When my mom was nine, her best friend Bona Lockwood gave her a panda for Christmas.
Mom named the bear Myrtle.
It’s not hard to guess, from her appearance, that Myrtle has led an exuberant life.
Lots of love. Plenty of adventures.
Myrtle’s favorite piece of jewelry is a red wooden heart. My Uncle Byrt made the pin when he was thirteen. She’s worn it ever since.
In 1942, Myrtle and Mom went away to college. More good times!
Enter a new love for Mom.
Myrtle wasn’t especially pleased.
After my parents married, Dad promised Myrtle an allowance of two cents a week. His benevolent gesture improved her spirits.
Over the years, Dad worked to keep up a good relationship with Myrtle. You can see by the expression on her face that she’s a discerning bear, a careful judge of character.
For sixty-four years, Dad sometimes surprised Mom by having Myrtle move around the house. She’d go from the bedroom to the kitchen, from the family room to the study.
Two years ago, my father lay down for a nap and never woke up.
When I arrived the next day, Myrtle was sitting on Mom’s bed.
I figured Mom had moved her. A touch of comfort at a heartbreaking time.
“You’ve got Myrtle on your bed. Nice.”
“Dad put her there,” Mom said. “Three days ago.”
And that’s the end of this story.
Except that true love stories, as you know, never really end.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Celebrate the love stories and the characters in your life.