I like to think about “Teddy” stories on his birthday. The one that I awoke with this morning was of the day, during the first week of school in 1968, Cheltenham, England. My sister Jeannie, my two baby brothers, Teddy and Raymond, and I all were enrolled in New Court School. The school was not a long walk from our house, perhaps a mile. It was not a difficult walk, requiring only a couple of turns and a couple of road crossings. Together we six kids walked each morning, my brothers Timmy and Daniel arriving at their school, Dean Close, about halfway along the way.
When the school day was over, unlike our parent prescribed orderly walk to school together, we each made our own way home ….though I’m pretty sure either Jeannie or I made sure we had 4 year old Raymond in tow. Somehow, we imagined Teddy, at just turned 6 years old, was easily old enough to find his way home. And we were correct.
That day, though Teddy set out after school, confident he would be home in just a short walk, he managed to turn the wrong way as he left the school grounds. He walked, undeterred by the unfamiliar territory in which he found himself. Before long, he realized he was lost and he stopped in at a shop in town. Oddly, he either knew our address (we had only recently moved to our house in Cheltenham), or he was able to give them enough information that the local Bobbies were able to bring him home. Imagine Mom’s surprise when her 5th born child arrived home, chocolate smeared across his grinning dimpled face, chauffeured by the local constabulary.
There’s a picture of that chocolate grinning lad somewhere, but not at my fingertips. So, I offer this evidence of those dimples and his classic grin.
Teddy graced us with that crazy grin of his for almost 25 years. Happy Birthday Ted!