Storied Collections: Mae’s Bear is No Joke

December 1, 2011


From the outside you might think some things belong in a White Elefant swap – from the inside you’ll find out they have great humor and meaning. Leave it to a shelter blogger to illuminate this perfectly. Find Mae at her shelter blog Here in This House for more home inspiration, design and charm.

From Mae:


It started as a practical joke. Back when I lived in San Francisco, I spent many winter weekends out in Tahoe skiing with my husband and another couple. On the way in, we always passed one particular store, Alpaca Pete’s, which had enormous displays along the road. Among all the rugs, statues, and other wares, what always got us laughing were (what seemed to be) five foot tall carved bears. “Who would ever buy those?!” we’d ask ourselves and then spend the rest of the trip trying to imagine the many funny ways to decorate with a five foot tall carved wooden bear.

Fast forward to a few months later when I moved from the suburbs of San Francisco into the city itself. Within a few weeks of our move, we received a notice from the doorman that a package had arrived for us. And what a package it was. It was five feet high, about two or three feet square and weighed so much that the doorman offered me an hand truck. Since we weren’t expecting anything, I looked first to the UPS label to see who had sent the box. My stomach fell to the floor as I read: “Alpaca Pete’s”.

It couldn’t be. They couldn’t have. They wouldn’t. They didn’t. Did they? And how much must they have paid for shipping?!

I dreaded opening the box, fearful of what might be inside, but eventually found the scissors and cracked it open. The first thing I saw? A piece of paper with the words “We got you!” on it. It turns out that my ever-clever friends had sent us a smaller version of the bear (a mere 18″) inside the giant box which was then weighed down with a very large bag of topsoil (to simulate heft, you see). Oh the relief! Oh the laughs! And as a tribute to our prankster friends, we put the little bear out on display in a prominent location.

In the ten years since then, we have moved four times across some 2,500 miles and added two small children to our lives. This piece that started as a practical joke among friends has been one of the few things to endure all this transition. My youngest has taken quite a liking to the bear, calling it Beary Bear and lugging it around the house in her little arms. I’m looking forward to sharing the story of Beary Bear with her in the years to come… and maybe, just maybe, even with her daughter.


Do you have a cherished and storied item that you’d like to share? Come find out more about Storied Collections and submit one of your own. We’d love to hear about it.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


Subscribe to our e-mail newsletter to receive updates.

2 Responses to “Storied Collections: Mae’s Bear is No Joke”

  1. Danielle (elleinadspir) Says:

    I love this! What a great story!!! I miss weekend trips in and out of SF. Cali is such a great place to live for weekend getaways. So many weekend trip options.

  2. Mae (pmaelee) Says:

    pam, thanks so much for including me in this collection! i’m glad it forced me to take the time to remember the stories behind our possessions. it gives me hope that my clutter problem is not the because i’m a hoarder, it’s just that i’m sentimental! thx again & see you in january!!