What Alice Taught Me

October 10, 2008
When I was seven, and apparently a handful, my grandma handed me an American Girl Doll catalog to keep me busy for a few minutes while she cleaned the kitchen. Full of detailed dolls dressed in complex outfits with hats and socks and necklaces, I knew right away this was the magazine for me. I looked it over page to page, cover to cover. You would have thought I was going to be tested on the different hair colors, little lunch boxes, and doll sweaters. As I turned each page, I imagined the stories of each doll—the fair blonde doll preparing a picnic in the park for her friends, the spunky brunette getting ready for a camping trip, the reserved red head dressing for a peaceful night’s sleep. After begging my mother to get me a subscription—with little begging because catalogs are free—I would flip through those pages of untold stories and just let my imagination run free.
It was not long before I was dreaming of holding one of those detailed dolls and writing her story for her; only she cost a full ninety dollars and I only had about three. After picking out the perfect doll to save for, I spent the next half a year scrubbing the bathroom, dusting the picture frames, or doing endless yard work in return for a penny here a quarter there. It was hard work for a little seven year old, but I deemed it worth it. If there were a random job that needed to be done, I was there. I saved and saved and saved until I had finally scrounged up enough for that beautiful doll with an untold story. At seven, I didn’t really know, but saving up all that money hadn’t only earned me a doll, it earned me valuable budgeting skills and an appreciation for hard work.
Time raced on and so did Alice—that’s what I named her. She had been to school, taken violin lessons, gotten miserably sick, gone skating, lost a best friend, tried gymnastics and broken her foot. She had even had a birthday party with her own chocolate birthday cake. No one came really, except a small portion of my beanie baby collection and the stuffed elephant, and Alice hated the stuffed elephant. But that was okay because she was still nice to the stuffed elephant, and I knew how she felt. I was nice to Karen when she came to my birthday party too.
I learned a lot from Alice. When she lost her cute little purple purse, she didn’t cry, but I did. It was her favorite purse. She didn’t cry because I decided she wasn’t going to cry. I decided she wasn’t going to cry when her cereal spilled, or when Nancy made fun of the silver ribbon she wore in her hair. Eventually I learned to decide not to cry, and really, that made all the difference in the world.
In second grade my teacher had us do writer’s workshop. I didn’t think I had ever had more fun in school than when I got to make up whatever I wanted and put it on paper. I really wasn’t good at it, but I loved it more than anything. That was when I decided I wanted to be a writer. Alice had taught me to love to imagine and create. She taught me to look at the stars and dream and realize anything is possible with writing. I could choose Alice’s future, I could choose my characters’ future, and I could choose my future. So I kept on writing. Spelling errors, fractured plots, and flat characters were really all my writing was good for. Actually, it wasn’t good at all—it was terrible. But that wasn’t really what mattered.
Now Alice sits up on my shelf, her flashy headbands and decorative dresses tucked away. But I try not to tuck away any of the lessons she taught me. I have saved more than a year’s college tuition. I learned that hard work does not only pay off in saving money, but also in school work and sports competitions. I know how important it is to value and love others and that I am in control of my happiness. And finally, to always chase my dreams. Alice’s story has already been written, but mine is only beginning.

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laxgirljk1315 said...
Nov. 13, 2009 at 2:59 pm
great job!however you might want to organize the structure a bit better. Maybe spaces between paragraphs?
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