At home, and among the British colony, I have always been known as Teddy. Once an adult, many would call me Ted. When I was a server and then a choir member of the Anglican Church, now the Anglican Cathedral of São Paulo, I would receive letters and notes addressed to E. Harris, Esq.
Naturally, one could assume that my real name was Edward, or even Theodore, by the way, as Ted is used as an abbreviated form for those two names. But one would be absolutely wrong, as my name is Walter, after my Dad.
So how did I come by this nickname? That is why I am writing this short story, which is part of our family history.
In the early years of the 20th century a toy representing a bear was developed in the United States and in Germany, and was named after Theodore “T.R.” Roosevelt Jr. (1858-1919), President of the United States (1901-1909). Teddy bears sought to imitate the form of real bear cubs, and have been among the most popular gifts for children ever since.
As the story goes and as it was told to me by my parents, we were spending a weekend in Santos, and there I was, a small tot in a pram. I had blond and curly hair. Today my hair is still curly if I leave it long enough, but at seventy, it is quite white!
Well, there I was in my pram, when a young girl came along to appreciate my “good looks”, and turned to her mother and said: “Mother, he looks just like a teddy bear!”.
Needless to say, that from that moment onwards I was stuck with my nickname for good, that I have always cherished, and just love being called Teddy!