Furry Friends Friday

August 21, 2009 at 15:37 | Posted in Bits and Pieces, Carnival of Genealogy, Furry Friends Friday | 4 Comments
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About the time I was 2 years or so, Smokey the Bear became a famous teddy bear. He was based on a cute little cub found by firemen during a forest fire. When the firemen found him, his paws were burned and his fur was singed. He smelled as if he was in a fire. Hence the name Smokey. He became a well known mascot with the slogan “Only you can prevent forest fires!” He was a jaunty teddy bear with yellow felt forest rangers hat and yellow plastic shovel. I’m not sure how I learned about Smokey but I really REALLY wanted one! Yet somehow I also understood this special bear was not a cheap toy at the time, something I was not expecting. It would have to something magical almost to get a Smokey the Bear for my own.

Dad was involved with the Naval Vets Club locally, was even Post Commander at one point. He helped to organize the family Christmas party about a week before. They had a Santa Claus there to talk to the children and hand out small gifts. I made sure to tell him all about Smokey the Bear. My parents had already done most shopping and hid the presents in the attic shelves of the garage. I have no idea if they were surprised by what I told Santa or if they were already prepared for it. I do know I had been pretty vocal about it so it probably was not too big a shock. But I was whiny that night and kept rubbing my eyes with my mittens and generally not happy. Soon enough I was a sick little kid with some cold virus and pink eye to go along with it. This was before there were many antibiotics, and penicillin was being touted as a miracle drug. My parents seemed to be pretty worried about how ill I was. Dad finally thought a surprise would help calm me and help speed recovery. He went to the garage and brought in an early gift telling me Santa was worried and wanted me well soon. Of course it was Smokey the Bear! All I kept saying was “Smokey! How did you know I wanted you so much?” I’m pretty sure my folks were thinking because I was generally obnoxious talking about nothing else that the whole world probably knew I wanted him! Ha!

Every now and then we get around to viewing grainy old 8mm films of that Christmas and there my sister and I sit under the tree surrounded by wonderful gifts. My parents must have sacrificed a great deal to show their love. After all they were not wealthy people and struggling like many young families after the end of the WWII and Korean War was under way. But there I am sitting with Smokey and he was all I had eyes for! I was oblivious to everything else!

Christmas now is still my favorite time of year. I go all out baking and decorating inside and out including every room of the house. My four sons are grown now with children of their own. But they still know Christmas is arriving when Smokey comes out to sit in a place of honor with a big bow under his chin! His hat and shovel are long gone and his fur is well worn from all the hugs and caresses he has had from me over the years. Yet it is Smokey who is one of those powerful reminders of family and the love my parents showed us!

Smokey the Bear

Smokey the Bear



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  1. Moms favorite holiday is Christmas too! Grandma and Grandpa Wenz obviously made it very special for you two for both of you to have this as your favorite holiday!!! BTW, you and mommy look so alike in the picture you have for your profile — didn’t realize how much you look the same.

    Love, Debbie (

  2. […] Furry Friends Friday « Amore e Sapore di Famiglia valentinoswife.wordpress.com/2009/08/21/furry-friends-friday-3 – view page – cached #RSS 2.0 Amore e Sapore di Famiglia » Furry Friends Friday Comments Feed Amore e Sapore di Famiglia Hello world! Treasure Chest Thursday — From the page […]

  3. The Smokey the Bear in your photo looks exactly like the one connected to an interesting story from the 1950s. The South Carolina Forestry Commission had ordered 96 talking Smokey the Bear Dolls, and the factory had accidentally switched one doll’s record with one from a Praying Patti doll. Here are links to two articles about it:



    • Oh my! That is wild! My Smokey didn’t talk – good thing I didn’t know about such a bear then because I probably would have driven my parents crazy begging for one!

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