Every Wednesday over at Thorne Garnet's it is Weird Doll Wednesday where she features a different specimen from her burgeoning collection of dolls in traditional costumes from around the globe. Name the most obscure country you can think of and I'm sure Thorne has a representative. Thorne is of course, a costume designer, so such a collection is a perfect archive of design resource and inspiration in all its 3D minutiae glory.
So here is a post dedicated to Thorne and in fact all my US blog friends and readers. Here representing the United States of America...Raggedy Ann and Andy! Albeit looking very raggedy indeed. My mother pulled these dolls out to show me when I was over in Australia for my sister's wedding. Raggedy Andy belonged to my sister and Raggedy Ann to me. My father went out to the States when we were toddlers for work and returned with a Raggedy Ann and Andy doll. We literally loved them to death, dragging them around everywhere until they were so worn that we were eventually bought replacements. Yes, these two here are Raggedy Ann and Andy Mark II.
As well as being the very first dolls I remember having as a tiny girl, they were the
first ones we had with clothes and that we were able to undress and dress back up again. Way before I had an inkling who Barbie was, there was Raggedy Ann with her little cotton floral dress and white apron. Here began early experimentation with clothes on figurines. Ann lost her dress to a teddy bear eventually and then altogether. I remember early sewing projects to make her a replacement, first by my mother, and then later by me, none of which have survived, leaving her bereft of any clothes, her candy heart with "I Love You" on display for all to see. Andy managed to keep his shirt and trousers to this day, probably because my sister always was and still is to this day, less obsessive about fiddling around with clothing.
I remember being a young girl at school and coming across a book about the adventures of Raggedy Ann and Andy in the library which had such enchanting illustrations and stories. I loved it so much that I took it out continuously for weeks. I was already at an age where I had given up playing with rag dolls for Barbies but I remember the book so captured my imagination, that it reignited an enduring affection for Ann and Andy and even had me returning to play with them along with my sister to re-enact the adventures I'd read.
It was only as an adult that I learnt that they were created in the United States. I was sad to learn the creator John Gruelle made Raggedy Ann for his daughter Marcella, who then died very young at the age of thirteen. He went on to write the Raggedy Ann and Andy books in her memory. Here then am I, now an adult, marvelling at the endurance of a couple of rag dolls over almost four decades and remembering that one of the great joys of childhood was reading this man's stories about them.
I was trying to remember which book it was that I read. It was just the one. After some Google searching tonight I think it could have been Raggedy Ann and Andy in the Deep Deep Woods. If you have a young child this is a beautiful book.
Sadly, this Raggedy Ann and Andy were off to the rag trade, so this photo was our goodbye really, my way of keeping a memento of the wonderful times we once spent together long ago. My mother, like me, is an overly sentimental creature and has held on to many of our old dolls since we left home as a reminder of all her children. I could understand she felt she would be saying goodbye to the memory of my childhood if she threw them away, so kudos to her for finally letting Ann and Andy go.
If you have a Raggedy Ann and Andy memory I'd love to hear it!
Here are some snaps of the sun drenched fields of France. I write this from the UK now where the end of summer is nigh. The days are gett...
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