Favorite Thing #1 is:
My Raggedy Ann & Andy dolls.
Here's the story behind them (as told to me by my Mom over the years):
About 36 years ago (1975-ish) my parents moved to a suburb outside of Manchester, New Hampshire, the town I was born. We were the only black family in the neighborhood, probably that town. Having lived through the social unrest of the Civil Rights movement only 10 years before, both my Mom and Dad had some very painful as well as positive memories of that time. They had not been sure about moving to a place where they were the only black family for miles around.
Well, they needn't have worried! The neighbors welcomed us with open arms. I'm talking fruitcakes, pies, casseroles, offers of babysitting for their adorable 2 year old (me!), etc.... My parents were a little overwhelmed but very happy at the reception.
My mom was a crafter and occasional sewer, but being a new mom and working as a nurse's aid part-time she didn't have much time to do either. It was Christmas time and while I had a lot of baby dolls, there were no black dolls that my Mom could find. She really wanted me to have at least 1 doll that represented what I and my family looked like vs. the standard blond/blue-eyed dolls I had lining my bed. She was talking about this to her elderly neighbor and friend who also happened to be an excellent sewer. She had no grandchildren of her own, and often babysat me while my Mom got some free time.
She understood the meaning behind what my Mom was saying, and agreed it was a shame there weren't any black dolls in stores at the time. Being a redhead herself, she told my Mom she'd never seen a doll with that color hair in stores either until she made her own Raggedy Ann doll herself. She surprised my Mom one day with a handmade Raggedy Ann doll, the one pictured above, for me. Everything, including the dress was handmade, and mostly hand sewn.
My Mom fell in love with this doll, and knew I would love it too. Then, a few days before Christmas she gave my Mom a huge wrapped box, and said she thought Raggedy Ann would be lonely, so she made Andy too.
I have had many, many dolls in my lifetime. Barbies, the Baby Alive doll who eats and pees, porcelain dolls, cloth dolls, but none have meant as much to me as Raggedy Ann & Andy. I have kept them all these years (almost 4 decades!) and they're displayed on a bookshelf in my daughters nursery.
So that's the story of my 2 handmade Raggedy Ann & Andy dolls. One of my favorite things!