millie? Millie the Dancing Bear has the backs of all Barnard women. That’s why they’re all so awesome! Why don’t we give a shout-out to the bears of Barnard? There’s no shame in having a stuffed animal really. It’s a fortress and a companion that sticks with us through the worst of times. Here are the stories of a few bears who have helped keep a smile on the faces of Barnard women.

Vivianne Reynoso’s Penguin, Pablito
“I have a stuffed penguin. And I haven’t named him yet because he’s so cute. But for now I will call him Pablito. He’s my homeboy. I love him to death because my little sisters gave him to me 3 or 4 years ago. It’s one of the few things I’ve not thrown away along my way of moving from California, to Rhode Island, and to New York. It’s the only thing that makes me feel at home and when I’m stressing out or having a bad day, seeing Pablito makes it better. Always. It’s not entirely the fact that he’s adorable and amazing, but it’s the fact that he holds the sisterly love that he embodies. I love him!”

I think Millie is a little jealous.

Jess Gregory’s Teddy Bear, Gundy
“Her name is Gundy. She was originally a guy. I got her about two days after I was born, from my aunt. At about that time, we were the same size because I was a pretty small baby. She went everywhere with me, (no joke, class, park, plane, wherever) and she still does. I did and cannot sleep properly without her. When I was two, I decided to perform a sex change ceremony on her which included me tying a bowtie around her neck, taking said bowtie off, and tying it around her ear like a regular bow. From that moment on, Gundy was a girl. She has braved the washing machine (from my toddler antics getting her dirty), and according to my mom I refused to let anyone touch her, while the rest of the animals in my collection were fair game… I also used to ask her questions then poke her stomach. If she fell right, that meant yes. If she fell left, that meant no. If she tipped backward, it meant ‘go ask mom.’”

Emma Arett’s Puppy, Sarah Charlotte 
“My stuffed puppy is named Sarah Charlotte. I got her for my sixth birthday, when I went to Build-A-Bear with my friend and got to pick out any animal I wanted. Sarah Charlotte has literally been through everything with me… She’s been dropped on roads, mailed home from summer camp, left in the dryer… She’s my little pup! I snuggle her and she reminds me of home.”

“I shall call him Squishy and he shall be mine.”

Autumn Austin’s Panda, Squishy
“I have a stuffed panda that is named Squishy. Squishy was made by my (male) best friend who gave him to me because I fell in love with Squishy. My (female) best friend since the second grade now fixes him every six months because he tends to get holes. (I have a plan to ship him to Chicago every six months for his repairs). He’s made out of old t-shirts which means he is especially soft and soooo squishy (hence the name). I love him, even though he falls apart regularly… Squishy travels with me everywhere – I am that eighteen year old carrying a large stuffed animal in the airport. Who needs a pillow when you have a panda? Even though Carlos (my best friend) is back in New Mexico, I still have a piece of him with me, because I have Squishy.”

No matter where you’re from or how old you are, there is no shame in having a stuffed animal because they are just that awesome. If you’re standing in Toys-R-Us debating whether to get that stuffed toy, just get it! (But only at a reasonable price of course. :P) Because if you don’t get it then you might miss out on the greatest friend you could ever ask for. They’ll be with you no matter what and won’t deny you a hug. Just like Millie.

Manuela Hiches is a first-year at Barnard and a staff writer for The Nine Ways of Knowing.

Images courtesy of Manuela Hiches.

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