One night when I was four years old I cried myself to sleep in my mom’s arms because I realized at bedtime that I couldn’t find Raggedy Ann. As heartbroken as I was – I was sobbing – I think about that night fondly.
I grew up when children were told what to do by their parents. When it was bedtime I was expected to fall asleep alone in my own bed. So being held in my mom’s arms that night while she rocked me in her wooden rocking chair in the living room was very special. I’m not sure where she had been, but Raggedy Ann showed up the next day.
Years later, it broke my heart to realize that she had very little of her red yarn hair left, her special dress and petticoat were gone, and most of the black paint on her metal eyes had worn off. Even her “skin” was thinning. She was so tattered there was little I could do for her.
So I put a different dress on her, and let my children, and later day care kids play with her. Somewhere along the way she disappeared. I may have tossed her out if she got too worn, I don’t remember now.
I’m glad that other children were touched by Raggedy Ann, the doll with the heart. I always told them how special she was. And how for years I thought there was a candy heart inside her, behind the printed “I love you” heart. I was always so proud of myself for not ripping her chest open.
I realize how fortunate I am to have parents who took the time to read to me, otherwise I would have never known the gifts that Raggedy Ann brings. I wish that I had taken better care of her, and that I still had her. She taught me everything important in life: Love.
Since Raggedy Ann first appeared in print in 1918, she has charmed millions of readers with her always warm and optimistic outlook and calm approach to difficulties. Raggedy Ann came to Marcella’s nursery and quickly became the leader of the dolls. After learning a lesson from a naughty raid on the pantry, Raggedy Ann’s adventures show her striving to be good — and succeeding. She and the other dolls rescue Fido, the family dog, from the dogcatcher. When, in one adventure, Raggedy Ann has to have her stuffing replaced, she gets her famous “I LOVE YOU” candy heart.