Perry goes to Germany

Dear Bear Friends:

"Up and at 'em!" sang Miss Cynthia, with determined cheerfulness.

I sat up from my snug nest on the pillow, and rubbed my eyes with my paws. I was SO sleepy! Last night, we arrived in Cologne, Germany. We had traveled all the way from Paris on the train. I had stayed up VERY late on the train trip, talking to my new friends among the Orchestra--and now, I couldn't wake up!

"Come on, sleepyhead!" said Miss Cynthia, "We have chores to do!" For once, Miss Cynthia was up and dressed and ready for the day, while I lay sleeping. She picked me up, gave me a perfunctory fluffing, and re-tied my bow tie.

No cozy little ride in a handbag today for Perry! No, Miss Cynthia plopped me awkwardly on top of an odd little suitcase, before I'd even shaken the sleep from my stuffing. A long, long handle protruded from the suitcase, and I soon learned that there were little wheels beneath me as Miss Cynthia wheeled herself, the suitcase and me right out the door! I grasped the handle with both paws, and tried to gather my scattered wits as we flew out the door to our new hotel.

"Where ARE we, Miss Cynthia?" I asked. "Where are we GOING?" Since she was pulling the little wheeled suitcase behind her, like a wagon, I was addressing my questions to the back of her head. Miss Cynthia turned, looked at me and with an amused tone said, "Someplace VERY NICE!" "Someplace you're going to enjoy, Perry!"

I gave up my quest for information. SOMETHING was up, that was certain, but I was too sleepy to do more than watch the scenery fly by. Now I remembered!

"We are in Germany!" I thought, and I looked about me with more interest.

It was very cold! People walked by on the street, bundled up in hats and scarves and coats and gloves and boots. Even with my fur, I felt the cold, crisp breeze, and I thought longingly of the snug, warm corner of Miss Cynthia's handbag.

Moreover, it was not EASY to ride on the top of that little suitcase. The sidewalks were paved with stones, making for a very bumpy ride for a little bear. Miss Cynthia walked briskly, and I was bumped and shaken and jolted all the way to the mystery place.

Still, I looked about me with interest. The people looked friendly and jolly, and was that a BEAR in the store window? Yes, it WAS! I remembered how Miss Cynthia had told me teddy bears were INVENTED in Germany, and I felt happy to be there.

However, my happiness was quite short-lived. The moment we entered the door, I could SMELL it: the unforgettable smell of a bath-in-the-washing-machine.

The aromas of detergent, bleach, unpleasant soap of every kind went straight up my little bear nose. Oh, NO! It was a bear-cleaning place!

There they were, LOOMING at me! Row upon row upon row of WASHING MACHINES.

Big ones, too, with dark scary holes to enclose little bears. There! On that wall! Enormous nasty dryers, hot enough to singe the fur off any bear!

I jumped right off that little suitcase and ran to the door as fast as my legs would go. No sir, no ma'am, I was NOT going to have a bath in the washing machine. Perhaps I would find a nice little German child to live with, but NO BATH, not for Perry. Run, legs, RUN!

Miss Cynthia, though, has longer legs than any bear, and she caught me before I made it to the door. She scooped me up and gave me a nice kiss. "No, Perry, NO! YOU aren't going to have a bath! We're just going to wash all the dirty clothes!"

Yeah, RIGHT, I thought. I've heard this all before, and I folded my arms together and looked at Miss Cynthia with squinched-up eyes. She laughed, dusted me off, and sat me down on a little bench. "I mean it, Perry, it's not your turn for a bath. It WOULD be, though, if you'd gotten outside and fallen in a puddle!"

Hmmmfpf, I thought. "I shall reserve judgment!" I told Miss Cynthia, with what I hope was great dignity, and I watched sourly while she sorted the clothes.

What a place! It was full of light and the hated sound of washing machines.