Collector can’t ‘bear’ to part with ornaments

PRINCEVILLE — Joyce Waid’s Christmas tree, laden with all her bear ornaments, stands at 10 feet tall.

“I kind of lost count of how many I have,” Waid said. “I think I’ve got an estimated 700.”

Waid starting collecting them and decorating her homes since 1980.

“When I was a little girl, as an only child, I had a teddy bear and I carried him around everywhere,” she said. “I took him to bed every night but came home school one day and I couldn’t find him. And ever since then I’ve been collecting teddy bears.”

She searched for antique bears in hopes of finding one that looked like her old one.

Then, her husband bought her a poodle that looked just like a little bear.

“He was chocolate just like my old bear so we named him Teddy,” she said.

Waid collected everything from teddy bear cookie jars to ornaments.

Like Lyn Ratcliffe, profiled in last week’s The Garden Island (“Angel Lady’s home is little piece of heaven,” Dec. 17, C1) who decorates her house with angels, Waid decorated her house with bears.

“She’s got me beat,” said Waid. “That’s how my house was when I lived back in Texas. I had them everywhere, but when we moved here, I gave away most of the cookie jars. But I couldn’t bear to give away my ornaments and other decorations with bears on them.”

Waid admits collecting bears is a bit quirky, but it’s all fun.

She searches all over the Internet for the bears.

“I love shopping on eBay,” she said. “At first they were pretty hard to find. Now there are so many of them. I was really surprised when I saw there were so many collectors out there. I thought I was the only teddy bear fanatic, but there are all sorts of organizations out there and teddy bear conventions.”

Searching is where she gets her thrills.

“When you’re a collector, you just kind of can’t help yourself,” she said. “The fun is in the finding. It’s all in the hunt. That’s the fun part.”

This year, she promised herself that she wouldn’t add another bear to the collection, but the other day when she was at the Coconut Marketplace, she just couldn’t help herself.

“I had to buy it,” she said. “It’s a teddy with a little hula skirt on it. I love it.”

Not getting too carried away, Waid also started collecting turtle ornaments.

“I have another tree all with turtles on them,” she said. “It’s not as big as the teddy bear tree. It’s only about 7 feet tall. But it’s fun because there aren’t that many turtle ornaments.”

Since she only breaks out the teddy bear and turtle ornaments for the holidays, this is the only time of the year her home is flooded with bears.

She keeps some around the house, but didn’t say if she’d be building up to a new collection.

With the success of Build-A-Bear workshops, where people can customize teddy bears, she just might.

• Lanaly Cabalo, lifestyle writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or


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