By Noell Wolfgram Evans
This is the story of how “one little community has come together to help a girl find a bear.”
Melissa Litchfield remembers well when she made the offering.
“My grandmother took us over to the mama bear,” she explained, “and we gave it our binkies and our bottles. See, she needed them for her cubs. That was how we were broke of those things.”
Of course, these were not real bears but a set of three statues on Harrisburg Pike, just past Clime Road. There was a massive mother bear statue and two sweet cubs trailing behind her. The statues were a landmark in the area, having been in place for an estimated 40 years. Perhaps they were there longer, no one knows for sure, but it seems like everyone in the area has a memory of them.
Jordan Litchfield, Melissa’s daughter, is one of those who thinks of those bears with fondness. As a child, she too went through the rite of passage in delivering her pacifiers to the mama bear. As she got older and had a child of her own, she looked forward to carrying on the family tradition.
Sadly though, the bears have moved on. Around 2012, the couple that had called a house a home moved and in the process, sold the bears. These landmarks of a community, of a moment in childhood, were suddenly gone.
Many lamented not seeing them anymore, but in an increasingly disposable society, they also came to expect that something like this would happen.
Jordan would not accept it. She thought about the bears constantly. Recently that wonder crossed ever so gently into the realm of obsession. She went to Facebook with a simple plea, “Help me find those bears.” She shared her story and asked for a lead, any sort of clue about where they might have ended up.
To her surprise, hundreds upon hundreds of people started to comment and share her post. With all of the recollections and memories shared, some clues did pop up. One poster said they thought they saw the bear in Johnstown. Unfortunately, Jordan traveled up and down every street to no avail.
One positive discovery was made in that the cubs were discovered to be in the hands of one of the relatives of the original owners. They are considering selling them when they move later this year. That just leaves the mama bear. Jordan and Melissa hope that someone knows where the bear is currently residing. Their ultimate goal is to see the bear family reunited in a place, perhaps a park, where the entire community can once again enjoy them.
If you have any information on mama bear, Melissa would love to hear from you at 614-732-8568.