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Remembering Teddy Ruxpin

It was three days before Thanksgiving in 1986, when family from all across the state came to visit our small house in Burlington, North Carolina for a special occasion: my third birthday. I was the first grandchild on both sides of my family, and I was still pretty new to this world. Everyone was excited to celebrate the latest addition to the Myers family, and so my birthday was only behind family reunions in terms of attendance. It really didn't matter to me, I was just grasping the idea of birthdays and how they worked. All I remember was a table full of presents and one particularly strange shaped box against the wall.

There seemed to be excitement in the air surrounding this mysterious looking box. I had seen my grandfather, Papa Larry, take the box off the table several times and disappear into a back bedroom with different family members. The cake, balloons, and attention I was getting was more than enough to keep me entertained, so I didn't really give it much thought. I was thrilled so many people showed up to bring me presents!

I opened all of the presents with exception of the strange box. I can't remember what was in the boxes, but I'm assuming some clothes, random toys, and maybe a baseball glove. Typical gifts a three year old boy would get for his birthday. None of it really mattered, because once I opened up the next present, all would be forgotten.

My grandfather reached behind the box as soon as I finished putting away my second to last present. Everyone sat quietly with smiles on their face as I got up to fetch my last present. I got halfway to the box when suddenly I heard, "Brandon. Brandon... come open me Brandon."

I stopped dead in my tracks. It was my grandfather's voice, but he was standing next to me and his mouth wasn't moving.

"It's okay Brandon. I just want to play. Happy Birthday bud."

I looked around at all of my family member's faces, just waiting for someone to give me permission to open the present up. All I saw were wide grinned smirks, and that's when I turned to my grandfather. He smiled, and handed me the box and assured me, everything was ok.

I unwrapped the box slowly, still unsure to what I was about to find, and was shocked to see a very friendly bear staring back at me. He was brown, had big bright eyes, and wore a neat vest over the top of his red shirt. The name across his vest read Teddy Ruxpin.

I liked Teddy as soon as I saw him. Then his mouth moved and I heard my grandfather's voice coming out of the box.

Papa Larry started to show me what he had done. He had recorded a cassette tape of him talking and had placed it in the back of Teddy Ruxpin. He had then cut a hole in the back of the box and the package, so he could easily turn the bear on, so that his voice could come out of his mouth. I was shocked at the ruse, but even more shocked that the bear could talk. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen.

My grandfather swapped out his cassette for the actual Teddy Ruxpin cassette and sat me down to show me how it all worked. Teddy Ruxpin was basically a robot, who would read stories to you. You could follow along in a book, which would help kids learn to read. It was a fantastic invention and one that I got a ton of use out of. The only downside to Teddy was that he was made of plastic, so he wasn't the ideal Teddy Bear to sleep with or anything, not to say that I didn't try.

Teddy Ruxpin, in part due to how I received the present, is one of those icons of my childhood. It was a brilliant toy straight from the 1980's, that I have nothing but fond memories of. Whenever I think back to the toys of my childhood, Teddy Ruxpin is right there at the top.

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Ladysnow Posted on Jul 17, 2020 at 08:19 AM

I had one as a kid and keep it for my kids and now my grandkids play with him

Benjanime Posted on Jul 05, 2020 at 01:08 PM

teddy ruxpin was past my time, but i could see my older sister owning one.

Vaporman87 Posted on Jul 03, 2020 at 03:37 PM

@Daddymus Prime: That's hilarious! I used to put my Information Society album in there. LOL

Daddymus Prime Posted on Jul 02, 2020 at 05:21 PM

I used to put my Iron Maiden tapes into my younger brother's Teddy R to scare the bejesus out of him XD

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