News about Blackie from Greg in Reno

Hello this is Greg Bishop from Reno Nevada.  Blackie has been having a great time since he has been here.  He toured downtown Sparks Nevada and visited the railroad yard that helped put Sparks on the map.  He also attended theColumbus Day celebration in downtown Reno under the famous Reno arch.  Blackie also got his picture taken in a Hot Air Baloon which was part of the Great Reno Balloon races.  It has been great having Blackie here, although Blackie is looking forward to moving on and experiencing the next phase of his journey.

Thanks soooo much for posting....Blackie went to visit his home in the Smokies yesterday and we had a grand adventure....Cokie loved it too.  We took pictures and everything.  Some of the beanies want to tell you about the hunt, but I am late to work.  so I am forwarding this to the store and will try to let them get back online tonight....while I have to work.  Lucky beanies Blackie goes to visit the first grade class tomorrow and the kids have composed a song and everything.  Also gave Mrs Keirsey a camera to document the day.


Dear Linda,

Ok, Ok...I know I am in the Bow Wow house...Once for not letting you know he arrived....Twice for not sending after 2 days.....cannot possibly allow him to leave can call FBI for kid (bear ) nappers.

Blackie and his Coke companion are lounging at the store tonight after a busy week entertaining the kids .... he and Cokie have learned a new is actually a song the first grade class at Hillcrest Elementary and their very, very nice and inovative teacher made up....I can't wait to get it taped....

Blackie and Cokie went to school.  I gave Leah (teacher) one of the cameras I bought and she will take pics for we have called the local TV station....hoping Blackie and Cokie can get a spot on the tube next week...

Blackie and friend will be guest of honor at a HUGE party at the store  very calling my Blackie's Grand Adventure call list I have been collecting since he started the tour....quite long now...and we will have give a way bb for the kids and the adults as games and eat a huge Great American Cookie that says Blackie's Grand Adventure.  I even had to order more Blackie's Grand Adventure buttons this week....gave out over 50 before he arrived.

Well....will keep you updated and can put Blackie and Cokie on the computer if you need to verify they are still alive....otherwise ransom is another 8-10 days in Tenn. don't throw things......get back you beanies......

Whew.....Princess had beeped the deer down in the lower field and they in turn raced up to the house with Whisper in the lead....All wish all the children at the center a very good night and say I should mention that Cokie and Blackie are not even homesick yet and cannot wait to see a UT game on TV.  Several beanies have made extra pom-poms for Blackie and Cokie as they will be
cheerleading for the games.

Night all and email any love notes to Blackie and Cokie....either here or at the store at :"

Thanks for allowing the great (Smokey) Blackie and Cokie to visit.

Love and kisses from all the beanies.

Beanie Smiles......

Jan     :)   :)  :)  :)  :)  :)  :)  :)  :)

This is Grandmaw in Massachusetts.

This is Grandmaw in Massachusetts.  Blackie arrived on Tuesday all decked out. He has had a great rest here with Grandmaw.  She smothered hims wif those thar smushy kisses Grandmaws give and he gots lots and lots of hugs.  He helped make a chocolate cake and was allowed to licks the bowl.  The weather heres has turned cool and the leaves are showing signs of color - soons the leaves will bees all gold, and orange and red.  Blackie was here and glued to the computer to see what TY created to bees his brothers and sisters.  He was certainly happy.  We tooks him on a Swan Boat ride wif my Grandson Glenn, who is seven on Wed.

It is time fer Blackie to gets on his way, now that he has rested. Grandmaw wrotes him a little books called "GRANDMAW KISSES'. and with it she tucked some photos of Boston, some information on Old Ironsides, and a book called MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS

The children will be quites surprised when Blackie returns home.  His Journal is almost full.  There are some wonderful stories and pictures.  He is wearing the cutest Cowboy Hat and has lots of clothes.  I loves his backpack wif all them thar pins from different states and he even has a Snickers bar in thar.
Grandmaw wills wrap that in plastic fer it might melt if he heads towards warm country.  Grandmaw will fix hims up wif all new ZiP lock bags fer she is sure he wills like that.

Please tell us where to send Blackie next.

         Hugs from Grandmaw


Blackie arrived on his official retirement day.  So first things first. Blackie went to the local Social Security office where my wife works and filed for his benefits.  It was a grand celebration that eveing with a black tie event including the Mayor proclaiming this to be Blackies OFFICIAL retirement day in our city.  We had a ball including all the city officials and school children.  The program included the parade of beanies and the start of the official beanie baby club at the elementary school.  We have taken Blackie to see all the wonderful sights sounds and fun MO has to offer.  Blackie seems to enjoy fishing (he's really good).  He caught a 7lb catfish.  Loves to ride the roller coasters and loves to eat.  We have enjoyed the smiles of many school children and senior groups as we have went on the circuit with Blackie.  His latest book BLACKIES GRAND ADVENTURES should be released very soon.  His life experiences including finding his lost brother here in the state of MO.  Curly the Bear - will bring many hours of enjoyable reading.  As fall official began we have sent Blackie on his journey - we wish we could go - we will miss him -

best wishes.
Love and Prayers
The downhome group from MO


THIS IS THE LATEST EMAIL FROM BLACKIE HIMSELF (with a little help from his host)


Subject: Re: Blackie

Dear Linda Ray and Friends:

Hi!! It is "Blackie" from Milwaukee, Wisconsin!  I wanted to let you know that I arrived safely on Wednesday night!! I was pleased to get out of that plastic bubble wrap, however!!  I was definately near suffocation!!  The human who is taking care of me (Suzette Grube-Thur) seems kind enough and feeds me well.  Fresh Walleye and Perch are on the menu for "Fish Fry Friday" ( a tradition in Milwaukee!)!  I cannot wait!  She mentioned to me that Kellie did not provide enough postage for my mailing and therefore, I was returned and then sent out again!

Suzette did not know the location to send this message; but she wanted to make certain that you knew that I arrived.

We have been so busy ever since I arrived!!  Hoppity and T.I. (Teeny Inch) "crashed" for a very long hibernation.... They were fast asleep in Tyler's (Suzette's son) Packer tent made especially for us beanies!

Imagine that?!! I slept in my "snuggley" soft sleeping bag that my friend gave me on an earlier visit.. Those two can really snore!!

Suzette took me to a real Beanie Show!! You couldn't even imagine all of the other beanies that were there!  I managed to see my lost brother, Blackie the Third and some of my old friends:  Spot with no spot, Lizzy (tie-dyed), and even Slither.  Randy (the nice human at the Show) let me take a picture of all of my vacationing friends and he gave me a fancy name tag on a chain as well.  These humans must think that we forget our names!

Speaking of vacations.. can you believe that I am officially on "vacation!"  Suzette showed me the Ty site and I almost lost my "eyeballs" when I saw that Ty had retired me!!

Suzette wanted me to ask if it would be okay to stay an extra day... I explained to her that I have so many people to visit, but tomorrow, all of the children at the school where she is teaching are having a special celebration for me.  On Saturday, they have plans to take me to see some Milwaukee sites (Zoo, County Stadium and the Brewers, Usinger's Sausage Factory, a farmer's market, etc.).. I said that I would have to ask you.

So, what do you think?  Do I have an extra day?  I will leave on Monday, if it is okay?

Suzette also wants to send a digital picture of me and her students.. where should she send that?  How?  We looked at my site at Infants In Need and saw other pictures.

Well, I miss you Linda and all of my friends - but my "Great Adventure" is truly wonderful!!!

I'll keep in touch!


(With some help from Suzette for typing! My claws are great for catching fresh fish, but terrible for typing!)

I had an ãAwesomeä time at Donges Bay School, in Mequon, Wisconsin.  The kids all call Suzette, ãMrs. G-T.ä  It took me awhile to get used to the name, but I even got into calling her that, too!  The kids at Donges Bay are great!!  Mrs. G-Tâs fifth grade students were the best hosts!! They took me around to most of their clas>

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ym, First Grade Pals, and Library Skills.  Their favorite activities seem to be eating, recess, eating, and more eating!  It seemed that every time I turned around, they were having a snack, eating lunch, or enjoying the celebration ãsnackä of Kodi Bear ice cream bars  (in my honor, if you couldnât have guessed!).

The first pciture that was taken was with my friend Casey.  He shared one of his delicious treats with me at snack time (yum, yum! I think it was Goldfish" crackers?!). Tracy was showing me around the playground and teaching me how to play 4 - Square.  Itâs a strange game... bounce the ball and try to get another human out by slamming the ball in their square. I would prefer a good com>

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>Since the fifth graders were so kind to share with me some of their school day, I made a special request of Mrs. G-T.  I asked her if Hoppity, T.I. (Teeny Inch) and I could teach the kids a little geography lesson.  She agreed and we worked very hard to identify all of the sites that I have visited since March.  They should be very proud of themselves!! I was impressed by their great behavior and their fantastic knowledge! The second picture of me was of m>

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t the top of the map!!

The fifth graders also introduced me to Mrs. Sullivanâs first grade class. The fifth graders and the first graders get together every other week to do special projects.  I cannot believe the size difference between them; much to my delight and surprise, the first graders were as polite and as thoughtful as the fifth graders. Many of my new friends brought my cousins with them. The next picture was a picture of a few of my cousins.

I had a ãBear-yä great day at Donges Bay School.  At the end of the day, the entire school waved good-bye to me.  That picture is still being developed and I am as anxious to see it as they are!

I am looking forward to getting back to Mrs. G-Tâs home for my meal of fresh perch and walleye.   Wow!  Kids have a lot of energy, are filled with enthusiasm, and are truly a wonderful group of ãhumans!  Mrs. G-T said that she is tired, too.. and to tell you the truth, I understand why!  Thank you Donges Bay for a great day!!


Here's a message from Blackie as well:

Hi Linda Ray and Friends!!
I am having a great time, although I miss your hugs and snuggles!  I have attached a document which tells and shows all of you the wonderful things that I have been doing.  The visit to Suzette's school (Donges
Bay School in Mequon, Wisconsin was awesome!

Well, I must be off - my fresh perch and walleye dinner await my arrival (they call it a "fish fry" in Milwaukee)!  Talk with you soon!

Love -


Another message from Suzette:

Blackie had a wonderful time yesterday - thank you for the extra time. We were able to complete his tour of Milwaukee as a result of your generosity of time.  The pictures that I took with the traditional camera are being developed as we speak; but they will not be finished until Monday (or even Tuesday!!).  I was able to include copies of the digital camera's pictures into his journal (the ones that you received), but the other pictures will need to be sent to you.  I had hoped to compile all of the pictures into a file folder/mini-photo album before
he left; oh well.

Let me know of his next address and (sadly!) we will get him on his way.  I have so enjoyed his stay.... I am grateful for the opportunity to enjoy his company and my contact with you.

Thank You!


We will add the pictures just as soon as they arrive from Wisconsin

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Suzzette, her family and all that participated in hosting Blackie on his Grand Adventure in Milwaukee.  We hope you will continue to follow Blackie on his journey.




Blackies Adventure Continues in Huber Heights, OH

Hello everyone I thought I would e-mail my latest adventure

July 25
I arrived safe and sound at the Taylors house in Huber Heights, OH. The Taylor's daughter Rachel who is 11 years old took care of me and shared her room. She even had special furniture and lots of other beanies to keep me company.  I do get a little homesick sometimes.

We decided to make good use of the day and went to The Dayton Air force Museum it was very interesting to see how the airplane has changed through the years. Did you know that the inventor of the airplane the Wright Brothers lived in Dayton Ohio?  I was able to sit in the cockpit of an airplane and rode a flight simulator.  Later that day we ate at a Chinese restaurant.  The fish was my favorite of course.

July 26
We went to church .  That afternoon we went to the amusement park Kings Island.  I rode roller coasters, water rides we were drench when we got off.  It was really fun!  Rachel kept wanting to ride the roller coaster but mystomach felt a little funny ,  so her mom stayed with me while she rode withher dad.  That evening I slept really well.

July 27
I went to piano lessons with Rachel she just started a month ago.  She taught me to play Yankee Doodle Dandy I can't wait to show  you all when I return home. We came home and I met some of her nice friends and played with other beanies.

July 28
This was a big day Rachel and I went to the orthodontist. Rachel got braces and the orthodontist Dr. Gersh said I had an overbite.  His assistant Joan made me a headgear to wear at night.  Everyone was so nice to me at the office. My jaw kind of hurt the next morning so Mrs. Taylor gave me some beanie Tylenol. I felt good a new then.

July 29
Rachel and I were feeling a little sore from our orthodontic work so we decided to stay home and play games and listened to music.  I found out her
favorite band is the Hanson.  She knows every work to their songs.  There was a big surprise today.  Mrs. Taylor brought home tickets to a HansonConcert and she said I could go also.  I'm very excited!

July 30
We went shopping for school supplies. I helped Rachel clean her room. We played with Missy the family dog.

July 31
I met Rachel's aunt Stephanie and 2 year old cousin J.D.  Boy 2 year olds are fun but they move fast!

Aug. 1
We went swimming today.  I thing I stayed in the sun a little to long.

Rachel and I were a little sick from the sun yesterday. We tried to rest up for our big day tomorrow.

We went to the Hanson Concert in Cincinnati.  The concert started at 8:00 PM. and was over with at 11:00 PM.  We danced and sang and clapped.  I wore earplugs because the screaming hurt my ears.  All the girls kept screaming I love you Zack or I love you Taylor or I love you Isaac.  I just liked their music.  I asked Rachel to please not scream so close to my ear.  The Hansons seemed very nice and fun.  They squirted the audience with Super Soaker water guns. Rachel had hoped we could meet the Hansons and get their autograph to send home with me.  We couldn't meet them and were a little sad about that.  But it is an evening I will never forget.  Mmmbop is my favorite song now.  Although they put on a great show and every song was good.  They are very talented they played their own instruments and even traded which one they would play. By the time we got home and in bed it was 3:30 AM.  It was the latest Rachel and I had ever stayed up.  Mrs. Taylor told me I would be leaving for my next host tomorrow.

I will miss my new friends and they said they would surly miss me. My box is a little crowded so Mrs Taylor is sending a lot of my things back to home in Florida there are pictures of my visit with the Taylors.  Keep your eye out for them.  I think I will sleep until I arrive at my next host house so I will not be a grumpy bear. I love and miss you all! Look for me to e-mail from my next host soon!




Dear Linda & the children:

We have really enjoyed Blackie and Scoop's stay in our home.  We will be sad to see them leave on Thursday morning.

We had a wonderful time showing them around.  We took a tour of Washington, Dc.  We have souveniers and pictures, as soon as they are developed we will send them to you.  Blackie had a dinner of Maryland Blue Crabs in Annapolis last night.  He was a bit scared at first, the crabs were bigger than he was!  He was happy to have me pick his crabs for him!  Scoop was right in his element, and had a good laugh at Blackie's expense!

Blackie & Scoop have had a great time with our animals.  We have a Guinea Pig named Ginny, a cockateil named Elvis (they spent a while hanging out in Elvis' cage!), and we also have 2 fish.  We really had to keep them from the fish!  They're natural instincts for fishing really came out!

We were also able to take them both on our mini family Vacation to Williamsburg, Virginia.  They really enjoyed Busch Gardens and all of the rollercoasters!  The water park was a big treat too on a very hot day!

I will forward all of the pictures to you as soon as they are developed!

Thank you so much for letting our family take part in Blackie's grand adventure!

The McIntire's

School children playing with Blackie
in Powell, Ohio


Hi Linda and Kids!

Blackie here again!  I finally got a chance to sit down at a keyboard here and write you some email from Madbury, New Hampshire.

I think I've stayed longer than planned, here at the Barton's, but I've had a wonderful time.  I've been on a camping trip that was absolutely incredible.  It was at a lake in Maine called Sebago.  I wonder if you can find that place on the map?

Have you ever gone to sleep with the sound of bullfrogs as a lullaby or Woken up to the sound of a loon calling to its mate across a lake?  It is such a peaceful sound.

I went camping again to a place in Warren, New Hampshire.  I saw something really neat in that area.  It is call the Old Man On the Mountain.  The Old Man is a natural rock formation that is the state symbol for New Hampshire. It looks like the side view of a man right there on the side of the mountain!

I better go now.  I have so much to right in my journal and I have to get packed for my next host family.  Maybe, Linda will be able to tell me where I'm off to next?

Lots of Love and Bear Hugs (what other kind of hug would I give),


Blackie has been visiting in Michigan's Upper Peninsula:

Blackie had a great time visiting Michigans Upper Peninsula.  He loved Lake Superior, and collected some rocks at the beach.  He saw ore boats, and sailboats, and relaxed in the sand.  He played at parks, ate ice cream cones, and went to the International Food Festival and sampled all kinds of different foods.  Blackie loved the 4th of July fireworks and parade.  He also enjoyed a visit to the library, and reading books every night before bed.  His favorite was Good Night Moon, and he will be bringing it with him to read with his next host families. He has some things packed in his little knapsack, and we went shopping, and he picked out a Cowboy outfit to wear since he and Valentino are going to Montana. It was fun having them come to visit!  Take care Blackie....we will miss you!





Blackie has arrived safely at our school. He came late this afternoon. Since today is Friday and the children haven't an opportunity to enjoy him, he will visit our class Monday and Tuesday (May 18 & 19).  This weekend Blackie will visit the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area and report on his weekend adventures.  Tuesday after school he will be mailed to the
next location on his trip.

Thanks again for including us, our class is really excited to participate and to introduce Blackie to their Beanie Baby friends.  One child has already said that his twin is in our classroom as we have a Blackie too.
We have also adopted a one-eyed Peanut, thanks to the generousity of a local card shop that supplies us with missing or damaged hang tags or other less than perfect Beanies.  Having these "special" Beanies has generated a lot of good discussions in our classroom.
We will report to you later about what Blackie is doing, where he goes, and how he likes it.


Blackie has had a wonderful time visiting the boys and girls in our kindergarten class.  He first spent the weekend at home with me, helping me with my school and paper work. He also enjoyed spending time with all my Beanie Babies. He especially liked visiting with Peace, Valentino, Cubby and Princess (a recent birthday present).  At school he got to participate in reading/writing workshop, lunch, outdoor activity, indoor activity and writer's workshop.  He thought kindergarten was fun but a lot of work.  He really liked resting and watching a movie with the childrenand the other Beanie Babies in the class.

Today Blackie, all the children and our Beanies went outside for pictures. We are sending one with this email. Blackie is in the front with his new Devil Rays baseball helmet.  Since we now have a pro baseball team we thought Blackie would like a souvenir. He also got a Devil Rays commemorative pin.  All souvenirs and pictures will be sent separately, as I have to get the film developed.

We enjoyed our time with Blackie and look forward to tracking his future
adventures around the country.

Beverly Lemon & kindergarten class
North Ward Elem.
Clearwater, FL

Thank you Bev Lemon and the North Ward class for participating in Blackie's Grand Adventure

 Blackies visits St. Augustine, FL

Hello everyone,

This is just a short note to let you know Blackie has arrived at our house in St Augustine, Florida.  Blackie is a little homesick. He said he missed all his friends in Coral Gables.  After he rested a bit we began taking him to some fun places to cheer him up.  After visiting thehistoric fort downtown we took him to the beach where he loved getting some sun.  He said to tell you all he loves you and misses your hugs and kisses.

We will keep him busy and he will be very well taken care of.  Tomorrow he will visit a second grade class  and maybe even the alligator farm.  He also gets to be at another Birthday Party.  Mine!!!  We will have hamburgers and hot dogs and eat outside , where bears like to eat most.  I'll be sure and give him some honey on his cake.

I will talk to you later!

                      Sandi and the Gunn Family.


As soon as Blackie arrived in Marquette he had a physical to be sure he was in top condition for his visit.  Of course, one of the first to play with Blackie was the youngest and then big brother had to get into the act.  Blackie enjoyed being outside with the beautiful flowers.

Blackie arrived in Marquette today, and enjoyed seeing an ore boat on Lake Superior, going to Kids Kove playground, eating a Pastie, and meeting new friends.  We have lots of plans for his next couple days here, and he is a great houseguest.

He and Valentino are doing just fine, and said to say hi to all their previous hosts, and to let everyone know that they are having the time of their lives!  Take care!



While in Waukegan Blackie's host took him on a side trip to visit Mom for Mothers Day in Chicago.  Wow, did she have a beautiful dog and cat.  I made great friends.

Thanks Mom andKendra

Here is news from Boston


Ok, great! We'll mail him out first thing tomorrow morning! (Tuesday)

Blackie had loads of fun visiting Boston. First, we went to Quincy Market and Fanueil Hall. He had his picture taken in the Great Hall. At lunchtime, we got lobsters for lunch! Blackie didn't know if he wanted to eat something that was staring at him, but I showed him how to eat it, and he found it very good!

Next we went to The King's Chapel on Tremont Street. We had lots of funsitting in the pews, and a guide that we talked to said it's really neat that Blackie was doing all of this, and said to send him a copy of Blackie in the chapel. Next, we went to Boston Public Garden, where we rode the swan boats and sat on the bronze statues of ducks, which are there because of the story "Make Way for Ducklings", which took place in Boston. Last, we went to the Museum of Science in Boston, where we shopped till we dropped in the gift shop, and glanced at the huge Omni theater and the Planetarium.

When we got back, Blackie took a long nap! Blackie says to tell you he misses you all, and I just want to say that as soon as I get the pictures devloped, I'm sending them directly to the center!



Blackie had a lot of friends to play with at the Lyth home

Here is the latest from the Knapps, at Merritt Island, FL, Blackie's host family for a couple of days.

Blackie left today for his new host family in Pa. He was very happy that I left him out of his box and he wore his new bucke-up so he could lookout the window.

I introduced him to my fellow workers at the Merritt Island Post Office. I planned on taking Blackie to work with me so he could meet some of thepeople from Merritt Island, as I work as a window clerk. But as I thinkI told you I have been out of work with surgery on my foot.  We reallydidn't get to go alot of places as it was pretty hard for me to get around with the crutches.  We did go to the Kennedy Space Center and got a post card to mail off the the children.  We played some games here with Blackies Ty relatives.

Gay taught the boys (Blackie, Peace, Garcia, Teddy and Valentino) how to play cards including black jack.  Blackie was the big winner.  We took a photo of them playing. Blackie also went in the boat with Gay to a fishing tournment.  Even tho Gay didn't win anything they had a good time. Blackie came back with a fish so of course we had to take a picture with
his catch and showing off for the guys.

We also did the usual  shopping , visiting, and dinners. Blackie fell in love with our dog. Gawg is his name and he is an English
Springer Spaniel. He is black and white. They liked to lie in front of the tv and watch movies.

Blackie also liked our big old fluffy calico cat named Muffin.  We took a picture of both Blackie and Muffin  and one of Gawg and Blackie and put them in a photo key chain for Blackie to take with him.

Gay thought Blackie was so cute.  Blackie liked following Gay round while he  did his man things around the house. One afternoon Gay sat in his chair to watch a movie and Blackie climbed up to watch with him and of course the bird Bebop had to sit with them.  They didn't watch much of the movie, because when I looked at them they were all asleep.  It ook a picture and also sent that to the children.

I would say we all had a very nice time together.  I hope he has a good trip and arrives all rested for his next adventure.


First mail from Merritt Island

Wendell and Linda

Blackie arrived Sat.  In his box he has a sleeping bag , his journal, and he is wearing a backpack, a leash, and a necklace with his name on it.  He has a few things attached to the >

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tore and asked him to pick out something he would like.  He chose a buckle up. He said because he is so small when he rides in the car he can't see out the window and most important it isn't safe to be riding unbuckled in a car.

Now he can be buckled up and be able to look out the window.  He loves it and it is bright yellow to go perfectly with his beautiful all natural black coat.

Let me know where he is to go next.  We really haven't been able to do
much as I (Miss Carol) had surgery on my foot and I'm not able to do much right now.  We are trying to do afew things.  We have been spending a lot of time here at the house with all Blackie 's other relatives.

We have been having some fun.

We will talk to you later.


Now we have news directly from Blackie, his first try at
writing email.

Hi Miss Linda,

This is Blackie. This is my first try at typing an email.  I sure hope you get it okay.

Miss Carol told me yesterday that she would show me how to use the computer so I could write you and the children. I am having a wonderful time on all my great adventures. I can't make up my mind as to wheather I am more excited arriving at my new host home or getting ready to go on to the next one to see what is going to happen there!!

It seems like I am always learning something new. I hope the children like hearing about my adventures. I really do miss them all so please Miss Linda tell them I said HI and I love them !!

Wait until they see my new pictures. I got in a little trouble this morning.  I thought I could get my own breakfast. I got me some fruit loops but just as I was pouring them in my bowl the crazy bird Bebop came flying out and I spilled them.  Good thing I didn't have the milk on them.  You know why he came out ??  They were his fruit loops and
when he heard the bag he wanted to know who was in them.  Bebop said it was okay for me to have some.  He is a nice bird.  We woke Miss Carol up but she wasn't mad at the mess. She took a picture for the children to see and we had good laugh.

I will be on my way to PA soon.  Bye Bye and here are some hugs and kisses for you all.






Blackie has had a great time in Wyoming! It has been very cold here. It was snowing the day Blackie arrived (6-4-98)! Blackie wanted to pick out a few Wyoming souviners, so we went to the mall and found a cowboy hat, a bear pin and 2 key chains!

The next day he went to a sheep ranch. Blackie even got to ride a lamb! It's called Mutton Bustn' in these parts! He has also been to McD's several times lately! Amanda has finally got all 12 Teenies! Blackie thought it was pretty exciting to go to McD's 3 times in 1 day, just so we could keep up with what was out when!

Blackie also got to go to Amanda's dance Recital! He enjoyed seeing all the children performing their dances. Blackie is ready to go to his next host family now. He has had a lot of fun in Wyoming, and we have had a lot of fun with him!

Rose and Amanda Jones
Casper Wyoming


Dear Linda,

Hello to all!!  Blackie arrived in Columbus, Ohio safe and sound withhis traveling friend.  Blackie met Morgan(5) and Austin(7) first, then he got to meet their animals: 2 dogs, 2 guinea pigs, 1 cat, 1 turtle and a fish and hermit crabs that are being babysat for the summer.  He enjoyed getting to know them.  Tyler (8) came home from a school camping trip just in time to meet Blackie!  Blackie really enjoyed going to Chuck E Cheese's, he even got to go up on stage with the singers!!

He asked a lot of questions about the state of Ohio and Columbus it's self.  We told him all about this Buckeye state as he layed on our couch just listening. You will get to read the details in the journal!

Blackie wanted to go shopping so we took him to a store named Bear Hugs. He thought that was a great name, so we bought him a t-shirt to wear with the stores name on it!  He loved it and we thought it looked great on him.

We truly enjoyed the 2 day visit with Blackie.  Thank you for the opportunity.

Keep up the wonderful job you are doing--we need more people in the world like you!!

We wish all of you much love and happiness,

The Woodard Family

And now from:
 Rayne, LA, Frog Capitol of the World.

From: Anthony & Becky

Hi Linda,

I finally got the package all wrapped up and will be going Monday to thePost Office to mail off.  Will email with confirmation.

As for Blackie's trip here:

Blackie arrived at the Ardoin home in rural Acadia Parish safe and sound.  Everyone was excited.  And he wasn't even afraid.  Once entering Rachael's room, he found all of his friends from Ty.

While at the Ardoin's, Princess & Erin arrived!  Blackie enjoyed playing GI Joe with Caleb, too.  Blackie enjoyed a Sunday Crawfish boil with some new friends.  He ate at Pancho's, the Mexican restaurant and had a few Happy Meals, as the TBB's had just came out!
Blackie also went camping to the KOA in Scott for Caleb's Birthday. Mr. Anthony took Blackie with him to work and he went down in the Cargill Salt Mine.  It is about 1300 feet below the surface of the ground.  Blackie said it made him sleepy; kind of like his cave during hibernation!

Blackie's host school was Mire Elementary.  He stayed with Ms. Trahan'skindergarten class. He arrived during CAT testing, and was excited that he passed all his exit exams to first grade.  He also attended the 1stever Mire Elementary Jr. High School Play and went to the Spring BandConcert.  Rachael is in 5th grade band and played a tonette. He enjoyed recess with the kids and had lunch at school with everyone.  He visitedwith the office staff and made sure to steer clear of Behavior Clinic!

Blackie went to the International de Louisianne Festival.  This is agathering of all French descendant cultures, where they display their talents, such as music, food, dress and history.  This was a very special year, as planning for the 1999 celebration of Acadian's will beall of next year!  Blackie even learned a little Cajun French!  He alsowent to a french street dance, called Downtown Alive, in Lafayette.

Blackie's host town was Rayne, LA, Frog Capitol of the World.  He nowfirmly believes that this is where Legs and Smoochy are from!  The townis full of murals and 95% of them have something with frogs in them. Even when you exit off of I-10, frogs are painted on the cement pilings.There are even frogs painted on tree stumps and fire hydrants!

Blackie was sad to leave, but also happy!  He had so much fun here, thathe was hoping the next stop would be just as exciting.

As I said, I will ship everything out Monday.  I hope the kids enjoy it.As for the TBB's, we are doing great.  We live near a small town wherethings aren't so crazy, so the last 3 haven't even come out yet!  We areworking on 3 sets; one to keep and 2 to use as trades.
 We are hoping to get an Ally.  Being from Louisiana, home of the Alligator, Rachael really wants this one!
Linda, thanks for letting us participate in this wonderful project.  Ifyou are ever in my area, please look me up!  I can show you around.


Becky Ardoin

This just in from the Luciano family:

We  are having fun with Blackie.  So far, he's gone to school with Toni, to an  art show at the local mall where Toni's artwork was on display.  Tomorrow  night he'll attend the Nixon Elementary School 3rd grade chorus play.  We'd  like him to stay for Toni's brother's (Justin) pirate birthday party on Saturday?!  Then he will be happy to rest in his travel box to  Wyoming. Please send us the address for his website so we can track his  progress (we don't have it).

Today is Saturday .  Blackie got to  go to the roller rink with Toni this morning.  She takes artistic skate  lessons and was rehearsing for an upcoming recital.  Blackie got to meet  all the coaches (including world renown Billy Richardson!) and loved to watch  the kids skate!

The pirate party was tons of swashbuckling fun!  He's  been so busy, he'll enjoy resting in his traveling box come Monday.  We'll  sure miss him!

Lisa & Toni



Blackie is presently in Toronto, Canada, and had a wonderful time.
I have Blackie packed and ready to go to his next host family, and he will be Sadly missed.  I kept him an extra few days because I just couldn't bear to part with him.  We bought a Mr. Beans backpack and Blackie travelled in it with his cousin Cubbie and we met children from all over who wanted to know why a grown woman was walking around with a beanie baby on her back.  Toronto is the largest city in Canada, and is in the Province of Ontario where Ottawa, the capital of Canada is.  We have filled out Blackie's journal, but also mixed in with his adventures, we gave him some history of where he was.

Did you know that the longest undefended border in the world is between Canada and the United States, and that in Toronto we have the CN Tower, the largest man made free standing structure in the world, taller even than the Empire State Building, and a Geodesic Dome that houses Ontario Place.

 We went to the zoo, and Blackie met his Canadian Cousins, the Polar Bears and he watched them swim, and we paddle boated around Ontario Place, went to a baseball game in Skydome, the only dome presently built with a retractable roof, home of the 1991 and 1992 World Series Winners, the Toronto Blue Jays, and watched Roger Clements pitch and win his game, and then Blackie had a chicken caesar salad and nobody will travel with him in his box now because he and Cubbie still stink from garlic, but they had a great time.

It was a pleasure to have Blackie with us and we hope that you continue to do this from time to time, sending other beanies around the world on behalf of the Centre and finding out about all the different cultures and countries of the world.  Thanks for letting me be a part of this adventure.

annalee gibson


Good Morning Linda, Blackie arrived safely to 22  Shawnee Trail at about 3:30 on Thursday. That would mean he would have to be  shipped out 3:30 Saturday.
We are having a trouble figuring out when to ship him  on. Our post office will be closed at that time and we'd hate to give him up early. Then we run into the problem of the holiday, the post Office is also  closed then.

Would it be possible for blackie to stay and help Robert recoup  from his recent surgery? Please let us know . He is really enjoying himself here  with Robert and Richard. He had a very busy afternoon and evening with the boys.  They had a welcome party for Blackie and his friend. Blackie also was the mascot  for the T ball team Robert plays for , Blackie also got to see Richard perform  Once upon a Lily pad. It was a great production by the choir kids aged  7-9.
Robert and Richard both would like to donate something for the  auction as a way to say thanks for allowing Blackie to come and share his love.  I have always told my 6 year old he has a heart of gold and once again he proved me right. The donation was his idea. Robert decided to give you a mint Tank from  his collection on his shelve. Richard is still trying to decide but I'm sure it  will also be a retired. We hope this will help all the children not as blessed  as us.
Blackie and Robert are so excited today after a check up w/ the surgeon  we will be going to Mc Donald's for lunch and you know what that means Teenie  Beanies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Boy are they excited.

Thanks Linda From the Rinaldi's  here in New Jersey....


    Blackie has arrived to Eugene, Oregon in the Pacific Northwest. Unfortunately, he did have to spend one night in the post office, but was taken care of quite well by the postal workers.

    On Monday, Blackie went to Lifegate Christian School with our daughter Chelsea to spend some time in her first grade class.  Blackie and his travelling companion (either Hippity or Hoppity) were opened up by the class and their teacher Mrs. Rench.  Pictures were taken of Blackie and his first grade classmates.  They were so thrilled that Blackie would come to spend time with them and were amazed when they read about his Grand Adventure.

    In the morning Blackie and the class learned about crickets shedding off their skin several times before they reach adulthood.  They have also been learning about caterpillars and the process of becoming a butterfy.  The class did some math problems andreading.  They went to lunch in the cafeteria and all of the children wanted Blackie to sit next to them.Blackie loved all of the attention!

    Blackie could not believe how green Eugene is and that we live on the Willamete and the McKenzie Rivers.  To very prominent rivers in the Northwest.  He will be visiting the Willamette before he leaves and will also  be going to the Pacific coast to meet a surprise guest.  Then we will send him on his way to his next host.  We wish we could keep Blackie with us.  He is such a well-mannered guest and a joy to have around.


    Blackie is going out to dinner with us tonight to a Eugene hotspot: Jo Federigo's.  They serve Italian food and have live jazz music nightly.  I think he will have a good time even if it isn't the jazz and oyster fest.
Also since today they began the new teenie beanie's, Blackie and  Hoppity will be going to lunch at McDonald's over the weekend and see the frenzy that these warm little baby creatures have caused again!!

   Chelsea's class really enjoyed Blackie's visit and don't want to him to leave.  I called her teacher last night and told her to look on the web site for Blackie arrives to the Pacific Northwest).  She was thrilled and was going to print it out for the class.  If it's okay with you, I will take him in on Tuesday for one last good-bye before he goes off to his next place.  Since we have the long weekend, we will also be taking him to see Keiko (the whale who starred in Free Willy!) at the Newport aquarium.  Hopefully, we will be able to get a picture of Blackie and Free Willy together! (not in the tank!)

Do you mind if we send the kids some salt water taffy?? or are they too young for it??  I will be sending you a carepackage seperately from Blackie.  By the way, where is Blackie supposed to go next??  (Assuming we let him go.  He is such a wonderful guest!)

 Have a wonderful weekend.  And again thanks for letting us participate in Blackie's Grand Adventure.  What you are doing for these kids is truly special.


While staying in Mt. Pulaski, IL Blackie watched Dr. Matt give chiropractic adjustments, helped the Lincoln postal employees with the National Association of Letter Carriers food drive, canceled letters, sorted mail, helped sell stamps at the window and then came home and met Donald and Sylvia Klumpp who introduced him and his Coca Cola Seal pal to all of their beanies.

 On Blackies 2nd day which happened to be Mothers day he helped make cheese omelets and went to Sunday School at Zion Lutheran Church in Mt. Pulaski.  On Monday Blackie and his friend visited with the Zion Lutheran Grade School and grades 2-5 walked the duo uptown to the courthouse where Abe Lincoln used to practice law.  Blackie donned a stove pipe hat and had his picture taken while he was pretending to be Abear-ham Lincoln.

After school Blackie and buddy went up to Creative House where all good beanie babies are adopted and saw the Beanie Baby Boulavard sign.

On Tuesday Blackie got up at 4:00 am to go to the post office again and he worked with Lynda Klumpp, his host, Linda Diers, Bill Brown, Virgil Rademaker, Sharon Tibbs, and Don Wolper.  We all really enjoyed having such a well bear-haved visitor.  We wish Linda and her children all the best and God's blessings.

Submitted by

Lynda Klumpp:)




Dear Linda,

Blackie just arrived today at Cimarron Public School Library in Lahoma, Oklahoma!
Since today is Friday, Blackie' shipment to his next person will be on Monday afternoon if that is ok.  We are busy wrapping up our last 8 days of school here, so Blackie will not be bored.  He arrived dressed in denim overalls with a purple, gold, and green beaded necklace.  His overalls are adorned with pins from Tacoma, Washington and from Michigan.  He sports a red WWJD bracelet about his waist.  He also has a pair of yellow flannel jammies.  Two books:  your journal and one called Wheedle on the Needle by Stephen Cosgrove.

Thank you!

Charlotte Nance, Librarian

Cimarron Schools


Dear Linda and Children

Blackie arrived safely on Friday morning.  He had a full stay with us!  He was very happy to see his best friend, Cubbie, at our house.  They had a lot of fun together.  We took him to Oakwood Mall on Friday night.  On Saturday he went to K-Mart and Fantastic Sam's.

 On Sunday, he traveled with us to western Oklahoma, Reydon, to visit  for Mother's Day.  He spends today with the children.  They all brought their favorite Beanie Babies, and each class is going to share something special about this area and school with Blackie.

The historical details of the area will be contained in Blackie's journal. I'm sorry that he was with us so long.  It was my fault because he arrived five minutes before I had to leave to attend a meeting in Enid, and so the children only got to see a glimpse of Blackie on Friday.  Our gifts toBlackie include a pin of the Seal of the Great State of Oklahoma and a set of yellow plastic beads.  These beads were the ones I wore when our girls basketball team made it to the state basketball semi-finals in Oklahoma City at the fairgrounds.  This was the first time that our girls had made it to state.  In Oklahoma, that's a big thing!  I am taking pictures of Blackie with all of his new friends at Cimarron, and I will be forwarding those to you, Linda, when they are developed.
 I have one question, though.  Where is Lucky? He was not in the box with Blackie.

We enjoyed hosting Blackie.


Charlotte, Johnny, Laura Marie, and John Nance
and the children of Cimarron School in Lahoma, Oklahoma!

Blackie's Visit to Sycamore, IL

I arrived in Sycamore, Illinois, very late in the afternoon and was very tired.  After all, Peanuts and I traveled all the way from Indiana where we had just celebrated a large Easter.  That first night, Peanuts and I were so tired we simply visited with our hostess, Ruth, ate some dinner and prepared for bed.

Wow, the next morning we all woke very well rested and ready to go.  Sadly, it was a very cold and rainy day so Ruth decided that we should go to a nearby city, Rockford, where Ruth took us to visit the Time Museum.  Boy Peanuts and I have not seen that many antiquated, along with several new, clocks in one place ever that I can remember.

After visiting the Museum, Ruth, Peanuts and I returned to Sycamore, where Peanuts and I went with Ruth's neighbor, Cassie, to eat lunch in the lunchroom with Cassie's daughter, Scottie, and the fourth grade class at North School in Sycamore.  We spent the afternoon visiting with Cassie and then we got to go with Cassie on her bus route to pick up our friend, Scottie, and the other children and take all the children on the bus home.  All the children were so funny because they all wanted to sit by us.  It was such fun.

After that Ruth took us to visit her friend, Sharon, and Sharon had lots and lots of our Ty pals so we got to see Ally, Baldy and all the gang.  That was really a pleasant surprise to get to see our old friends.  It was still verycold and rainy so Sharon gave both me and Peanuts a sweater to wear home.  It was wonderful and really kept us warm.

The next morning when we woke up we went to visit Ruth's daughter, Kim, and her girls in Monroe Center.  We got to attend the Kindergarten Class with Ruth's granddaughter, Ashley.  We helped all the kindergarten children learn the alphabet and we even helped them work on their numbers for that day.  Then it was time for all of us to color and we also helped the children learn some of the colors.  That was really fun.  We had such a great time visiting the school.

With such a busy couple of days, our visit with Ruth was nearing an end and it was time for us to continue on our trip.  Ruth tells us that we are now going to visit a very nice family in Western Springs, Illinois.  Although we were sorry to leave Ruth, we knew we had to continue on our trip so we waved good-bye and started on our way.  Gosh, I wonder what we will be doing next.

Hope all is well with you and your family and that the weather is much more pleasant.  It is even starting to get warm in this part of the country.

Take Care and May God Hold You In The Palms Of His Hands,

Ruth in IL

Blackies visit with the James family: "the hippies in the woods." and goes shopping in Missouri

hi linda and kids,

     blackie left for his next destination today. we, the james family, enjoyed having blackie with us. we hope he learned a lot from us while he was here, as we did from him.

     when blackie arrived thursday he was surprised to see we all had long hair, even the guys, and that we were all grown up. the kids, nick and holly, are 19 and 17 years old. we told blackie that we were just some hippies in the woods because, we do live in the woods , they are all around us, this made blackie feel right at home.

     on blackies first night here we had strawberry shortcake made from the last package of strawberries from last years crop. blackie was surprised to learn we grew the berries ourselves. after we finished we took blackie out to the berry patch and showed him the strawberry plants. they were in full bloom. blackie couldn't believe that strawberries would grow from the flowers on the plants, but they do!

 We let blackie decorate one from last years crop. he made a shekerie, it is a gourd decorated with beads and used as a musical instrument. people in africa use them. blackie learned how gourds were used by many different cultures throughout the world.

     on this day we also went shopping in missouri. we live in such a rural, in the country, area that we have to travel far to shop. on the way we showed blackie the thebes illinois courthouse. this is where abraham lincoln practiced law before he was president. it is next to the mississippi river and we saw some bald eagles flying around over the river.

     the next day was extra special, blackie  got to go to prom with holly. the day was spent getting ready. holly had to put curlers in her hair. this took along time because she has a lot of hair, but we played music and talked. when she was done they went to decorate the place where the prom was going to be. then they went home to get ready, holly wore a black dress and told blackie he already had a black coat so all i needed was a tie. they looked great when john, holly's boyfriend, came to get us. we had fun dancing the night away. everyone wanted to meet me and i told the about you and the kids down in florida. they said it was cool what we were doing and to say hi. we stayed out late like grown-ups.

     the next day we slept till 10:00, we had brunch on the deck and saw some deer eating some grass. then we made some soap. mama james knows how to make soap and showed blackie how. it has to set up for 3 weeks so blackie gets to take some that is already made. it is made from oatmeal but you can't eat it. one time the dogs ate some apple kiwi soap. they didn't feel very good after that.

       blackie spent the evening talking about his adventures, meeting cousins-amy, pam &gina (the twins), mike, michele, justin and cory. they were all teenagers except cory. blackie and nick played on the computer and visited linda ray's web site. the day was over all to quickly as was blackie's visit. tomorrow blackie leaves to go to his next family. We hope that blackie had a good time with "the hippies in the woods."

                           the james family

News from Gulf Breeze, Florida from Dina:

Blackie had a great time here in Gulf Breeze, Florida.  He arrived late Thursday.  On Friday, we went to the movies to see Titanic. I'm sure we were the last people on Earth that hadn't seen it!  Then Blackie went with Caitlin, our daughter, to play at the Disney Store at the mall.  On Saturday, we took a trip to the Pensacola Naval Air Station to the Naval Air Museum.  Pensacola is known as the cradle of naval aviation, and the museum houses many different models of planes used by the Navy throughout American Naval history.  Also on display were examples of the planes used by the Blue Angels in their 52 year history.  Pensacola is home of the Blue Angels.  Every July they perform their fantastic air show for the home crowd on Pensacola Beach.

    On Sunday Blackie helped as we baked chocolate chip cookies (and helped Caitlin sample the dough!).  We had a picnic dinner outside, since it was such a beautiful evening.

    On Monday, Blackie came to school with Mrs. Milliken to visit the first grade classes at Holley-Navarre Primary School.  All the kids enjoyed meeting Blackie and spoke of the beanie friends they have at home.  They also very much enjoyed hearing about all the wonderful adventures Blackie has seen so far around this country and the few other countries he's visited so far.  Then he was all packed up to make his journey on to Washington.  We enjoyed having him and hope he has a wonderful time seeing all the wonderful things this country has to offer, as well as experiencing different cultures around the world.  What a unique experience!


Gulf Breeze, Florida


Linda just received a wonderful package from Teri and Courtney who live in Zion, Illinois.  The package contained a beautiful booklet prepared by the Zion Brownie Troop 1414 with 17 pictures at different locations in and around Zion where Blackie traveled with the Troop and Courtney as well as Coca, a friend of Courtneys that was Blackie's constant companion during the visit.

There is a group picture of 12 Brownie scouts and their leader Diane as they went on a hike in the great outdoors and visit Lake Michigan.  It was very windy and the white caps were quite large so they made Blackie and the others nervous, but they still enjoyed the view.

Beside the pictures, which were beautiful in color and clarity, they sent a Troop sash with a patch showing Troop 1414 at Zion, the Illinois Crossroads.  Also attached to the sash were two interesting metals.  The girl scout cookies as well as other items in the package will go over big with the children at the Center.

The Children give their thanks to Teri, Diane, Courtney, and the girls in Troop 1414 for a job well done.  They really enjoyed the package and the items will take their rightful place with other items at the Center commemorating Blackie's Grand Adventure.

Pictures below scanned from the newspaper Zion-Benton News July 23 edition and we wanted to share it with you, however,  the quality does not due justice to the beautiful ladies in the pictures.

Stuffed animal's travels educate, entertain abused children

Zion Brownie Troop 1414 and Senior Troop 273 played host to a very special guest earlier this year.  Troop leader Terie Tarwood spotted a request on the Internet from Linda Ray's Children's Center seeking host to welcome Blackie the Beanie Baby
The Center is home to abused children in Florida and Blackie's travels are intended to be an educational and entertaining experience for the children.  Blackie has traveled to Japan for the Olympics as well as around the United States
The images were taken from a newspaper
please excuse the quality

Courtney Tarwood shares her mattress with
her overnight guest, Blackie and Coco

The Girl Scouts, Blackie and Coco take a hike in the woods.
From left: Tina Benson, Jamie Moore, Rizza Vlanueva, Diane Banks, Audrey Campbell, Courtney Tarwood and Stephanie Lambert

Blackie arrived in Zion just in time to go camping with the girls at Camp Morrison in Lake Villa over Easter weekend.  He was joined by Coca a Beanie friend of Scout Courtney Tarwood.

The girls showed their guest how they divide the work in order to do the cooking and cleaning.  The girls also took them on hikes and exploring the great outdoors.

Blackie was a bear in his environment sleeping with the girls in sleeping bags on the floor of the lodge.

The girls surprised the Beanies with a Easter Egg hunt one morning.  Blackie and Coca found an egg by themselves.

Later an announcement was made on the Linda Ray website about the package they received from the two troops.  The package included a beautiful booklet with 17 photos prepared by the Brownies, a sash, patch and two medals.

The children at the Center sent their thanks to Troop 1414 for a job well done.  They really enjoyed the package and they said the items will take their rightful place at the Center commemorating Blackie's Grand Adventure.




Blackie has had a wonderful time in Greenfield, IN.  He came right before Easter.  So he has helped with coloring Easter eggs and preparing for and Easter Egg Hunt for the Local Kiwanis Club.  We have filled about 2,000 eggs with goodies.

He has met many people and has been to school for two days, so he is getting an education also.  We are sending along some clothes for him and some of the history of Greenfield.

Thank you so much for this opportunity.

Amanda, Natalie and Tammy

Blackie and his friend Peanut arrived in Western Springs, Illinois well rested and looking for adventure. Blackie had never heard of Western Springs and did not know it was right in the middle of  TY Country.  Blackie went to visit TY's new office building which is only a couple of minutes away. Of course, there is no name on the building so if you don't know what you are looking for, you would never find it. Blackie was all excited when Joey B. told him his Grandma Carson lives in Lisle, Illinois (about 25 minutes from here)  Joey told Blackie how his grandmother had given him his very first beanie, STEG, a couple of years ago.  Blackie remembered that Mary Beth from the Beanie World magazine lives in Lisle. But we couldn't find Mary Beth anywhere. I guess if we had her address it would have helped.

Joey's friend next door, Henry, was real excited to meet Blackie and have his picture taken with him.  Joey's mom bought a couple of photo albums and has put together all the pictures that came with Blackie so that it is more organized for viewing. Henry was pleased that his picture was going to be
traveling all over the world with Blackie.  Henry's mom works at FOX Television Studio in Chicago so Blackie got to go to the studio with her.  He was so excited about all the cameras and lights.  He even had his picture taken in the studio as he was adjusting the cameras. Then he went sight seeing in Chicago and saw the Hancock Center and the Wrigley Building.

A very special trip was planned for Blackie.  He has been hearing all about the Winey Bears on Beaniemom's Website and he had read about them in Beanie World Magazine. But he never really expected to actually get to meet them personally!!!  It was kept a secret from Blackie until we walked through the door at Antiques and More in LaGrange, Illinois.  What a surprise!!! Everywhere Blackie looked, all his cousins were calling out to him.  He even got to meet Lemon Sunshine (from the Lemon Lainey website) and had his picture taken with her.  He was sorry he had missed "Cloud" from the Beaniemom website, but he was out having his picture taken for publicity purposes.

We took lots of pictures here and will send them on to Linda and the kids.  A couple Polariod pictures will be put in the photo album to go with Blackie just to prove he really did meet all those famous relatives of his.

We will be sorry to see Blackie leave and wish he could have spent a few more days with us. But we hope he enjoys his Easter Sunday with the next host family. Thanks for the opportunity to share our small part of the world with Blackie.

Happy to be in Kentucky:

Following are my entries in Blackie's diary:

I arrived in KY on Saturday morning.  It was a bumpy ride- somehow my traveling home got ripped, but, thank goodness, I didn't fall out.  WHEW!! What a ride.  I was soooo glad to be taken out of the box and start my new visit with the folks in KY.

My host family took me on a visit to Salyersville in Eastern KY where Sarah, 10 years old, took me to her cousin's birthday party in West Liberty, about 30 miles away.  I really enjoyed the trip.  We took Mountain Parkway from Lexington to Salyersville and then a two lane road to West Liberty.  I could not believe how friendly the people were in Eastern KY and how many of the kids brought beanie babies as gifts to Samatha's birthday party. The kids there get their beanies from adjacent towns because, so far, no one sells beanies in Salyersville.  They also get them from internet and from some televised beanie baby networks.  I was surprised at the number of children who used the internet for buying and for school projects.

The view on Mountain Parkway was great.  I saw lots of hills and trees that would be perfect for black bears - in fact, Sarah told me there had been a black bear seen on the hill behind her house recently!

 We also visited the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg about 20 miles away.  It is a really nice facility where various types of music are promoted.  The week-end shows may include local talent or well known groups like the Oakridge Boys.

     I thought it was a great idea that a number of the businesses there were promoting a drawing for a princess bear with the money raised being given to the UK Children's Hospital to buy beanie babies for the sick kids.

I went to church with Sarah and met more nice Eastern KY people.  Afterwards, we went to her grandmother's house where her grandmother said she was fixing a typical Eastern KY  Sunday meal.  We had chicken and dumplings, mashed potatoes, home canned green beans, corn that had been raised in Sara's garden, salad, homemade potato rolls PLUS cornbread,  and milk or iced tea.  For dessert, we had dried apple pie with milk.( I had never heard of dired apples, but they were delicious! )  We had to eat a good lunch before our dessert though.  And Sarah's grandmother said that they had to go back on their low fat diet the next day!
Monday,  I arrived back in Lexington, KY and went to visit children at the University of Kentucky Children's Hospital .  I couldn't believe how many children had beanies in their rooms.  The nurse told me that the kids periodically receive beanie babies  from money raised by nice people in KY.

The cancer kids get beanies at the start and end of their cancer therapy.  The nurse said it really made the kids feel better - especially when they could take their beanie with them to scary tests or procedures like heart surgeries, radiation, chemotherapy, treatment for bad burns, etc.  I also got to visit the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where there are babies as small as 1-2 pounds!!

There were even beanie babies in there being used to position the babies on their sides!  I had never thought of beanies being used for that purpose.  The hospital was really a neat place if you had to be in a hospital.  All the rooms and halls were  brightly painted and big stuffed animals sitting around.

I saw their playroom- I wanted to stay longer to play on some of those neat toys.  They had a great big, huge, puzzel structure at the Hospital that was as tall as the ceiling with all types of neat gadgets inside that, withgravity and pulleys, sent a ball through tunnels and spouts and animal looking mouths.

I could stand and watch it all day!!  It was soooo neat - lots of the children go and watch it work and it makes them feel as though they are on the playground.
When I was ready to leave, one of the cancer children, Mary, walked with me to the front door to tell me ' bye'.  It was GREAT  because she was going home. She had won her battle with cancer - she had been cured!!!

Here is the latest from Williamstown, NJ

Dear Linda,

    Blackie has had a few very busy days here with us.  On Friday he spent the morning at our home playing with Jennifer, Anthony and Matthew.  They enjoyed the sand box, trampoline, and even watched Grizzly Mountain again.  Since Friday was Good Friday, the day that Christians recognize that Jesus died on the cross, Blackie attended a reinactment of the crusifiction.  It is a very somber and moving event which is staged by a local church and the parishioneers.  It was in Atco, which is about a half hour away.  We met at Jennifer's NaNa and PopPop's house.  They went with us, along with her Great
Grandfather and several friends.  We all attend this event every year.  It was a very beautiful, clear evening, but also very cold.  The kids were all bundled up, with hats and gloves.  Blackie had his fur coat, but even he decided to stay under the blanket to keep warm.

     Saturday was another fun filled day.  Mom had some Easter errands to run earlier in the day.  Blackie stayed home with Jennifer and her brothers.  Her friend Arielle came over and got to spend some time visiting with Blackie.

They had fun playing outside and later playing games.  Our friends, Deena and Gregg came over for dinner and to help decorate eggs for Easter.  I don't know about other families, but this family decorates several dozen eggs.  One for each of the kids, and one for Dad.  Blackie had some very creative ideas for decorating eggs.  He told us they were pointers that he has picked up across this great country of ours.

     Today was Easter Sunday.  The day naturally started out very early since the kids were anxious to see what Mr. E- Bunny had left in their baskets. Naturally they were all thrilled when they saw that he left each one their very own Ears.  Blackie was quite honored when he came downstairs and saw that there was even an Easter Basket just for him.  Then the candy munching began and no one wanted breakfast.  Boy does Blackie have a sweet tooth!  Soon we were searching for several dozen eggs that were hidden through out the house.  Usually we end up not finding a few until they start to smell rather bad, but Blackie has a very good eye for egg hunting, and each egg was accounted for by the end.

     After we finally got all to eat breakfast, it was off to St. Mary's Church for mass.  Fr. Pete was the priest who celebrated mass.  The church was so crowded we couldn't even get to ask him to take a picture with Blackie. But we got one outside.  Blackie was very well behaved during mass.  We were so proud of him.      When mass was over we headed to Mom Mom and Pop Pop's house.  Blackie got to meet many of Jennifer's relatives.  He especially had a lot of fun with her cousins Megan, Chris and Ryan.  Before dinner we spent some time relaxing in the back yard where Blackie felt right at home.  He loved the waterfall and stream that Jen's Dad constructed in the yard.  Since we still had to go to Jen's other Grandparent's house, we ate a light meal.  This was tough with all the delicious foods that were there.  His favorite was the pasta with broccoli rabe.      Soon after we had to move on and go for a visit to Jen's NaNa and PopPop's house.  Blackie once again met Great Grandpop and also the kids' Aunt Cheryl and Uncle Mike.  There were also other relatives who came for desert too.  Blackie said that he really enjoyed the escarole soup and also the ham.

But you should have seen him eat the cheesecake for desert.  What a sweet tooth!

     We have certainly had a wonderful time visiting with Blackie.  It was wonderful to have him as the guest of honor for Easter.  He has been such a pleasant houseguest.  We will certainly miss him when we must send him packing.  But we will be sure to track his travels by following his web page.

Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity to share.
Dear Linda,

     Yesterday Blackie was thrilled that his new address did not arrive until late in the day.  He got to meet the kids cousin Thomas who came for a visit yesterday.  They all played together and it was almost like Easter once again with all the candy and bunnies for everyone.  We took some neat pictures of Blackie playing with the kids and will include one in the travel journal.  We thought that it would be neat for us to see Blackie with the people that he has just come from.

     Monday night was again Girl Scout night.  Blackie was thrilled to see the great girls in Jennifer's troop one last time before he had to go.  We had a tour of Commerce Bank planned for the evening.  Blackie got to pretend to open accounts, make deposits, imprint checks, and work in the drive up teller window.  After the bank tour he went with us to McDonalds where all the girls got ice cream.

   When we got home it was there.  We had been expecting it all day, but it still left us all with a sinking feeling.  The new address where we are readying to send Blackie.  He is off to Atlanta, Georgia.  We will miss him terribly, but are excited for him and the new host family who he will bless with his presence.  We can't thank you enough for the opportunity to participate in such a fun and exciting experience.  We wish you, the children and of course Blackie all the best in the future.  God bless each and every one on your individual grand adventures.

Mark, Dorothy, Jennifer, Anthony and Matthew

Blackie visits Williamstown, NJ

Dear Linda,

     Yes, Blackie has arrived safe and sound in Williamstown, New Jersey.

Believe me, he just barely made it here today.  I was home, but did not hear the mailman, so he left one of those pesky yellow claim tickets telling me to go to the post office tomorrow morning!  Imagine Blackie spending an extra night in that lonely box.  Jennifer and her friend Jill tracked down the mailman around the corner and rescued him from a night of lonliness. Jennifer was thrilled that she actually got to sign the little yellow receipt!

     Blackie went along with us to Burger King for dinner.  The way he started shaking and wimpering we thought he didn't like burgers.  Then we realized that the post office was next door.  Anyone that has been postmarked as much as Blackie would have a natural fear of coming near a post office. Blackie attended Girl Scouts with his host sister and Beanie lover, Jennifer (9 yrs).

The girls were thrilled to be spending the night with such a cute guest! Some of them are even making him gifts for when he goes a packing.  Blackie is right now resting comfortably in Jennifers bed.  Holding a place of honor next to Nip, Peace, Magic and Mystic.  He will be attending Jennifer's 4th grade class at St. Mary's School here in Williamstown tomorrow.  We will keep you posted of his activities.


Boy have we kept Blackie busy here in Williamstown, NJ.  Yesterday he spent the day back at St. Mary's School.  Jennifer took him on a tour there and visited other classrooms.  Everyone was thrilled that he was here for a visit.  It has been real exciting for all of us to have him around.  He has been such a pleasure!

Yesterday after school, Blackie went with Jen and her
friend Laura to golf lessons.  I'm told that he packs a mean swing, but needs to work on his balance.

Today the kids were off school and Dad was off work, so Blackie got to spend the day with the family.  He liked spending time with Jen's little brothers Anthony (4) and Matthew (1).  We had to take Jennifer to the orthodondist this morning and Blackie was the hit of the office.  He had his bite checked and does not need braces.  He was a bit upset since he likes all the cool colors that the kids wear in their mouths.  After the appointment we went looking for something special for Blackie.  We found a cute little sleeping bag so he can travel in comfort.  We also got a neat leash so Jennifer can attach him right to her wrist and go in style.  We thought it was perfect since it is red, white and blue and he is traveling this great country.

Blackie also went with us for a visit to Mom Mom and Pop Pop's house.  He was quit impressed with their four dogs, three birds, cats and many many fish. We were hoping to introduce him to the horses but it was raining quite hard. Blackie just finished eating what he believes to be his first TASTYKAKE. It Is a Philadelphia area exclusive individual snack - quite a little tasty cake. We wanted to get a movie for him to watch with us, and we found one that should be just perfect -- GRIZZLY MOUNTAIN.  We are just getting ready to watch it, so we'll let you know tomorrow what he thinks about it.

Mark, Dorothy, Jennifer, Anthony and Matthew

update from Dorothy and Jennifer----

Dear Linda,

     Blackie had to get up early this morning to go to school with Jennifer. He was the guest of honor in Mrs. Romano's 4th grade class at St. Mary's today.  Jennifer was thrilled to be able to explain about your center and all the places Blackie has travelled.  The children were so happy that he came to visit that each one in Jen's class made him a lovely welcome card which we will be sending on.

    Blackie also attended a seder meal in school today.  This is a reinactment of the Last Supper.  Jennifer tells me that he was very good during this event, but he thought the matza was very dry.

     Blackie has been invited back to St. Mary's again tomorrow, where he will visit a few other classes and meet some new friends.  He is really tired out from the long day, but determined to see as many people and places as possible!

    Right now Blackie is playing N-64 with Jennifer and Jill.  Boy is that a sight!  Pictures to come.

Dorothy & Jennifer

Great news from Linda in IL:

Linda, and her family hosted Blackie in Illinois for a couple of days and sent the children at the Center a great note book filled with things that Blackie did while in their care.  The notebook had    pictures of Blackie with Chief Baldy and Angel Bear attending events as well as going to church on Sunday.  It also contained facts about the great State of Illinois and its Governor, his family and pets.

The children at the Linda Ray Children's Center really appreciated the time and effort spent compiling the notebook on their behalf and will be looking at it for many months to come.

Here are some of the notes in the notebook:

    Blackie was greeted to Illinois by Chief Baldy and his very tiny peaceful son. The Chief and son are of the Algonquin Indian Tribe, who have dwelled in this part of Illinois for many hundreds of years. They brought black berries to Blackie, hoping to please him.

    Blackie was very impressed with the greeting. He looked, sniffed and then ate the tasty berries. Sunday was the day Blackie prayed and gave thanks for all that he had been given. Angel bear, the spiritual leader for all of the bears in Illinois, was happy to be with Blackie.

    Blackie was the perfect guest. He must be a happy bear because he does not speak, see, or hear any evil. His positive attitude was heartwarming. Now Blackie is on the way to the next host family with our richest blessings.


Update by Kathy from IN

We have had so much fun with Blackie. He is quite the gentleman.  I hope he has had fun here in IN also. He has been to two soccer practices with Sara and he has held his own. He must be in excellent shape. He had fun playing with our two cats Simon and Meeko yesterday. They were playing tag and hide and go seek. He thought the cats really knew how to hide well. They also watched the squirrels and birds at the feeders. It is getting busy out there with them getting ready to start nesting here in IN.

Sara bought Blackie his very own PURPLE BACKPACK. All the kids here in IN use them for school. She also gave him his very own keychain to hang from it. The kids collect keychains and decorate their backpacks with them. The one Sara gave Blackie has two gold stars on it. She said she chose this one because one star is for Blackie because he is one.  The other star is for the children at the center, because they are all stars too.