Stef And Yogi

Stef called Helaine from Vegas last night. She was beyond distraught. Yogi was missing, somehow snatched from her hotel room!

Yogi came to our house while Stef was still an infant. He was the one stuffed friend she latched onto and slept with every night.

Stef called Helaine from Vegas last night. She was beyond distraught. Yogi was missing, somehow snatched from her hotel room!

Yogi came to our house while Stef was still an infant. He was the one stuffed friend she latched onto and slept with every night.

Yogi was an unusual stuffed animal in that he was also a puppet. I’d stick my hand up Yogi’s back and tell stories or make believe Yogi was playing tennis. It’s the kind of thing a dad does and a child understands.

Stef never lost her affection for Yogi. He followed her to college and on vacation. He moved with Stef when she went west. He drove to Las Vegas with her for Stef’s six week stay. He has slept with her nearly every day of her life.

Our guess is Yogi was in the bed and mistakenly sent to the laundry when housekeeping changed her sheets. That’s not a good fate for a 24 year old stuffed bear.

Stef contacted the front desk who connected her to security who sent someone to the room. The more people she spoke to the more stories she got. It seemed like everyone was trying to be polite, not helpful. They wanted the problem to disappear.

I called the hotel and spoke with a bunch of people. Twice I got names from folks who were supposed to call me back. They did not.

I can’t begin to describe Stef’s upset. It tore at Helaine and my hearts. We were affected as much as she was. Yogi is Stef’s oldest, dearest possession.

Helaine and I discussed it last night. The calls were futile. It was all for nothing. It’s just what a parent does, even when you’re powerless to help.

I heard from Helaine about 20 minutes ago. She was sobbing. Her voice quivered. Stef had just phoned her.

Helaine spoke. “Steffie has Yogi.”

I don’t have all the details yet. What I do know is Stef was in her room getting ready for work when she heard a knock at the door. A hotel employee was on the other side.

“I think this is yours,” he said. And with that he handed Yogi to Stef. I am crying now as I type this.

There are a few takeaways here. Parents feel their children’s pain. Love, even love for an inanimate object, is real and often goes deeper than we realize. Never give up.

Really, never give up.

So, it turns out the hotel didn’t give up either. They deserve praise. Out of respect for my daughter’s privacy I’m not going to name them now. However, when Stef moves back to LA I will reveal where she was staying (in the nicest hotel room she’s ever been in).

33 thoughts on “Stef And Yogi”

  1. Sounds as though it finally dawned on someone to take the bull by the horns and find this bear that was removed from her room. I smiled when I read Helaine’s response, I smiled and I could feel my heart smiling.

    -hands Geoff some kleenex-

  2. This story brought tears to my eyes! When I was a little girl, my mom gave me a stuffed dog that I named Henry. Henry slept with me every night. Henry told me stories (with mom or dads help) when I could not sleep. Henry would sing and dance for me after a nightmare. After I lost my parents by the age of 18, Henry was my comfort, and my reminder of my family, the love I had for my parents, and their love for me. I still have Henry…..and Henry still comforts me! He still has some good stories…..

      1. Thanks Isa, both died WAY too young. I still feel their love and guidance. So sorry about your loss….life sometimes can be so unfair, but time helps heal our wounds. Hugs right back! ;o)

  3. I loved that story. Someone hand me a kleenex too. I also love Las Vegas and have always been treated nicely there. I’m hoping it will turn out that Steffi was at the same hotel I always stay at.

  4. Yaaaaaay!!! I’m so glad Yogi was found and returned. My seventeen yr old granddaughter is also attached to a stuffed dog that I bought for her when she was just a couple of months old. His name is simply Doggie. He’s not so stuffed anymore from all the loving he got over the years. He used to be fat and fluffy, now he is just flat. I can’t tell you how many times his nose was sewn back on. She said when she gets married he too will go with her on her honeymoon. I think not!!!

  5. My daughter has a “night night” she’s had since she was 5 months old, she’s now 6 and it is still in her bed at night. When I look at “night night” all I see is that little baby in her crib holding on to her little friend….This story brought tears to my eyes and good memories back to my heart! Thanks for sharing!

  6. I understand her pain, and her relief when Yogi returned to her. I have a teddy bear I got from my grandmother on my first Christmas (MANY years ago.) He is nearly hairless now, real Velveteen Rabbit-ish, but he still sits on my dresser. I have a granddaughter a couple years younger than Stef, and I have explained to her how much it means for her to take over my teddy bear when I am no longer here. I THINK she understands.

  7. I have a sock monkey that I’ve had as long as I can remember. It has had its legs and arms sewn back on numerous times. There are holes in it with the stuffing (nylon stockings) poking out. It has no name, unlike some of the stuffed animals of my childhood. I cherish it. I understand.

  8. Ya know, I love movies that have happy endings. Years ago, I used to want them to be more realistic and not always have a happy ending. But now that I’ve lived enough in real life, I really only want to see movies with happy endings. The only thing better than a movie with a happy ending is real life with a happy ending!

  9. I cried just reading this. I am in my 30’s and still have my childhood blanket, “binkie”. Two of my friends still have theirs also. They were lucky and were given quilted blankets. My Binkie was a blue cotton baby blanket that now is the shade of grey with many holes and stitches. I know its disintegrating. But I’m gonna sleep with it until there is only a string left!!!

    1. Kimberly, my 30 yr old daughter still has her baby blanket and still sleeps with it! When she travels she packs it in her carry on luggage so it doesn’t get lost! I remember the “bankie” as a gift I received at a baby shower a month before she was born. Treasures to be kept forever. You go girl!!

  10. My daughter still has her blankie….I still have tears from reading this. Let Stef know her story with a fabulous outcome touched many. Welcome back Yogi.

  11. Dang..I was in tears even before I got to the part when Stef finally received Yogi back. It reminded me of when I was a very young child spending months in the hospital with polio and having stuffed animal friends to comfort me when my family were not able to be with me. They became my comfort, my playmates, my sense of belonging. The day I was released from the hospital I was not allowed to take any of them with me (not sure what the reason was at the time, maybe fear of the virus contaminating the fabric?) and it left a sadness for quite awhile after that. Happy for Stef that her outcome in Yogi’s return came about.

  12. I totally get it. It’s a “parent” thing. Just so happy Yogi is back. Best wishes to all of you! :D.

  13. I have a stuffed dog, named Harry, who has been with me the last 13 years. Living on my own in the beginning, after my divorce…Harry kept me sane..:))

  14. I’m so happy Yogi was found!!

    I also love everyone’s stories of their “loved ones”. My sister has a 51 year old Little Lulu and her daughter a 23 year old Alice. Both would be devastated if anything happened to them (ok so we tortured Alice last summer as we drove from CT to FL)

  15. My now 13 year old had her Bubby eaten by one of our labs in 2005. It was a generic terry cloth bunny my mother-in-law had purchased at TJ Maxx when my first child was born in 1996. I ended up finding a group on EBAY called “Lovey Finders.” Within a week I had a replacement Bubby exactly like the original for $8. These women are doing God’s work! 🙂 We stuffed what was left of old Bubby into new Bubby and she still sleeps with him.

    Glad your daughter found her “Bubby!”

  16. Wonderful story Geoff…my 30 yr old still sleeps with one of her baby treasures, a wonderfully soft blankie. So happy Yogi was found and returned to Stef. Love the happy ending.

  17. Having a “been there, done that” moment. Happy for all of you that the lovee was found. Love has no age limit.

  18. How I sobbed reading your missive. I am SO very grateful there was a happy ending. My 21 year old daughter, Jen, still sleeps with her threadbare, flattened, stitched up Barney. He has been a major thread in the tapestry of her life. He’s been with her throughout so much. My heart truly ached reading the first portion of your mailing … As a parent

  19. I am so very grateful for the happy ending. You are right Geoff, be it real and tangible or stuffed, yet treasured. Love is love.

  20. Awww so glad Yogi was found and returned! Old stuffed animals or other lovies are treasures indeed. And yes, a loving parent always hurts when their children hurt – no matter how old they are. I needed a tissue too.

  21. I want to cry, too! Wonderful story with happy ending. I collect soft toys, but aside from the collectible ones, I have and treasure two that I would feel the same way about if they were lost: 1) a stuffed toy that my late father (yes, father!)made for me out of a pink washcloth (LOL!) when I was about 10 — he even stitched the features and 2) a manufactured lamb that my mother had to do a lot of surgeries to in order to preserve her from my rough handling — probably from when I was about 6. Both precious posessions. Geoff, you remember my mom, Vera — one of your long-ago weatherwatchers from Cheshire….unfortunately I lost her this February so these toys are even more cherished now than ever. Best Regards, Laura.

  22. My son, who is currently 16, had the EXACT same thing happen in Washington, D.C. He had Mousie (I bet you can figure out what it is!) with him. This hotel had an option of saving the environment by not changing the sheets every day. We opted to save the environment. Well, we got back one night and Mousie was missing! Our only hope was that Housekeeping didn’t listen to their own agenda and had taken our sheets. Well, two phone calls later and there was a knock on the door. Mousie came home to my son. (I tipped them more than the mouse originally cost!)

  23. Oh this story tugged at my heart strings because I, being a grown-up married woman have lived with and loved my purple “Lavender Lou” bear for 20+ years! I can’t imagine losing him…it would break my heart. I’m kinda glad I’m not the only one who still holds onto a beloved friend.

  24. I’ve had my Bunny for almost 50 years. When my sister passed away a few years ago, Bunny got his long lost companion, Teddy(her over 50 pal), back again. They both sit on a shelf near the front door so I can grab them on the way out if the house is on fire! Flat, fur-less and patched, they make me smile every time I’m near them. So glad your Stef got her best friend back. Kudos to that hotel staff!

  25. The story of Stef and Yogi pulled on my every heartstring. It brought to heart my most beloved excerpt from the Velveteen Rabbit.  I would be remiss if I didn’t share it:

    The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it. 
    “What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”
    “Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
    “Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
    “Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
    “Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”
    “It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

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