by Clea L. Aust
Hi! My name is Emily. I first came to life on the pioneer trail going to Utah. Here is my story:
My friend Rebecca was a little English girl. She was born in the small town of Aust located in the Southwestern part of England on the Severn River. Rebecca had a happy childhood until her family wanted to move to the New World where they could have more freedom. Her mother and father sold everything they owned, including Rebecca?s favorite doll. They needed the money to buy passage on the ship to come to America. Rebecca was sad that she had to give up her beautiful doll, but was excited to come to America. They sailed to America in 1856 along with a few friends. It was a long hard trip but they made it safely to the shores of the new land.
They Decided to go west with their friends where there was a lot of land upon which to build a home. They went to Missouri on the stage coach and there they were outfitted with a covered wagon which would carry the few possessions they needed to cross the plains to the Rocky mountains. Rebecca really missed her doll. She didn?t have anyone to cuddle and sleep with in the big outdoors. She had a birthday coming up and she wanted a new doll of her very own. She asked her mother if she could have one, but her mother just shook her head and said she didn?t know how she could buy her one out here on the prairie.
After they had been traveling about a month, they had eaten all the beans out of one sack. Rather than throw it away, Rebecca?s mother had a bright idea - She took the gunny sack and washed it in the creek until it was clean. Then she hung it on the side of the wagon to dry. While Rebecca was sleeping that night, her mother took the sack and began making a doll for her. She had to use what materials were available. She stitched and sewed on me, making me very special for her little girl. She used some dye from a plant to paint my face and found a piece of gingham to fashion me a beautiful dress. She also found a piece of muslin, which had a spot that was not worn too badly, from which she cut out the pantaloons and an apron to match. She used some of the dye to stamp hearts on the apron to match the dress. She made a potato stamp carved in the shape of a heart to dip in the dye and then press onto the apron. Rebecca?s father carved a special little heart from wood and dyed it a pretty color to go on the front of the dress. He found an old piece of rope and braided it for my hair. He also found some rushes from which he wove a cute little hat to fit my head. I was taking shape very nicely.
On Rebecca?s birthday she received a package all wrapped in paper. She was so excited as she unwrapped the package, wishing it were a dolly. But she know it couldn?t be, because nowhere in this vast wilderness was there a store to be found. As she took the lid off the box she squealed with delight. Here I was the most beautiful doll she had ever seen. She picked me up and hugged me ever so tightly. We became the best of friends from that time forward.
She carried me all day as we walked across the prairie and into the mountains. We slept together every night.
One day we camped while the men were fixing someone?s wagon wheel. Rebecca decided to pick some beautiful flowers that were seen up on a hill. As we were picking them, suddenly from behind a tree came an Indian girl. Rebecca was so startled that she grabbed me and started to run. I didn?t make a sound. Rebecca ran so fast that she tripped and fell. I went flying and landed with a thud. The Indian girl had followed us and when she saw me lying on the ground she came over, picked me up and dusted me off. She seemed so sweet, she even gave me a hug. The little Indian girl was dressed differently, but she did have braids in her hair just like mine. She took me over to Rebecca and handed me to her. The little Indian girl bent down and looked at Rebecca?s knees to make sure she hadn?t hurt herself. She held out her had to play with us, so we played in the grass with our new friend for quite awhile. We really had a good time. When the sun started to go down Rebecca realized we needed to get back to the wagon train or everyone would be looking for us. As we began to slowly walk down the hill our new little friend came running up behind us and handed Rebecca some flowers she had picked. We were so touched we both gave her a hug and said a sad good-bye.
When we got back to the camp everyone was glad to see us. Rebecca took the flowers and hung them upside down in the wagon so she could dry them and keep them always to remember our sweet little Indian friend. Later in the week after the flowers were dry, Rebecca took some of them and made me a beautiful arrangement for my hat. She found a piece of ribbon in her mothers things which she used to tie the flowers on with. I thought I had the most beautiful hat in the world because Rebecca had shared her precious flowers with me. I knew then how much she loved me and I loved her too.
As we traveled and talked about our Indian friend we hoped someday we would see her again. We finally arrived in Utah after many months of walking. We were tired and dusty and ready to sleep in a real bed. Rebecca?s father built a home for us with the help of our new neighbors just in time for winter. Here I lived with Rebecca for many years. When she grew older I sometimes sat on the shelf but Rebecca always talked to me as she worked around the house.
Can you take me home and love me like my Rebecca did all those years ago? I will love you very much too!