So, this summer I brought them home.
Children I think have a natural instinct to love the underdog and despite his piles of adored new animals with hypo-allergenic super-soft stuffing, the boy has taken my old bears to heart. Teddy, Panda, (apparently I was not a particularly imaginative child) and Timmy (originally my Father's and dating from the 1930s) have a place on his pillow at night - and by day, take their turns being allowed to watch him do his homework, play Minecraft, or build Lego.
Recently however, I noticed that Teddy had a particular smell. Not a bad smell - a sort of sweet, chemical smell and I began to think critically about what a bear made in the 60s might have for stuffing. The answer, apparently is 'powder'.
I ended up taking them all apart.
Timmy was the best. Hand made, most likely by a relation, in the 1930s he was originally stuffed with sawdust, (some of which still lingered around the odd paw) however had been re-stuffed, with wool. Panda had a remarkably sound but very weird moulded rubbery inner - but Teddy was stuffed with foam which had completely broken down.
Anyway, I found the whole thing fascinating. I opened them, emptied them, turned them inside out and mended them, soaked them and washed them, re-filled them with washable stuffing which should take them through another 40-odd years, put new chamois behind Timmy's nose, bought Teddy some new eyes and stitched them up - and this is how it went.
Not that tubby or chubby and definitely not stuffed with fluff:
(except for Timmy here...)
...and nobody knows (tiddly pom) how cold my toes... etc...*:
...and here they are. Not quite like new, but as good as it gets for 3 bears with a combined age of 150:
Sounds like a good winter to me.