Raggedy Ann's 90th Birthday Day Essay Contest
Winning Essay by Michelle Carter
I can remember as a young child going to my grandmother's house and playing with the many toys she had acquired over the years. There were so many to choose from, and I had free rein on all of them. All of them, that is, except the old Raggedy Ann doll that sat on the top shelf in the study. Every time I visited I would ask to play with her, and every time I was told the same thing, "Perhaps when you grow up. "How dare she think I was a baby, I'd show her!"
Getting to that doll became the number one mission in my young life. Several times I would think it was my chance and all of a sudden my grandmother would appear. But one day when I was over at her house, my grandmother fell asleep. I knew as I heard the first snore come out of her that this was my chance. So I snuck into the study, and pulled the chair up to the shelf. Even on my tip toes I could not reach. I figured I could climb up the two shelves that stood in the way. I got on the first one and put my foot onto the next. It was at that moment I realized that the shelf was not attached to the wall but was falling over with me as I held on for dear life. When grandmother heard the crash she came running and found me lying on the floor with the shelf on top of me. My mission was completed with a trip to the doctor and a cast on my arm. I thought my grandmother was going to be furious, but she wasn't. Then again, perhaps she had been but figured the broken arm was enough. Instead what she showed to me that day was care and compassion.
When we got back to her house I helped her put the shelf back in order. When she got to the doll she sat me down with her and told me that the doll was given to my aunt when she was a baby. I knew my mother had a sister who died when she was only 18 months old, but I never knew how hard it had been on my grandmother until that day. Tears came to her eyes as she told me about how sick Emily had been and how the doll had been a constant companion to her. It was then that I realized that grandmother wasn't trying to be mean by putting Raggedy Ann out of reach but instead was trying to hold on to Emily through it.
After that day, my grandmother offered to let me sit in the chair and play with the Raggedy Ann, but each time she did, I declined. I felt that Raggedy deserved to stay right where she was in her place of honor. Years later, when grandmother was sick she told my mother she could have Raggedy Ann to hold on to for me. When she passed away not long after, I knew that Raggedy Ann would never truly be mine. So I placed her in with grandmother knowing that my gesture represented a reunion between grandmother and Emily.
Bass Harbor , Maine