Mae's Real Stories

Memories for Miriam, Alice, Theo, Delia, Tessa and anyone else who would like to be here

Saturday, November 07, 2009

The American Girl series of books now includes several books about a girl named Rebecca. The story is made up, but helps to teach readers about the way a Jewish family could have lived in 1914.

Rebecca's grandparents and her parents came from Russia before Rebecca was born. In the story, Rebecca has two sisters and two brothers. She also has a set of nesting dolls that her mother or grandmother brought with them when they came from Russia. She had seven dolls in all. I copied two pictures from the first page of the book about Rebecca showing all the dolls that nested one inside the other.

My grandparents came from Russia at about the same time as Rebecca's grandparents, but of course they were real, not made up. My mother was born a little later than Rebecca, but she had a life very similar to Rebecca's. For one thing, Rebecca and my mother both had a big sister named Sadie. (Their other sisters and brother didn't have the same names.)

I don't know if my mother had a nesting doll like Rebecca's when she was a little girl. I think she had had some, but they were lost or given away before she grew up. My mother did have a set of three nesting dolls that are very similar to three of Rebecca's dolls. She bought this set of dolls on her honeymoon, right after she and my father were married. She called the biggest doll the "Baba Doll" because it was wearing a scarf like her grandmother's scarf. Her grandmother was called "Baba."

My mother's three nesting dolls are in the third picture. We used to play with when we were children. We liked to take the large doll and the middle-sided doll apart and put them back together. The littlest doll didn't come apart. The dolls are made of wood, so we were allowed to play with them without being afraid they would break. Eventually, the flowers and faces painted on the wood began to chip and look old.

I think it's interesting that Rebecca, the girl in the story book, resembles some of the things about my mother and my aunts.

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