Thursday, June 26, 2008

Kareena's Plight

You my think you know about having it tough, but you don’t. Not until you are plunged headfirst into a grimy box of cottage cheese containers. And you’re not really part of the ‘Garage Sale’ but indifference and apathy has left you upside-down in a box in the corner beside a rubber truck tire eaten away by rot and rusty broken chains that are not for sale.

But still, to some a treasure. That’s where Granddaughter found her. Discarded in an old box. Ragged and broken. But yet with that tattered body and partially decapitated head, she bestowed on GD a sweet look of courage. And so my 9-year-old GD and her Mom came away with doll in hand. GD named her Kareena.

It seems odd to say, but maybe for those of us who link emotional attachments to inanimate objects (usually worthless stuff), it is not so simple as it seems. Maybe within our DNA structure there is an affinity and empathy that reaches beyond living and breathing creatures. All I know is that I form binding relationships with inanimate objects and obviously GD has buried in her heart a similar propensity.

So Kareena came to Grandma’s house. Now I am neither a doll-surgeon or a mid-wife experienced in the art of easing the re-birth of old dolls. But GD expressed such sincere concern for Kareena, that I could only say, “Leave her with me and I’ll see what I can do.”

Gratefully it was Hub that securely reattached Kareena’s head with deft use of pliers and wire after I had constructed a body cast to attach it to. I wish I had before and after pictures to show you but I don’t. We know Kareena is no ordinary doll because she has porcelain (though not high-end porcelain) head, arms, and feet, attached to a cloth body.

But her uniform was dire. Nothing more than a bit of a sweater cuff cut at a fashionable angle. Can’t say that isn’t ‘making do’. And yeh, you know me. It was too unique, I couldn’t discard it. I felt I had to put on a wee hanger on display. How silly, but I guess I was prompted to do so by the same emotion that prompts so many parents to guild and bronze a first pair of baby shoes.

So then back to Kareena. After Hub reunited the plexus of Kareena’s body parts, I set about to sew her a wee dress. I combed her hair, Hub built a wooden display stand for her, and this is the result.

GD hasn’t come to claim her yet, but I’m quite certain she will be very pleased. We’ll probably weep together like sappy people do when presented with an unexpected bouquet of wild flowers.


While I was working on the resurrection of Kareena, Eldest Daughter (ED) called. In my discussion with her about the doll project, she admitted to me that she has carried around with her for many years a tiny plastic giraffe with a missing leg. She really didn’t know why. She only knew that if it hadn’t been broken she would have discarded it long ago. Her only explanation was she felt ‘so sorry’ for it.

And then we both ended up postulating that if toy companies were to develop a line of less sophisticated toys like Kareena (prior to a fix) and the wee giraffe, perhaps children would adopt them. And ultimately, through that kind of adoption, come to know and understand empathy in real-life relationships.

Children love to compete with each other. No one ever needs to explain to a child the theory of competitiveness when it comes to fast, slick, and efficient video play. They buy into that from the get-go. So how unique would it be if competitiveness with their peers were in the vein of giving more effort, more concern, than other kids with the same toy?

I can only imagine how sweet it would be to have toys, or perhaps I should say ‘gaming’, that encourages skills in helping those victimized and defeated by circumstance.

Truthfully, do we have any games, where players are encouraged to play in a spirit of kindness, thoughtfulness, and compassion? Don’t think so.


Anonymous said...

How very beautiful, and how very talented you are. I can bet that Kareena didn't have that smile on her face before she got the makeover!

susan @ spinning

Roberta S said...

Thanks for the comment, susan. When it's an effort in response to a GD's expectation, it's even surprising to me what I manage to pull off.

Pauline said...

The world needs more people like you. And we all need "games" that teach us compassion and empathy. Good luck selling that to toy companies, though you are so dead on with your understanding of what would make a good competitiveness.

Roberta S said...

Thanks for the supportive comment, pauline. I had a passing feeble hope that if a toy is 'new', 'fresh from the store', it would be okay with kids. But I guess even 'new from the store' doesn't have the same magic and appeal it had when I was very young.

Dick said...

There's a sort of meme from this good post: to what eccentric inanimate objects do we seniors still cling? (Me - a miniature wine glass full of Connemara sand. And in answer to your question - I haven't a clue.)

Joy Des Jardins said...

I can't imagine Kareena being in better hands than yours and Hub's. Look at the beautiful makeover you two did with her. GD must have been so thrilled. What a beautiful and compassionate heart you have Roberta...and it seems to have been passed down through your daughter and on to your very lucky for all of you....and for Kareena.

Roberta S said...

hi Dick. The question about the types of games we play was added with little forethought but since then I have been pondering it and I guess it is a rather surprising truth. On the other hand, a meme of people's worthless valuables might prove to be rather interesting and more humorous than one might expect.

Your sand was/is. It could prove to be a intriguing method of assessing personalities in a whole new way.

Roberta S said...

Hi joy. Always happy to have you stop in for a visit.

I was pleased with how the little doll turned out even though she still has no hat and no shoes. I don't think she minds. If I were as compassionate as you lead me to believe she would have those other little necessities.

Still it is true that I do attempt to be mindful of how others feel.

Thank you for the comment, Joy. You always bring me encouragement for my writing and good cheer for my soul.

S L Cunningham said...


When my daughter was a year old, her mother and I gave her a stuffed Peter rabbit for Easter. We thought she might like it, but never realized it would end up becoming her life long companion. Even now at college, she still has her "bunny." Although it is hardly recognizable anymore. Your grand daughter has picked out a gift far more valuable than she may realize.

Roberta S said...

scot, thanks for visiting. The story of Peter rabbit was touching in such a special way.
I am thrilled your daughter still carries a symbol of all the life and love that has carried her thus far.