Friday, April 6, 2012

Healing The World Through The Power Of Steiff

As the holidays of Easter and Passover are upon us, many people are focusing on new beginnings and their part in healing the world. As such, Steiffgal thought this would be a good time to share a wonderful story about the power of Steiff, but even more so, the power we all have in making a difference in the lives of others through philanthropy and genuine caring. 

Here is the story of the "Monkey Man."

A few months ago, Steiffgal was contacted by a family living just outside of New York City for some help in identifying and locating a vintage childhood treasure.  Their youngest sister, GT, a woman in her mid-40's, was having some terrible and unexpected health complications.  The family desperately wanted to reunite her with her beloved "Monkey Man" - a very large mohair chimp that was her constant companion through most of her early years - as a way to bring her comfort and some semblance of joy during these challenging times.  After carefully examining some old family photographs (pictured above...), Steiffgal determined that GT's dear friend was indeed a 1960's-era Steiff Jocko.

GT clearly loved her Jocko and called him her "Monkey Man."  Here in her own words is a poem that she wrote about him:

MONKEY MAN

"I once had a monkey who always kept me company
He was to me what Teddy bears are to little girls and boys.
 
I don’t remember when
Or the exact time and place
But my little monkey man had an unforgettable face.

Like a security blanket should be
He’ll always be a special part of me.
My little monkey man,
I’d bring him back if I can.
 
My family did not know that someday I’d miss him so.
In a trash can with old toys
Without my knowing
And not by choice.
Taken from me when I had put him aside.
But really whose place was it to decide?

My little monkey man
With his unforgettable face
Sometimes I wonder why
I hadn’t kept him in a safe place.

Although he was old and worn.
And one of his arms had torn.
I’ll never forget my favorite little monkey man.
Cause he’ll always be a part of my childhood memory.

In my mind and in my heart."

Knowing the healing power of beloved button-in-ear companions, Steiffgal immediately sprang into action. She started to search worldwide for a 60 cm Jocko in very good to excellent condition for GT.  As many collectors are aware, these "big boys" are somewhat harder to find in this larger size, as fewer were made, and the available ones tend to have damage on their felt hands, feet, and faces.  Luckily, Steiffgal found one on an eBay auction that appeared to be in pretty nice shape and dated from the mid-1960's - the same time frame as GT's original "Monkey Man." She bid on it and won, and then had it shipped directly to GT's family.  This actual Jocko is pictured here on the left.  

The family planned a special dinner for GT, in order to reunite her with her new "Monkey Man" in the most delightful and memorable way possible.  Steiffgal prepared a little note to accompany the presentation, which read in part...

"I understand that you are having some health issues and that this childhood toy was a great source of love. My thoughts and prayers are with you. The hope is that this "Monkey Man" will provide some comfort and strength for you as the original one did. I am certain he is at least a "cousin" of your original companion... It was my pleasure to assist in this family project and I do hope we can stay in touch."

Clearly the surprise worked in the best ways possible.  GT wrote back in part...

"I just would like to thank you... for working with my sister in doing such a special search for a replica of the monkey I remember having as a child. It was a great surprise to actually see the same monkey once again and it did stir up some fun wonderful old memories of when I was a child. As I am going through cancer treatments at the moment, it did bring a sense of calm and a large smile that I have not felt or done in a few months. 

There really are no words to describe how a wonderful childhood memory is brought back to life at a time when you least expect it and most need it...

...Once again, I am grateful for the time you put into searching and communicating back and forth. It is a wonderful thing that you do. You are very kind and it is obvious you love what you do and you do it with a gentle heart and as a passionate Steiff enthusiast.

Thanks again and keep up all your good work locating family treasures and keeping the history of the Steiff monkey going."

Steiffgal hopes the story of GT and her wonderful "Monkey Man" inspires you to make a difference in the life of a friend - or a stranger - and to pay forward any kindnesses that have been extended to you. Doing good feels so good.

Have a question about one of your Steiff treasures? Let's talk! Click here to learn more.  

6 comments:

  1. Bravo...blessings to you and all of yours during this holiest of seasons...what a wonderful story..thank you so much for sharing it with us...

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  2. How wonderful that you found and sent the special Jocko. Her poem touched my heart. It is only recently, as an adult, I have fallen under the Jocko spell. They are happiest most loving companions! Hope she health will improve and that she and Jocko have a happy time together!

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  3. What a lovely person you are Steiff Gal, what a kind and beautiful thing to do - I loved the last picture of GT and her Monkey Man. I love hearing nice stories like this. I'm hoping GT's treatments go well and she's back in full health very soon.
    xxxx

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  4. Such a nice thing to do.. so caring. SG is the best!

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  5. Very nice to read about the caring and love that is carried on via a favored toy...but to those who had a special bear (or fox) it comes at no surprise what a joy they do bring!

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