© Gabrielle Vézina has a beautiful doll pattern for sale on Ravelry.
I don’t know about you, but I loved dolls when I was a child . I was nine and asked my mom if I was too old to ask for a doll for Christmas. She said of course not. I had Barbie dolls and that whole crowd. The dolls I loved , however, were baby dolls. When they came out of their box, they had the best smelling baby plastic skin. They found a way to make it smell like baby powder.
I love some history, but not all. I was not looking for the Interweave article on a wooden doll and the clothes she wore, the other night. Yet, there it was. (by the way: Above is a home in Lake Geneva , where Mary Todd Lincoln stayed.)
So when I came across, the podcast, audio, of Revisiting the Donner Party, I had to listen to it.
It is not long and it is speculation , with education, about how one little girl in the Donner/Reed wagon train, was given a doll by her dying grandmother. About how this doll, may have helped her survive. The Interweave information is interesting and weaves, pun intended, the story of the Reed child and her doll.
I’m kind of a Donner Party junkie . I find the story , the twists and turns, the horrible luck and fate filled decisions to be spell binding. I cannot imagine their pain, their hunger and their mindset. The mindset, that you know, led to , you know….
I knitted the entire time I listened to the story. Then I looked for a wagon photo I knew I had taken on vacation. I took the photo below in Utah. What a bumpy ride that had to be. I learned that the Reed family had a lavish Wagon. It had leather seats. It had a 70 plus year old grandma with Tuberculosis, or so it is surmised, who also had her doll from her childhood. There were many , many toys for the children . One beloved child had her own pony and rode around the group as they traveled .
When things went bad, after the group made some awful choices and went through the desert, nearly all of the 70 head of cattle they brought with them died from dehydration. Grandma died somewhere along the way and she gave her granddaughter the wooden doll.
So if you want to hear the story told by the Interweave team, you won’t be disappointed. It is well told and helps us understand how a toy, was perhaps the reason one little girl stayed alive. She stayed alive after her grandma died, her father was banished from the group, and her mom left her and took two of her other children to safety.
I don’t understand how if granny had TB or Consumption, no one else caught the very contagious disease. Perhaps she HAD it at one point, and it damaged her lungs. But , I don’t see how she could have had active TB and not give it to anyone else in the big party. But , that’s just me and I can read more on that situation.
It of course, reminded me of the contagion of COVID. I would not be taking any wagon ride with my granny if she had COVID. I certainly would not be exposing 80 plus people to her . There are some similarities here. I hope that I can knit a doll for someone before Christmas. I’ve knitted Teddy Bears. I bet I can knit a doll. I bet there is a little boy or girl out there who would love to have a doll, to hold, to talk to and to keep when they are not feeling well.
I’m sure I can find a doll group on Ravelry. A charity that takes knitted dolls . I’ll be putting that on my 2020 to do list. Did a toy mean something very special to you? My mother, had a doll , at all times with her in the nursing home as she lived through Alzheimers. She talked to her. She told me she was a “wild little thing”. She asked where her bottle was sometimes. I’d tell her it is in the fridge mom. That doll served a purpose I cannot being to express. I wish I had it.