Wednesday, December 24, 2014
A Raggedy Christmas
Here is another Christmas story from Gold Pans and Iron Skillets. Enjoy!
A Raggedy Christmas
It must have been about 1966, for I recall that I was not yet in school. The memories remain, few but vivid. I remember a sewing machine, bits of fabric, a door that remained closed, sneaking a peek with my younger sister and straining to decipher the whispers coming from behind the door. For two small girls, the expectations were wonderful. Our excitement was limited only by our imaginations! Whatever could be happening in that room?
The secret emerged Christmas morning. Beneath our tree sat two of the largest, happiest, rag dolls we had ever seen. Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy! At least, they were almost the Raggedys. The dolls were twenty-four inches tall, with orange (not red) hair, red triangle noses, wide spaced black button eyes, and red boots that pointed East and West. They were identical. The only distinguishing characteristic was their clothing. Andy looked like a clown in his one-piece suit and pointed hat. His striped suit was ruffled at the wrists and ankles. It had a red ruffled collar. Ann’s dress had a blue bodice and a dark print skirt with an apron attached. A pocket on her apron housed a bright red hankie. Ann wore a scarf that complimented Andy’s clown suit. I remember most the buttons down each back: three candy-colored buttons that looked like great big Life Savers. They were a comical pair. Situated under the tree atop a pile of packages, Ann and Andy appeared to be two children, the first to arise on Christmas Morn already wise to the contents of their brightly colored perch.
I found Raggedy Ann the other day, not in a trunk in an attic where any self-respecting Raggedy Ann would be found, but in a foot locker in the garage amongst old school books, a cheerleader’s uniform, and some old birthday cards. Raggedy Ann was in sad shape! She was hairless. Her skirt was torn and her scarf and hankie were missing. Her black button eyes were merely glue spots. Worst of all, she was decapitated! It appeared that Raggedy Ann had endured far too many visits from my nieces and nephews. I contemplated laying Ann in her final resting place (the wastebasket), but thought better of it. I would attempt to revive her!
This time it was my sewing machine, my fabric, and my wide-eyed five-year-old daughter anticipating the treasure being created. As I traced the tattered fabric of Ann’s body, I wondered what memories this renewed doll might sow for my little girl. Would she appreciate this silly looking creature as I did? Or, would Raggedy Ann be lost in the blur of Mom’s many other projects? After all, she was just another doll wearing an old leftover dress.
To me, she is still Raggedy Ann. What makes her Raggedy is not the fabric, or the color of her hair, or the stuffing inside, but the memories of a little girl’s Christmas captured by the expression on the doll’s silly face. Each time I look at Raggedy Ann, I am reminded of a Christmas and a childhood filled with happiness. And now, each Christmas my renewed doll takes a seat of respect beneath my tree to remind me that Christmas is for children, for love, and for memories of long, long, ago when a child was born to bring love to all children. Raggedy Ann has become my reminder at Christmas and every other day. She is a symbol of love, of gifts, of joy, and of what Christmas is all about.