Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Return of Wanda

Do you remember Wanda? Wanda was the marionette that one of Lucia’s teachers had found at a yard-sale for 50 cents. I took Wanda home, sewed a black and white polka-dotted dress for her, and gave her some sparkly accessories. Lucia loved Wanda, and as much as I wanted to keep the marionette, I told Lucia that we would be able to visit the Wanda at school.

That Wednesday, Wanda was a hit during music time. The following Monday, Lucia saw Wanda hanging up with her fraternal twin brother, Marco (a red-and-white striped, brown-haired prototype of the Folkmanis Kid Gloves marionette, now discontinued) and though she cried when she had to say goodbye at the end of the day, Lucia was comforted to know that she’d see Wanda next time.

The next day, Wanda took a walk and never returned. There were no witnesses.

To say that I felt bad is an understatement. I had repeatedly reassured Lucia that, even though Wanda wasn't going to stay at our house, Lucia would be able to visit Wanda at school. I expected a meltdown, but Lucia was a good sport about the whole thing. I told Lucia that Wanda had gone traveling, and we didn't know where she was, but we were looking for her and hoped she would come back.

Although she didn’t cry, Lucia often asked about the marionette, and every time she saw a black-and-white polka dotted item, she said, “That’s for Wanda!” Eventually, when I realized that Wanda was indeed stolen, and not just misplaced at the bottom of someone’s craft box, I started to think about finding a replacement prototype. The trouble was that Folkmanis was not making the marionette anymore, and it didn’t seem to have been popular in the first place. I had no luck.

Then, I read this blog entry by Doug of Wordswordswords:
It Keeps Happening. The "discontinued" Dodo Bird wasn't meant to be anything more than a joke, but it got me brooding about Wanda again. I thought of Trixie’s father in the book Knuffle Bunny, and how he got mad when the beloved stuffed animal was nowhere to be found in the laundromat. Trixie's daddy rolled up his sleeves, decided to "look harder," and stuck his head inside the washing machine.

So, I looked harder. I didn't have as strenuous a time as Trixie's daddy, but I did finally find the marionette in question at Purciful's Magical Toys.



I won’t tell you how much I paid (including shipping), but suffice to say, it was more than the 50 cents Lucia’s teacher had spent at the yard-sale. The “new” Wanda arrived yesterday morning, and I dropped everything I was working on* to sew a dress for her. I believe that Lucia understood that this marionette was not the same as the one we brought back to her school, as she said, “That’s a Wanda dolly!” She also knows that her Bert, Ernie, and Raggedy Ann dolls are different from the ones she sees in other places, but loves them all anyway.

I do not use the word “love” lightly. There is something about the affection Lucia feels for her stuffed animals and dolls that goes beyond the physical possession of toys. What is it? Despite this rambly post, I am at a loss for words on how to explain. Perhaps if you have ever bristled at the statement, “It’s only a toy,” you understand. If you don't understand, then please simply trust me. It’s just one of those things.



*In the interest of full disclosure, I already had taken the sewing machine out of the closet.

Update: Nonny has posted photos of her beloved Raggedy Ann dollies mentioned in the comments section below.

17 comments:

Lone Star Ma said...

I'm so glad you found another Wanda dolly for Lucia! (You are such a sweet, dedicated Mommy! That Knuffle Bunny person has nothing on you!)That is so wonderful! I think it is lovely that Lucia loves her dollies. I loved some dolls as a child but the LSG was not much of a dolly-person. She carted a Madeline doll around a lot when she was a bit older than Lucia but it was more because she loved all things Madeline that out of a true relationship with the doll. The LSB recently went through a period of attachment with a stuffed bear (she named it and wanted it in the bed with her) but it only lasted about two weeks...she doesn't seem that into him anymore.

Nonny said...

What sick and twisted person would steal a doll? Honostly, that is just wrong. I certainly know what Lucia is feeling. I myself was in love with my Raggedy Ann doll, which had a music box in it and played "London Bridges". My sister got one also and her's still looks brand new. Mine on the other hand has a visible dirt line between her torso and the portion covered by her pantaloons, no dress, no curls left in her hair (I ate it off, it tasted good to me)and all her limbs have been resewn on. I still have her though and now you've inspired me to post a picture of her.

Douglas Ryan VanBenthuysen said...

Now if I can only find that discontinued dodo...

rawbean said...

When I read this post these were my sentiments:

When clicking on the photo of the original doll I was taken aback by Wanda's cuteness. All I could say was "awhh!" Then, you started referring to her in the past tense "noooo!" I exclaimed, somethings going to happen to that cute doll! And she was stolen, but then the whole story ended so nicely. And man those are cute high tops.

Awhh nonny ate doll hair...haha.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Lone Star Ma: You are too kind. As far as playing with dollies goes, you might have to be the one in the family to do that! I actually didn't think Lucia was going to go through a dolly phase, and while I was fine with that, it was great when the imaginative play started taking off with the dolls having distinctive personalities.

Nonny: The disappearance of Wanda I made no sense at all. I was so angry at whomever took the puppet, but at the same time I hoped that at least Wanda would go to a home where she was appreciated. This is not a rationalization of theft! I'd love to see your Raggedy Ann doll. So would Lucia.Yarn does have a certain je ne sais quois about it in terms of taste, doesn't it?:)

Doug: You must persevere, my friend. Really, though, the ad should have said the dodo was a puppet. The fact that it isn't a puppet makes me think it's been photoshopped.

...Not that a little photoshopping from time to time isn't appropriate. It's soothing, even.

Rawbean: Thank you for your kind words. When I was writing this post, I was worried that people would think I was being a bit dramatic. I'm sure some of them do, but so far they've been kind enough not to shout, "Get a grip, already!"

Tony said...

Welcome back, Wanda!

Lady K said...

How CUTE is SHE??? I'm so coming over for story time...I'll bring the snacks!

Fridaysweb said...

Ah, but how I can understand poor Lucia's despair. It seems she uses her imagination very well, though - she will have more adventures with her dolls and boxes that make magical lands than you and I probably ever thought of (well, maybe not). Ashley is 12 and still can entertain herself for hours with nothing more than some dominoes, marbles and the pieces to a chess set. She has built a "fort" and reinforced it with "cannon balls" and the "horsies and castles" protect the interior. Yes, it sits on my dining room table as I type. I don't have the heart to take it down! Kids...what they won't think of.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Friday: Hurrah for Ashley! Chess pieces make great action figures. One can be quite inventive when the situation requires it: there were times when I had nothing to play with but a deck of cards, and I turned them all into paper-dolls with their own kingdoms. For some reason the Jack of Spades and the King of Diamonds were always the handsomest suitors.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Alkelda - re the cartoon - Islam, Mohanmmed and the Danish cartoons which have caused so much uproar around the world... that's what I was lampooning... well, trying to. Try a Google search. Today extremist Muslims fired Scandanavian embassies in Syria over this very issue. For obvious reasons, I didn't want to be too explicit.

Lone Star Ma said...

I had clay at my dad's place where I used to go visit. I would make Wendy and Peter Pan and John and Michael and the Lost Boys (and Girls!) and play under the table with them for hours. Those were the days.

Lone Star Ma said...

There is a very Wanda-esque (same company) ballerina puppet at our local children's bookstore if that interests you. She has longish yarn hair and ballet clothes but still polka dots and the face.I noticed her after reading this.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Lone Star Ma: I've seen that ballerina puppet! She's quite lovely. There's also a Firebird puppet that's neat, too.

The clay figures sound great. There really is something satisfying about making one's dollies and action figures. By the way, do you know the book Goldie the Dollmaker, by M.B. Goffstein?

Lone Star Ma said...

No, I haven't read that. Is it good?

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