Love Passed Down
Her red and white shoe tassels are hanging by a thread and her bloomers are a bit smudged and wrinkled. There are bald spots on her head where the brown “hair” is missing and her knees are a bit dirty. But, her smile has never changed and she still has both of her eyes. And she is, once again, after 38 years, a favorite toy.
My Raggedy Ann doll, present in my daughter’s room since the day she was born but ignored until now, has now won her affections and loyalty through a story I told her about the doll. The story was “How She Came to Be Mine”. Since then, my 3 year old daughter carries around this floppy, obviously well-loved, hand-made doll with her everywhere. Last night she gave Raggedy Ann her supper and put her to bed. Then, when it was time for my daughter to eat, the doll took up residence in the bouncy seat reserved, up until now, for the real baby I care for, and my daughter carried her in that seat to after-dinner movie time, bath, and placed her right beside her bed. Of course, when I went in to check on her later, Raggedy Ann was out of the seat and in the bed with her.
She began her life as “favorite toy” in my seventh year when given as a gift by my great-aunt except her clothes were much fresher and brighter, her shoe tassels were secure, and she had all her hair. She went with me through all my 20-something moves, sometimes left in storage, sometimes brought out, but never completely forgotten. She brightened a corner of a room in the older, fixer-upper house that would be the first house I bought. And she waited, until the day that she would be special to someone again.
I hope that someday she’ll be in a condition to be passed on to my daughter’s children, with the story of how she came to be hers, as well as how she came to be mine. I think that having something tangible, something she can see and feel, to prove that I was a little girl once, just like her, is what has made this doll special to my daughter. She craves stories about that time in my life, some repeated over and over. And these stories, and this doll, will become a part of who she is, too.
Do you have an “antique” toy that has been in your family for some time that is a favorite with your children? What stories about you as a kid are your child’s favorites?