Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Old Friends Revisited

My nine year old self sat watching my mother sewing a pair of Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls for a friend that was having a new baby.  I jealously watched those muslin bodies taking shape, the red yarn hair being sewn on, the striped legs dancing around, the little pinafore and dress coming together.  I fingered the left over fabric scraps and wished my mom had made me a doll.  She was busy, and made a point of saying that she didn't have any more stuffing.

I went to sleep disappointed,  but the most wonderful surprise greeted me when I woke up the next morning.  A small muslin version of Raggedy Ann, with two long red braids instead of the raggedy afro.  She had a small, red, flowered, print dress made from those scraps and when I lifted her dress to see her body, there sewn with red thread on her little torso, was the classic "I Love You" encircled by a heart.

The words "I was happy" are far too small to fully describe the joy I felt.  I asked her how she did it, with no stuffing! After I went to bed!  She smiled her wonderful smile and told me my doll was a "stocking doll."  A stocking doll?  She had stuffed my precious, little doll with her old pantyhose.  My little, stocking doll became very, very dear to me.  She came to university with me, carefully stowed away with my varsity letters.  She joined me in my first home with my husband and made a reappearance for my oldest daughter, Mary, when she was five years old.  She has rested in-between tucked away in my memory box.

After Maia's birthday party, she asked me about rag dolls.  I explained to her that her Raggedy Ann and Andy (handmade by my mom...) were rag dolls as was her little Madeline doll.  She asked if me or Mary had ever had one and I told her of my doll that we both had shared.  She quickly asked where it was and could I get her out.  It took me two days to get around to it, despite Maia's nagging me about every thirty minutes or so.  I found the doll this evening, after dinner and her enchantment was instant.  I carefully placed her in Maia's arms, and she was named "Lucy."  Lucy is still in that little dress from thirty-five years ago, stiff with age but still bright red.  Her eyes still sparkle and her little heart shines with the love of a mom.

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