DON’T WASH ME, JUST LOVE ME TENDER

By Anita Rothfeld, a member of Get Your WordsWorth

I had an aunt named Charlotte. We had just gotten a washing machine, which was placed in the kitchen. My mother and Aunt Charlotte were there for the inaugural wash. We had an inaugural lunch at the end of which we had cake and coffee. The cake was my mother’s special cheesecake. It was a happy time.

Some time later, Aunt Charlotte, the great experimenter, attempted to wash a leather coat in the new washing machine. It was ruined.

Several years later, Aunt Charlotte came to my house and saw my son Neil’s blue teddy bear named Teddy, looking quite dirty. She thought, “He could do with a good wash.” Forgetting past experience, Teddy went into the washing machine, blue ribbon and all. What a sad load! Teddy had disintegrated. Aunt Charlotte made up for this tragedy with a big stuffed dog that my son named Furry.

Fast forward about twenty-five years. Some things actually change for the better. Neil and his wife Carol bought a teddy bear at the San Diego Zoo. Believe it or not, the tag on the bear said, “machine washable!” Neil said, “Let’s name the bear Charlotte!” In memory of, can you guess who?

A short time later, Neil and Carol came to stay over at my house in Brooklyn and they brought Charlotte, who always traveled with them. My black bear named Bart, whom I had bought at the Metropolitan Opera Shop, instantly fell head over heels for Charlotte. A short time after, Charlotte and Bart got married in Manhattan, at the home of Neil and Carol, where they continue to reside.

Fast forward another twenty-five years to the present day. My aid, Katiyana, returned from a trip with a snow white teddy bear, whom we named Paris. She sings, “Love Me Tender.” My brown bear named Padoogle, whom I had bought at the Coumbia Presbyterian Hospital shop, instantly fell head over heels for Paris.

Neil then told Katyana the story of Charlotte and Bart. Now, Katyana is planning a wedding for Paris and Padoogle. I will give my consent as long as the bears promise to stay with me and live happily ever after.

          May 17, 2001, read on May 18 in the writing workshop, all in attendance,          Anita, Neil, Katyana, and all the bears.

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