Hazel Freeman remembers receiving a cardboard teddy bear from a Miss McGee
Resource Type: Audio | Posted on 18th July 2011 by Liam Physick
Hazel Freeman recalls how her father sent her to a Miss McGee while he was working in the shop, because she and her brothers were “blooming pestering nuisances”, and how she received a cardboard teddy bear as a free gift from this woman, but unfortunately she hasn’t kept it!
Interviewee: Hazel Freeman
Interviewee Gender: Female
Date of Interview: 19th February 2011
Jenny: So, what are your memories, then, of . . . did, did you used to go in to work with your dad at all, or . . . ?
Hazel: Yes, in, you know, in the holidays, he’d sometimes take us in, we’d say, “Can, we, can we come with you”, and we were blooming pestering nuisance (sic), weren’t we! (Jenny laughs) So, we’d be given to one of the people, maybe somebody would be sent to Tom Connell in the garage, one of the boys.
Hazel: I don’t know what my brothers did there but, you know, we’d like to go to the toy department. I used to go to a lady called Miss McGee, cos there were all called “Miss”, nobody was allowed to be called “Mrs.” . . .
Jenny: Oh, right.
Hazel: . . . if they were “Mrs.”, because it wasn’t good for morale, you had this idea . . . so they were all given a “Miss”, so everyone was . . . equal, and I went to this lady, Miss McGee, who was actually married, to Tom Connell, so she would actually be Mrs. Connell . . .
Hazel: . . . and she used to sell stockings (Jenny laughs). Now, the only reason a, sort, of, nine-year-old girl wanted to, to sell, to help sell stockings . . .
Hazel: . . . was because their name was “Bear Brand” (Jenny laughs), and Bear Brand had a teddy bear . . .
Jenny: Oh, right!
Hazel: . . . and I liked teddy bears (Jenny laughs), and they gave these free gifts, to be displayed, and the gifts . . . a lot of the teddy bears, were made out of cardboard, and they had three legs, you know like the Isle of Man, on the back, so that a child could pick up this cardboard teddy bear, and walk it along . . . (both laugh)
Hazel: . . . and I loved this so much I would help her all day in the hope that at the end she’d say, “Would you like one of the cardboard teddy bears?” (both laugh)
Jenny: Did you ever get one?
Jenny: Ah, good!
Hazel: But, unfortunately, I haven’t kept one!
Jenny: Ah! Bear Brand!
Hazel: Bear Brand and this yellow teddy bear! We didn’t want much in those days . . .
Hazel: . . . we were happy with very little! (both laugh)
Categorised under: Social Life