Adventures with Harmon
Harmon’s teddy bear is not your average stuffie. Her name is Mother Bear and she is big – almost as big as Harmon himself. She also loves having adventures and gets into all sorts of mischief. We know this because Harmon has written a book, complete with pictures, about all the antics she gets up to. The book is appropriately titled The Adventures of Mother Bear. Whether she’s putting her paws in someone’s lunch, wrestling someone to the ground, or taking a friend’s motorcycle for a spin, there are no limits to what Mother Bear might try.
The Adventures of Mother Bear was a collaborative effort: Harmon came up with the story and his “family” helped him put the book together. Communitas Supportive Care Society provides support to Harmon and the three other people who share the home with him. For Harmon, the staff who serve here are like an extension of his family, providing him with the care he needs and bringing out his best. Harmon is aboriginal and as part of his culture, it is a practice to address the caregivers you love and respect with familial terms. It is obvious that he loves these people deeply.
“They belong to me,” he says, softly. “They are my family.”
Two of the staff, “Auntie” Krista Petrie and “Auntie” Linda Siemens helped Harmon put his book together.
“They are two of our very creative staff,” says “Mom” Louise Duck, who manages the home and is the inspiration for the name Mother Bear. “They helped Harmon write down his story and got the other staff involved, bringing the book to life.”
Linda says that coming up with the story was easy because Harmon has a very fertile imagination. He can often be heard telling himself stories, using different voices for the different characters. He has a large collection of stuffed animals, each one with a name and unique character, but it is Mother Bear who is the most mischievous providing him with a wealth of fodder for his book.
“This is definitely his story,” Linda says. “Krista helped Harmon write it down first, then we staged the photos. All the staff really wanted to get involved.”
Krista says that the book is a wonderful reflection of Harmon’s character and her favourite part of the book shows how witty he can be.
“He always makes us laugh. He’s got such an amazing sense of humour,” she says. “This book definitely shows that.”
Once the story was written and all the photos were taken, Krista and Linda used an online publishing platform to create the book. Two copies were made, one to view and one that Louise has put away for safe keeping in case the other is lost or damaged. The book was an instant success and a deep source of pride for Harmon who took to his Facebook page to declare that he was now a published author. When asked what his favourite part of the book is, he has a hard time choosing just one.
“I think it’s the page where she puts her paw in the lunch bag,” he says, smiling.
With such a vivid imagination and so many characters readily available, is it possible that Harmon and his “family” will produce another book?
“Maybe,” he says.
Krista and Linda start throwing out ideas. Maybe other “family” members who didn’t make the first book could be included in a new one. Perhaps other stuffies could make an appearance. A huge smile spreads across Harmon’s face and it’s clear that he’s already got a few ideas brewing.
“Yes,” he says, “there could be more adventures.”