Emily Jane, A Christmas Poem

Oh, Christmas time is coming again

And what shall I buy for Emily Jane?

O Emily Jane, my love so true,

Now what upon earth shall I buy for you?

My Emily Jane, my doll so dear

I’ve loved you now for many a year.

And still while there’s anything left of you,

My Emily Jane, I’ll love you true.

My Emily Jane has lost her head,

And has a potato tied on instead.

A hole for an eye, and a lump for a nose,

It really looks better than you would suppose.

My Emily Jane, has lost her arms,

The half of one leg’s the extent of her charms.

But still, while there’s anything left of you,

My Emily Jane, I’ll love you true.
And now shall I bring you a fine new head,

Or shall I bring you a leg instead?

Or will you have arms to hug me tight.

When naughty ‘Lizabeth calls you a fright?

Or I’ll buy you a dress of satin so fine

‘Mong all the dolls to shimmer and shine.

For Oh! while there’s anything left of you,

My Emily Jane, I’ll love you true.

Above from a turn of the century edition of a Journal of Education.

This is from the Feb. 1920 edition of The Parents’ Magazine:

WHEN I was a tiny little girl I had the good luck, as I think it, to be stolen by the gipsies. Of course, I was not altogether happy with my “Mother” Stoner captors during the week that they kept me from my parents, but in spite of the longing for my own people I was very happy playing with the gipsy kiddies and have never forgotten a nice potato doll that one old grandmother made for me.

She selected a small potato that had a warty protuberance on it like a nose for the doll’s head. Into this head she stuck a stick and the other end of the stick was run through a large round potato that made a nice fat body. Two sticks made the arms and two the legs. She daubed some black paint on the face for eyes and some red for a nose and mouth. The doll was dressed in a bonnet made of a horse-chestnut leaf and its dress was fashioned from a burdock leaf and several thorns. I was told that this was an Irish doll, and as the face reminded me of our Irish gardener I believed what I was told, and I had more fun with that doll than I ever had with any other.

The gipsy kiddies had dolls made out of turnips, carrots, apples, radishes, squash, dried peaches, beans, pumpkins, etc. My favorite fruit-made doll was a dried peach. Her cheeks were withered, and when the old gipsy put a ragged handkerchief about the doll’s neck and fastened a string of leaves from the top of the head the peach resembled an ancient Indian warrior.

Children often grow impatient at the table while waiting for change in courses. Some parents for this reason do not allow the little ones to come to the table. I do not believe that children should monopolize the entire conversation at the table, and it is certainly not pleasant for guests to hear nothing but childish prattle, but generally very little things will make little people happy.

I have made kiddies happy and content by manufacturing a doll out of a radish and a lettuce leaf. Make eyes, nose and mouth in the radish, fasten a lettuce leaf around the radish for a robe.

I have also used pansies taken from the centerpiece to make cunning dolls dressed in one of my green lettuce leaves taken from the salad. The childish imagination makes real beings out of these puppets and forms interesting companionship. Of course these dolls are perishable, but they can be made fresh each day and they arouse the creative not only in yourself but in the children.

Just now I am planning a ZOO made of animals and fruits. There will be a reindeer made out of a banana. The head and horns of Mr. Reindeer must be drawn and cut out of cardboard, but his body will be just an ordinary banana and his legs will be crepe-paper wrapped wires. My elephant will be made out of the biggest potato I can find. For ears I shall use brown muslin and the same for the tail. For the nose I shall use permodello, adjusting it while it is soft and letting it harden. From a smaller potato I shall form a donkey, using permodello for the ears and a piece of rope for the tail.

In these hard times when fruit is so ex pensive it is rather extravagant to allow Johnnie to cut holes in a lemon to make a “spitting pig,” but potatoes are still cheap enough to be used in making a vegetable zoo.

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