I was born in England on November 17, 1961 after a long labor which began the day before. Even though I was a blue baby (Iris Blue, to be precise), I was well enough to travel shortly thereafter. I left Southampton, England and went by sea to Madrid, Spain. I don’t remember much about that time period— remember I was just a baby.
My real memories begin when I was in my late teens and living in Bakersfield, California. I had a very checkered past, although it might be more accurate to call it colorful. I had changed color so many times by then, I didn’t really know who I was. Checkered was almost the only paint job I hadn’t tried. But in Bakersfield I seemed to find my true identity, or at least it was emerging. It was there that I became an attractive metallic orange.
It was also in Bakersfield that I met a very important person in my life…Dave. He took me home from Bakersfield to Monrovia. Dave is a nice guy, but he didn’t know too much about me and he wasn’t a lot of fun. For example, when he took me home from Bakersfield to Monrovia, he took me over something called “The Grapevine.” I didn’t exactly understand what that was at the time, but I know it was hard work. In fact, I worked so hard that I had to blow off steam about three times. Dave was not happy.
I will say that Dave treated me well for the next 20 years, but we didn’t have a lot of fun. He treated me like something very special, but that can be boring. If there was the least little chance of rain (one cloud in the sky), I had to stay home. Dave was also not too attentive to me in some ways. The only time he ever paid attention to my health was when I had a major illness or lost a body part. Sure he kept me nice and safe in a garage, but he never took me anywhere. I can give you one example: I still had the same shoes in 2000 that I had in 1980 and while they weren’t worn out, they were brown and stiff instead of shiny black and pliable. They hurt.
It was then that Susan decided to adopt me. She thought I would be a good companion for her husband Bruce. Bruce had had a companion like me a long time ago, but had to give her up because he was raising his first two children all by himself and it was hard to travel together with three of them in the car. So he found another companion and gave up the one like me. Susan thought I might make him feel better about losing that other companion.
So I went to live with them and Bruce was better about my health than Dave had been. I got new shoes, belts and hoses right away. He even figured out a way to make it easier to go over things like The Grapevine (which I found out was a pass through the mountains) by changing something called a gear ratio. That involved something of an operation. He took me to a friend of his named Kurt who is a kind of doctor. He gave me the operation and maintains my health with regular check ups.
But I was still not happy. Bruce was not my kindred spirit. I decided it would be more fun to spend time with Susan. So, first I wouldn’t get going if Bruce tried to wake me up. But he outsmarted me and put in something called an electronic starter. I’m not sure what it is, but it gets me going even when I want to play hooky. So I came up with a new plan. I refused to give off signals about where we were going. It really frustrated Bruce when I would cooperate with Susan and not with him. He found a new playmate and left me to Susan. I won in the end.
It was around this time that Susan helped me realize my real identity. She reads a lot and remembered reading about my soul mate when she was little. She dug out the references to my soul mate in a book called The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne. Like me, Mr. Milne was English and in his book he writes about Winnie the Pooh hearing a noise outside his house (Tigger was making the noise). That noise sounded like “Worraworraworraworraworra,” and that is exactly what I sound like on a cold morning. In the book Pooh has a friend named Piglet and they got into a discussion once about my size. Piglet felt that I was “quite big enough,” but Pooh thought I wasn’t “really very big.” Piglet said that I seemed to be big and wrote a poem about it:
“But whatever his weight in pounds, shillings and ounces, He always seems bigger because of his bounces.”
And I do bounce. It is my best trick. And I never get lost. According the Mr. Milne’s book, “Tiggers never get lost…that’s how it is.” I will admit that Susan is the reason I never get lost now. She has a fixation with maps which are a way of not getting lost even when we travel.
And we travel a lot. I was a well traveled Tigg’r even before I came to live with Susan and Bruce, remember I had been to England and Spain, and lots of other places I don’t remember. Since coming to live with them, however, I am keeping track of my travels. I have been to the mountains (places called Lake Tahoe and Big Bear where I need to watch out for overexertion) and to the desert (it’s hot there so I have to be careful) and to the ocean (the temperature is nice, but I need to be careful around that salty air). I have even gone to a place called Klamath Falls, which involved going over mountains and through a desert like area where it was really hot. I like to travel because it involves two of my favorite things, bouncing and not getting lost.
I should mention one other adventure I had several years ago. Bruce decided I needed something called a “Re Fur Bishment.” I know “re” means “again,” and that Tigg’rs have “fur,” but that “Bishment” part had me scared. But what happened was they took me to see Kurt and he gave me lots of operations. I like Kurt. He is something called an Australian which is kind of like being English like me, but also being fun, like a Tigg’r. If Susan and Bruce didn’t have my birth certificate, I would think that I was an Australian. In addition to lots of operations, I was sent to a Beauty Parlor called a body shop. There the nice people made me look really attractive again. I like that.
I enjoy playing with Susan every day and I like going on adventures with Susan and Bruce. Sometimes Bruce even takes me to work with him. But I like going all around town with Susan more. Best of all is Christmas when I become Santigger and my assistant, Tiggelf, appears to help me. We ride in a parade with someone named Steve who Susan says is the “city treasure.” He is a nice man who takes care of Monrovia’s money and knows all about Monrovia’s history. He is fun like Kurt, but is not an Australian. Steve looks like the man in a game called Monopoly; he even wears a top hat.
This is my story so far. Bruce worries about me. My friend Kurt takes care of me. My friend Steve rides in parades with me. But most of all, my best friend Susan and I travel around town making people smile. That is what Tigg’rs do best: they make people smile and they bounce everywhere and they never get lost.
By Susan Motander