12/5/11

A Few of My Favorite Things

One of my favorite movies is The Sound of Music. I could sing "I Have Confidence" and "My Favorite Things" all day long (and I frequently do!). There's just something about that movie that says "Christmas" to me. So in the spirit of the season and my love for that movie, I will be sharing a few of my favorite things with you.

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!

CGM

13 comments:

  1. What a lovely story. I too use to make home-made dolls for each of my nieces to look like them. The dolls would have their eye and hair color. They were 3 feet tall. Each of those dolls live in the home of those girls to this day, even though they are in their 20s and 30s.

    Great family story.
    Nonnie

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  2. I just looked closely at the fabric in those dresses and shirts.... I wore a dress made of that very fabric when I was a young girl... It was a Heidie style with a fake vest done in the matching brown. My sister had a similar dress same fabric but different color way red, brown, gold print.

    Whoa you are bringing back memories.

    Nonnie

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  3. Tanesha - what a great story and also how amazing you kept these dolls in such good condition. This is a wonderful legacy and story for your girls.

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  4. What a wonderful story! Thank you for sharing!

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  5. That's a great story! What a touching thing for your neighbor to do... Along similar-but-not-the-same lines: I'm a fair blond caucasian, but about that same time (mid-70's), I decided I wanted a black dolly for Christmas. My grandmother searched all over the city of Dayton, OH until she found one for me. Of course, she received curious looks for buying it, but she knew it was important to me and proceded. To this day, I can't remember why I wanted that dolly, but I remember her sweet face and blue gown--and my grandmother's love for me!

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  6. That's a great holiday memory. At about the same time - maybe the previous year, my mother made me a Raggedy Anne, and made Andy for my sister. I think she must have used this same pattern - my Anne's dress looked JUST like that, with the rick rack along the neckline and sleeves, and on the apron. My Anne was made from white pinwale corduroy and went with me everywhere for years. I recently gave her and Andy facelifts and mailed her to my sister's daughter. She's enjoying them just as much as we did. Great memories!

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  7. Absolutely wonderful - I envy you the dolls of your childhood still preserved. I was the oldest of 7 and mine all were gone before I was out of my parent's home - rough brothers!
    drMolly

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  8. These dolls are adorable and I have no idea how they managed to stay so nice. I would have thought they would have been well worn (loved) and not look so new. I love your story!

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  9. These dolls are adorable and I have no idea how they managed to stay so nice. I would have thought they would have been well worn (loved) and not look so new. I love your story!

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  10. The dolls are great! I love the story behind them, thanks for sharing it with us.

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  11. I enjoyed your story.

    My husband and I ran into this very same situation since we live in South Dakota. I found a very cute hand-made doll for my oldest daughter when she was about two years old at a holiday craft fair. I recall she was so happy to have a doll with curly hair that looked like her.

    This was during the late 80s. It wasn't until the mid 90s that I found dolls in stores that looked like my daughters.

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  12. I've posted your story to my Facebook page! Thanks for sharing!

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