CLOVER, S.C. -- Ernest Bryson works a full time job at a local plant. Then at night, he cleans Clover High School. Now, he has a third job that is also keeping him busy. Bryson is an author just out with a new children’s book.
“I almost get lost in this place,” he said walking through Clover High. NewsChannel 36 met up with him on his way to read his book, Smudgie New Adventure, to a group of preschoolers.
The image of his Smudgie bear came to Bryson back in 1985.
“God gave me the concept of what the bear should look like,” he recalled. “He put it in my head and I tried to get it out.”
Twenty six years later, Bryson was finally able to turn Smudgie into what he is today, a bear that teaches children important life lessons.
“Smudgie will teach children that it is cool to tidy up after you make a mess. It is okay to make up your bed,” he said. “He’ll teach good moral values and to be kind and courteous.”
In Smudgie’s characteristic smudge spots, there is also a message.
“These spots are permanent and he is the only bear in the world that has smudge spots and these spots will teach children even though for some reason you may look different you are still unique,” he said. The 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds seemed to like the message, cheering for Bryson once he finished.
In addition to Smudgie, Bryson’s granddaughter Kalynn is also a character in the book.
“She said, ‘I am going to Hollywood,’ and ‘I’m going to be in the movies,’” Bryson said of Kaylynn’s reaction.
Her dreams may come true. Her granddad just got back from Las Vegas and an event called Pitch Fest where he says there was a lot of interest in taking Smudgie to television.
“They were all responsive to Smudgie, real responsive and positive. One rep from a filmmaking company said I can easily see this on Nickelodeon. That was enough for me,” Bryson recalled.
Ernest Bryson is working on a second installment that should be out in four to five months. He loves his two main jobs, but is pretty excited about his third.
“I knew this day would come. I didn’t think it would take this long, but I knew this day would come,” Bryson said.
To check out more about Smudgie, go to www.smudgieadventures.com.