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Meeting Charmin

I first met Charmin at a workshop entitled “The Power of Laughter and Play” held at the Disneyland Hotel, Anaheim, CCharmin TodayA. It was hosted by Steve Allen Jr., who taught us juggling.  Others included Steve Allen Sr., O.Carl Simonton, Ashley Montagu, Annette Goodheart and many more.

Just prior to the conference I had separated from my first wife, living on my own and I was looking for something to brighten up my life. When the brochure for the conference came in the mail, the session that caught my attention the most was Ashley Montagu’s title focusing on freestyle dance. I didn’t know who he was but besides laughter I thought that I could use some freedom. I sent in my money, which nearly wiped out my checking account at the time, but I felt that I needed to be there. I got a cheap motel close by and took my bicycle so that I wouldn’t have to pay for gas or parking, while attending the conference. Ashley Montagu’s breakout was not what I expected at all but that is the topic of the next blog.

Annette Goodheart

Annette Goodheart

As I mentioned, one of the presenters was Annette Goodheart, Ph.D. and I had no idea what she would do or how it would change my life. Steve Allen Jr. introduced Annette and this woman came out on stage wearing a hat which had the head of a fish sticking out the front and the tail of the fish sticking out the back, both of which were wagging. Under each arm she had a stuffed Teddy bear and before she said a word she threw them out into the audience. The instruction followed: hold it, cuddle with it, squeeze it or just pass it on. Annette then began to talk about Charlie the Bear and how she used him in her work at hospitals and that Canada had declared him to be a medical instrument because they were so popular. Besides the two bears that she threw out into the audience, assistants started to bring others around and hand them out so that everyone could experience the holding of the bear.

I was not eT Shirtxpecting any of the things that I felt when Charlie came to me. I squeezed it.  I looked at the T shirt, which says, “Tee-Hee, Heh-Heh, Ha-Ha, Ho-Ho,”  Then I hugged it. At that moment I wanted one. I can’t say it was love at first sight but it sure was with first embrace. Later we had a break and we could visit the different presenter’s booths to sample their wares and purchase if we wanted. I made a straight line for Annette’s booth to find out – HOW MUCH. Charlie was $95.00 and I had sticker shock. “Do I get it, do I not get it, do I get it, do I not get it,” I kept saying to myself. It was like a mantra that kept going through my head. I left the table without Charlie the Bear and went back to my chair. All through the next speaker I kept trying to figure out how I could afford it. I had spent most of my money getting there and now I was going to spend the rest of it on a STUFFED ANIMAL.

As I sat there I remembered how it felt and then I remember a story that Annette had told. At times she would take the bear with her into restaurants and other places. She shared how one time she had gone into a restaurant and placed Charlie next to her in the booth and the waitress saw it and just started laughing. The question, was I willing to carry this bear around with me so that people could laugh and smile, came to mind. I didn’t know if I could but I knew that I needed to find out so on the next break I went and bought a bear.

Later that evening I was in my motel room on the bed and sitting in front of me was the stuffed animal that I had just spent $95.00 for.  I won’t say that I had buyer’s remorse but I certainly wondered if I had gone off the deep end. I looked around the room and saw that I had a knitted backpack and in the bear went. I could figure out in the morning if I would carry it or not.

The next morning, there it was sitting on the bed. It wasn’t a dream. Yes, I had emptied my checking account to buy a Teddy bear. “What am I going to do now,” I asked myself. “I can name it.” I sat looking for awhile and then the name “Charmin” came to mind but what does that mean? (It wasn’t until later that I put the name together with “squeezably soft”)  Then it came to me, Charlie and Minuet. Charlie was actually for Charlie Brown which I had to admit I identified with and Minuet was for the dance of life that I was looking for. Charmin it was and we have been dancing together ever since.

I put Charmin on my back and out the door of my motel room we went.

Invisibility – Visibility

Try this Book.
Laughter Therapy: How to Laugh About Everything in Your Life That Isn’t Really Funny

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