A window to the world

The entire globe has been on a massive teddy bear hunt

By Jeana Durst, content director, JBMC Media

Across the U.S. and in more than 10 other countries, something remarkable is happening. You’ve probably noticed it on your street, or you may have already participated. If you haven’t, we are officially inviting you on a bear hunt—a teddy bear hunt, that is.

It’s not clear how this phenomenon got started, but what is evident is that when families started placing stuffed bears and other animals in the windows and inviting us all to spot them, there was a sense of comfort in this pandemic—one collective “aww” if you will. This universal symbol for nurturing care is on display, a nonverbal way of expressing camaraderie and love from a safe social distance.

A teddy bear hangs on the door of Tammy Arnau’s house in Hoover.

Hoover resident Scott Stantis, an editorial cartoonist for The Chicago Tribune and creator of the comic strip Prickly City, drew a bear for The Tribune that was part of a story in which people could download a pdf to cut out their own bear or submit their photos of bears. “We got hundreds and hundreds of responses—it’s just so darn nice,” Stantis says. (If his name sounds familiar, it’s because Stantis spent years drawing editorial cartoons for The Birmingham News.)

A teddy bear greets customers and passers-by at Standifer’s Animal Clinic in Homewood.

He has an even deeper connection to bears. “I gave a teddy bear that I gave to my wife for our first Christmas together almost 40 years ago—it’s a pot-bellied bear and we call him Pots.” Stantis was inspired to do the newspaper illustration after a friend said she would be coming by the Stantis house on a teddy bear hunt. “So of course I ran and we put Pots on the front porch on a chair,” Stantis says, explaining that “the way you hunt them is that you wave to them.” Since that time he and his wife have gone on long walks and driven to other neighborhoods to do their own hunting. It’s just this kind of thing that has the power to make us all—young and old alike—set aside the worries of the pandemic, even if just for a while.

Stantis decided to draw this special bear you see above just for our Bham Family magazine community, and we hope this inspires you to send us photos of your stuffed bear or the ones you spot by sending them to our Facebook page.

Scott Stantis, editorial cartoonist for The Chicago Tribune and a Hoover resident, drew a special cartoon for Bham Family and this story.
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