Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The bear of my memory

When I was a kid my parents had a vacation house in North Conway New Hampshire. Every weekend in the winter my parents would load up the station wagon and take us kids skiing. Because I was the youngest (this was before seat belts or car seats) I often had to sit in the way back with the luggage. The trip took a little over three hours so I was always happy when it was almost over. My signal that we were nearing the end was a gas stations we drove past in Conway that had a small yellow bear sign out front. I looked forward to seeing the bear on all our trips as it meant we had almost reached our ski house.

Many years later when I discovered the music of the Grateful Dead and the culture of the Dead Heads I was struck my the similarity between the Grateful Dead's dancing bear symbols and the little bear sign I remembered seeing as kid. When most of my Dead Head friends chose the more traditional skulls and skeleton symbols for their Dead garb I instead gravitated to the little bears that reminded me of my fun family skiing trips.

The little happy garage bear has haunted my subconscious for years, but I know so little about it. If I ever knew what that beer was selling it's long forgotten.

When I ran across the Grateful Dead's dancing bears again the other day and it once again triggered this old memory I decided to see if I could find out more about the bear. It took a bit of Googling but I believe I've found the sign. The problem is these signs are from southern California and I don't know if the Bolles company sold product in the north east. Perhaps they are just the models for the Grateful Dead's bears and are not related to mine.

If you recall this sign or others like it please let me know. I'd love to give this bear a name.

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