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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

GYPSY Girl (Story and Activities)

by Kristie Smith-Armand, M.Ed, CTVI

"If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they’re yours. If they don’t, they never were.” Richard Bach

Gypsy Girl

by: Jamille C. Smith

Her one goal in life
Is to spread joy and cheer
To children and adults –
And to all who come near.

Filled with magical qualities,
And a temper so mild,
She moves easily about
From child to child.

With a scar on her arm,
And a smile on her face,
She’s ready to work magic
Any time - any place.

Gypsy Girl looks very poor,
But to me, she’s so fine.
And the best part about her
Is she’s mine – all mine !!!

Kate Anderson was a little girl who was richer than any other little girl in the country. Even at nine years old, she was richer than most adults. Kate could buy anything that she wanted for herself and others. Unfortunately, Kate usually just bought for herself. She had dolls, video games, a large swimming pool with a very large water slide, a mansion, her own movie theater, a tennis court, horses, and her own very large bedroom that was bigger and nicer than Toys ‘R Us.

However, even with all of Kate’s toys, the children in her neighborhood and neighborhoods all over the country stayed away from Kate. She was what they called a ‘spoiled brat’, and meaner than the bullies on the street. She would scream at the other children if they did not do what she wanted them to do.

“You are mean” she would scream at anyone who dared to try and play at the magical house.

"Yes, they are mean!” her blonde and thin mother, Janet would agree. “Come along, Darling, let’s go shopping and we’ll find someone else to play with you later on.”

The insulted ex-friend would walk away and never return to the mansion where the best toys in the world lived.

Kate’s dad, Jonathan, would not say such things to Kate because he was always gone making the money so that Kate and Janet could have whatever their hearts desired. At least that’s what he told himself. If the truth was to be told, Jonathan could not stand to be with his wife or daughter any more than the rest of the world.

Two days before Christmas Eve, Kate became bored with all of her toys and wanted a beautiful new doll. One specially designed for her.

“I want the most beautiful doll ever, and I want it to look exactly like me,” Kate demanded.

“Then, Darling, you shall have it!” Janet stated. “We’ll go to the toy manufacturer today and demand that they make a ‘Kate’ doll and put them all on the shelves by next week.”

“I want it now!” Kate screamed stomped her feet and slammed the huge door that led from the outdoor fireplace into the grand house.

Janet immediately called one of her husband’s clients who made the most beautiful and specialized toys at Toys for Tots.

Janet called and threatened the floor salesman who was unfortunate to have answered the phone.

“Toys for Tots. This is Rebecca. How may I help you?”

“Well, Rebecca. Do you know to whom you are speaking?” Janet barked.

“No?” questioned Rebecca.

“Get your manager on the phone. And, Rebecca, I hope you enjoyed your job at Toys for Tots because tomorrow you will be fired for your bad attitude!”

“What did I do?” questioned Rebecca.

“Get your manager now!” Janet screamed.

Poor Mr. Metzler came to the phone after he settled Rebecca down and assured her that she would not be fired.

“Yes, Mrs. Anderson. No, Mrs. Anderson. Sure. Bring little Kate in today, and we’ll make something nice for her.”

Mr. Metzler hung up the phone and took four aspirin. Then he found Albert, the best toy maker in the factory, and told him for whom he would be making a doll.

“Oh, no!” Albert screamed. “That is the meanest and most snobbish kid on the planet. Can’t Earl do it?”

“I am sorry, Albert,” Mr. Metzler began. “But you are the best. You create something special every time you invent a toy.”

“What does the little brat- I mean little princess want this time?” Albert asked.

“She seems to want a doll that looks just like her; one that is different from all of her other toys. A doll with large dark eyes, like hers and a fluffy dark ponytail, and wearing a spectacular pink party dress with lacey socks and beautiful bows in her hair.”

“Hmmmmm. I know just what she needs,” smiled Albert.

You, see, Albert was quitting his job at the factory by the end of the week. He signed a contract with an even bigger and better company than Toys for Tots.

“I’ll teach that Miss Smarty-Pants a thing or two,” laughed Albert to himself.

Albert went to work. When the doll was complete, he smiled to himself and stuffed her into a shoebox.

“Good Luck, Dolly,” laughed Albert. “You are going to need it tomorrow!”

Albert packed his tools and desk, turned out the lights in the factory and went home never to return.

The next day Kate and her beautiful but hateful mother got out of their limousine. They knocked down three children on their way into the store.

“Well, Mr. Metzler,” Janet screamed. “Where is my daughter’s new doll? I have a hair appointment in thirty minutes, so I need it now!”

“Yes, yes, Mrs. Anderson, I have it right here.”

Mr. Metzler looked puzzled for a moment when he saw the shoebox with the Anderson’s name written on it with a crayon.

“Hmmmm. Yes, I believe this is it.”

Janet handed the shoebox to little Kate with a confused and scared look on her face. Both Mr. Metzler and Janet waited on Kate’s response when she drew the doll out of the shoebox.

The doll made from cloth laid in the shoebox with her soft skinny legs bent behind her. She looked up at Kate with hope in her large button blue eyes, scruffy blonde hair that stood straight up in the air and a crooked smile. She was wearing blue jean overalls like a farmer wears, with patches sewn all over the material. One stocking-leg was red and white stripe while the other one was black and white with large polka dots, and one foot was shorter than the other one. The patches were all different colors: red, green, yellow, and brown.

Kate took one look at the doll and screamed, “You are terrible! I hate her! She is the ugliest doll in the world, and she looks nothing like me!”

Kate grabbed the ragdoll, threw her down on the ground and began stomping her like she would a nasty bug that got in her way.

Was it Mr. Metzler’s imagination or did he spy a tear rolling down the ragdoll’s face? She looked so sad.

“Calm down, Miss Kate,” Mr. Metzler said in a voice that was trembling. “I will personally look into this matter for me, in the mean time, please pick any doll that you would like.”

“I want a Kate doll!” she screamed, kicking Mr. Metzler right in the shin.

“You are finished, Metzler!” shouted Janet.

“Both of you just get out of here! I don’t care if we ever have your business again. Now go!”

“You haven’t heard the last from us!” Janet proclaimed. “Come along Kate, we’ll find someone who knows what they are doing to make a Kate doll just for you.”

The two bratty human beings- if you could call them that- stomped out of the store, knocking down anyone who got in their way.

Mr. Metzler rubbed his head. He was getting too old for this and he was tired.

“It’s time for Christmas with the family,” he said to himself. “I need to be with my warm family. Even though we don’t have much, we are happy- unlike those two miserable people. Come on, Dolly, I am afraid that no one will want you.”

Mr. Metzler got his belongings, locked the door, put the ragdoll back into the shoebox and tossed her into the trashcan outside of the shop.

Breanna Day was a schoolteacher, and a great one at that. She taught fourth grade and simply loved all children. When a child had problems with behavior or their schoolwork, the principal always sent them to Breanna because of her extra-large heart.

Breanna was beautiful with her dark skin, large dark eyes, black short curly hair and a smile that was miles- wide. She was a single mom to a wonderful daughter, Skye and a young son, Bryson. Bryson was a bit older than Skye; he was ten and Skye was eight years old. Bryson was a kind boy with muscles bigger than his fifteen-year-old cousin, Taylor, and Skye was a duplicate of her mother. “Breanna, Skye looks like your mini-twin,” people would often say.

Even though Breanna, Skye, and Bryson did not have much money they created a house, as small as it was, that was filled with happiness and love for each other. Every night Breanna would tuck her children into the beds, listen to Skye and Bryson say their prayers, and then read them a good night story.

Christmas snuck up on Breanna this year. She had been so busy tutoring children at school, taking care of her own children and attending all of the school’s Christmas programs that she found herself rushing to do her Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve.

"Hello, Ms. Dewberry,” Breanna smiled at the clerk. “I need a doll that Skye would like. I had to wait until I got my paycheck to even shop this year. Do you have anything unusual or special this year?”

“Yes, Breanna. Wait right here.”

Ms. Dewberry came back with many beautiful dolls of all sizes, shapes and colors. However there was one major problem. All of the dolls were way too expensive. After all, Breanna had two children to buy for and only one salary.

“They are all very lovely, Ms. Dewberry, but I don’t think they are what we are looking for.” Breanna smiled weakly and left the shop feeling dejected. She was thinking about how kind and caring her children were and only wished that she could afford something special for each of them.

Fortunately for Bryson, the neighbor across the street sold her one of the hottest electronic games of the season for half the price. Frank (the neighbor) worked at the store that purchased the games and got great discounts on items. He was so fond of the single parent family that he looked for opportunities to help Breanna and her two great kids.

Breanna was close to tears walking down the street with her eyes looking at the concrete below. Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted a shoebox stuffed into a trashcan by the Toys for Tots toy store. Breanna, Skye and Bryson never went inside Toys for Tots because the store was way overpriced. Only people with high incomes could afford to even walk into the store.

Breanna noticed a cloth striped leg sticking out of the shoebox. The box was only inches from old ketchup-stained stained french fries that were tossed after the lunch crowd left Barry’s Burgers.

Breanna reached into the trashcan and pulled the shoebox out of the garbage. She took off the lid and saw a smiling ragdoll that warmed her heart.

“Now where did you come from, Precious?” she asked the ragdoll, not really expecting an answer. “Why don’t you come home with me? I know a very special little girl who is wanting a doll badly, and you are right in my price range.”

Breanna tucked the shoebox into her empty bag and skipped all the way home.

Christmas Eve was always so much fun at Breanna’s house. Even though the house was tiny, the entire family loved to spend Christmas Eve at Breanna’s cozy home. Her sister, Kary and her five children: Kamryn, Peyton, Brennan, Gianna, and Karis all came along with Grandmother Jamie and Grandpa RR. Breanna’s other two sisters: Carrie and Shawna came every year bringing the Christmas Eve feast.

After church and dinner at Breanna’s everyone began opening presents. The children were ‘oooooinggg’ and ‘aaahhhhhing’ with every present they ripped into.

Finally, it was Skye’s turn. Breanna felt nervous when Skye began unwrapping the present for fear that she would be terribly disappointed.

Skye shook the box with a confused look on her face. She ripped the paper off of the box and said, “Did you get me a pair of shoes?” Without answering, Breanna just smiled.

Skye lifted off the top of the shoebox and screamed with delight.

“She’s beautiful. Oh, Mom! I love her! What is her name?”

Breanna thought quickly and said, “Gypsy Girl is her name. She has been traveling around and hasn’t had a home until now.”

Skye was thrilled to have such a lovable doll like Gypsy Girl. The really cool thing about the rag doll was that when Skye laid her on her shoulder, the doll would drop her head and rest it on Skye.

“Come on Kamryn, Gianna, and Peyton,” Skye screamed. “Let’s go have a tea party with our new dolls.”

Peyton and Kamryn were also thrilled with their new dolls, but for the life of them, they could not see why Skye was so thrilled with Gypsy Girl. They were nonetheless happy for her.

That night and for the next three years Gypsy Girl slept with Skye every night and went everywhere Skye went.

“Come on Gypsy Girl. Let’s go to school with Mom,” Skye said. Breanna was going to school to decorate her room earlier this year before the children came in on the first day of school.

“Are you sure you won’t be bored hanging around with me all day?” Breanna asked Skye.

"No, Ms. Jones said that I could play in her room today because she is leaving and going to a meeting.”

Skye was thrilled about having an empty classroom to herself and Gypsy Girl. She was a little embarrassed about bringing her doll to the school, so she tucked her inside of a paper bag until they closed the door behind in Ms. Jones’ classroom. Gypsy Girl and Skye played school all day inside of the classroom and only stopped briefly when Mom took them to lunch.

One day Skye met a new girl in the neighborhood named Brette. For some reason Skye had some misgivings about Brette but felt sorry that she was new to the neighborhood and did not have any friends.

“Bring your doll, Brette, and I’ll bring mine,” Skye told her. “ We can meet for a wonderful picnic by the lake. I’ll see you there around 2:00. You bring the blanket and I’ll bring some sandwiches, and don’t forget to bring your favorite doll.”

When 2:00 arrived, Brette was waiting on Skye and Gypsy Girl.

“Your doll is funny-looking,” Brette blurted out.

“Well, yeah, sort of, but she’s my favorite and she is the sweetest doll ever,” Skye said sweetly but with an edge of defensiveness.

“I said she was ugly!” barked Brette. “Look at my doll. She’s wearing a beautiful pink dress and has beautiful dark curly hair with pretty dark skin. My doll is rich, but yours is only for poor dirty kids,” Brette screamed.

“I don’t think Gypsy Girl and I want to have a lunch with you anymore, so we’ll see you later,” Skye replied. Gypsy Girl was not happy with this new so-called friend.

“Oh, no, you don’t,” Brette screamed. “I am going to put you and that doll out of your misery.” The next thing that happened was simply awful. Brette jerked Gypsy Girl out of Skye’s arms and ripped the doll’s arm off. Skye jumped on top of Brette, grabbed the doll and the broken -off arm and began crying.

“You are so mean! I never want to play with you again,” Skye began crying really hard and ran home.

Once inside her house, Skye slammed her bedroom door and began sobbing so loudly that Mom and Bryson came running into her room.

“What happened?” they both asked.

“Brette ruined Gypsy Girl,” Skye cried. “Her arm has been ripped off and now she’s sad!”

“It’s okay,” Breanna told her. “I can fix her arm for her and she’ll be better than new.”

“You can?” asked Skye.

“She’ll be fine,” Bryson reassured Skye and Gypsy Girl.

That night Skye, Gypsy Girl with her new sewn-on arm, Bryson and Breanna had a delicious dinner. Breanna even served her hot chocolate brownies to make Gypsy Girl feel better.

For the next two years Gypsy Girl traveled with Skye to Florida to visit cousins, California to visit her grandmother and anytime she spent the night with one of her friends. Gypsy Girl had never been happier. However, lately Skye was spending more time at school and more time with her new friends, which meant Gypsy Girl was spending more and more time on the bed. Not that she minded because late at night Skye would grab Gypsy Girl and hold her tightly while she slept.

As the following school year approached, Skye began decorating her room to look like a teenager’s room. Gypsy Girl did not approve but of course said nothing. The next week after the room was painted, Skye kissed Gypsy Girl on the cheek and then shoved the doll back into the shoebox and placed it on a shelf in the closet. Even though she did not enjoy being in the closet, Gypsy Girl had all of her friends with her: the stuffed brown horse named Mr. Peabody, the beautiful ballerina doll who twirled for Gypsy Girl and frequently made her laugh, and the sweet stained teddy bear named Theodore were all placed in the closet. And of course the kindest but scariest looking one of them all, Bucky the Bull Dog. Even though Bucky was really kind with a huge heart, he had been hit a few times with an ‘ugly’ stick. He was a bulldog with huge two front teeth and had an ear missing. Gypsy Girl knew him well, and he was simply the nicest of all of the toys.

Every night, Mr. Peabody would listen for Skye’s deep breathing signaling she was asleep. Then the toys would bounce out of the closet and play all night long.

“Hey Gypsy Girl, watch me twirl,” the ballerina doll would say. Gypsy Girl and Bucky could watch her dance all night. Even though the toys weren’t as happy as they once were they were still all a family.

“Let’s go outside,” Bucky, the adventurous one would shout. “Let’s go chase some cats in the neighborhood and scare the daylights out of them.” Bucky would then chuckle because he would never really want to scare anyone. Gypsy Girl would laugh at her best friend because she knew he was all bark and no bite.

Night after night, the toys played until one day while Skye was working on her math homework after school, Breanna came into the room and asked her daughter a tough question.

“Skye, you don’t play with Gypsy Girl much any more. Would you mind if I took her to a new student that I have? The little girl’s name is Jade, and she and her mom are now homeless. They live in the homeless shelter and have nothing or no one. Jade is really sad right now and could use something to cheer her up. She is small for her age, has cute little freckles and bright red hair. She is the kindest child in my class, and I would really like to help her.”

Skye did not say anything for a long time. She realized that what her mother was saying was correct, but how could she give up her favorite doll?

“But, Mom, I love Gypsy Girl. She is my favorite doll ever!”

“I know, Skye, but when you truly help others, you give them something that is valuable to you. This is what it means to make a true sacrifice for someone else. Now do not let me talk you into something that you do not want to do. I’ll let you think about it.”

Mom walked away with her sweet smile and allowed Skye to think about it. Skye kept wondering why her mother did not just go to the store and buy another rag doll, but then she realized that she and her mother both knew in their hearts that there was something special about Gypsy Girl. She was not your average rag doll. Gypsy Girl brightened up everybody that she encountered. So Skye thought for a while and found her mother in the kitchen.

“Mom, I want to help Jade,” Skye beamed. Breanna grabbed her daughter and hugged her tightly.

“Remember Skye, if you love someone set them free, and if they come back they are yours to keep.”

Skye gently lifted Gypsy Girl out of the shoebox, gave her a big kiss and quickly placed her back into the shoebox before she changed her mind. As the lid was being placed over Gypsy Girl’s face, the doll saw a stream of tears drift down Skye’s lovely face.

After school the following day, Breanna called Jade up to her desk. Breanna was tutoring her after school before she went back to the shelter. Jade was relieved because the shelter was a lonely place. Every night she and her mother would huddle together at night on a bed while wrapping each other tightly in a warm blanket. They held each other even tighter when they would hear the screams or loud sounds of others in the shelter. However, as bad as the shelter could be at times, it was still better than living with Jade’s dad who was often scary to be around.

“Jade, are you finished writing your composition?” asked Breanna one day after school.

“Yes, I am finished,” Jade said with a large beautiful smile on her freckled face. Breanna told Jade that the freckles were angel kisses. She would laugh and giggle when Breanna teased her.

“Come here. I want to show you something.” So, Jade walked up to the desk and saw a black and white polka dotted leg hanging out of a shoebox.

“This was my daughter’s doll, Gypsy Girl, but she’s outgrown her, and I was wondering if you would take care of her for us? She needs someone who will love her and take good care of her. Are you interested?”

Jade looked into the shoebox and saw a beautiful rag doll smiling up at her. There is something special about this doll Jade thought. She needs me. She needs me to take care of her, and I will! I will take great care of her.

“I love her so much!” Jade squealed and then she grabbed Breanna around the neck and hugged her tightly.

Later that night, as Jade and her mother, Violet huddled together in the dark hall of the shelter, she felt less frightened and more hopeful when she held on to Gypsy Girl. Jade’s mother adored Gypsy Girl when she saw how happy she made her only daughter.

There was another lonely old woman named Helen that Jade allowed to hold Gypsy Girl. Helen was small, very old and had a gray bun planted on top of her head. Helen would smile broadly when the little girl would allow her to hold the doll. Jade trusted Helen and knew that Helen was old and lonely.

“Now, hide Gypsy Girl underneath all of our blankets when you are gone to school,” Violet reminded. “I don’t anyone to hurt her while we are gone during the day. I am looking for a job, and you’ll be at school, so let’s keep her safe, too.” So during the long days when Jade and Violet were at school or looking for work, Gypsy Girl hid underneath the blankets until she saw Jade’s sweet smiling face with all of her adorable freckles.

“Come on, Gypsy Girl. Let’s work on our multiplication tables,” Jade said.

Gypsy Girl missed Skye and her family something awful, but she grew to love Jade. The doll had so much joy and love in her heart because she was making a difference in Jade’s life. Jade really needed her.

As the days went by, Breanna began to notice a change in Jade. She was becoming friendlier with the other children and was beginning to make straight A’s on her report card. Violet, too, was happier.

“It’s amazing, Jade, how our lives became better one day when that adorable little rag doll came into our lives,” Violet said. “ You’re not going to believe this, but today I got a job and will be working as a teacher assistant at the school. I will be able to be home with you during holidays, and we are moving out of the shelter next week and into our own apartment.”

Jade and Violet were so happy that they took Gypsy Girl out to eat with them that night. They ate at their favorite restaurant, Barry’s Burgers. Gypsy Girl was happy for Jade and Violet.

The next week when Jade and Violet began packing up the few items that they had, Jade screamed.

“Mom, I can’t find Gypsy Girl!”

“Oh, no,” Violet cried. “Let me help you look for her.” Jade was about to cry when she looked over and saw Helen holding onto Gypsy Girl.

“Jade, can I hold her for a little while? They are taking me to a nursing home tomorrow, and when I picked up Gypsy Girl, I didn’t feel so sad.”

“Oh, sure Helen, hold her as long as you need,” Jade smiled sweetly. When Jade looked across the room at her mother, she knew in her heart what she should do.

“Helen, I want you to have Gypsy Girl. I am getting a little old now for her now, and I know that you’ll take care of her and keep her warm at night for me.”

Helen was so thrilled at the news that she threw her frail, wrinkled arms around Jade and hugged her as tightly as she could.

The next day Helen and Gypsy Girl went to Meadows Creek Nursing Home. For some reason Helen was not afraid when she held on to Gypsy Girl. She was actually happy to be at the nursing home once she got situated into her room. Helen had a nice roommate named Agnes.

“Can I hold your doll?” Agnes asked Helen.

“Sure. Her name is Gypsy Girl, and she is a fine doll indeed.”

The next several weeks Agnes and Helen took Gypsy Girl with them to eat with the others at the nursing home. Gypsy Girl became the mascot for all of the residents.

“Hello, Gypsy Girl,” Hank and Peter, two older men who lived at the nursing home would holler out.

“She says hello,” Helen would tease. The nurses and doctors joined in with the others and even gave Gypsy Girl a check-up. When the entertainment crew would come into the room to sing for the guest, Gypsy Girl would sit in either Helen or Agnes’ lap and would have the best time. However, Gypsy Girl continued to hurt in her heart for Skye and her doll friends, but she knew that Skye was growing up and would probably keep her in the top of her closet.

One day Gypsy Girl woke up in the chair and noticed that Helen had several people gathered around her. All of the doctors and nurses seemed sad, but when Gypsy Girl looked out in the hallway, she saw a very young and beautiful Helen. Helen seemed to glow and was wearing a beautiful lavender dress. Gypsy Girl winked at Helen, and saw Helen blow a kiss her way. Then Helen simply disappeared and went to heaven.

That night the cleaning crew began cleaning and stuffed Gypsy Girl into a bag with old sweaters and clothes.

“Wait a minute,” Agnes yelled. “Helen’s doll is in there!” However, the crew did not hear Agnes’ soft voice and Gypsy Girl was carried out with all of Helen’s clothes. She felt a ‘bump’ and then a car moving. For the first time in her life, Gypsy Girl was frightened and wondered what would happen to her now that Helen and the others were gone. The car ride was long, and after a few hours Gypsy Girl fell asleep.

When Gypsy Girl awoke, a lady was unpacking the clothes and found Gypsy Girl.

“What a unique rag doll you are! I know someone who might be interested in buying a doll like you.” So the woman took Gypsy Girl to a used doll factory and sold Gypsy Girl to the owner, Bill.

“I’ll take her!” Bill said with enthusiasm. “I don’t know what it is, but there is something special about this doll. I can see her name has been painted on her back pocket. It says, ‘Gypsy Girl’. I think I’ll put her in the window.” And so the toy salesman put Gypsy Girl inside of the window beside an old stuffed snake and a toy stove and oven. Gypsy Girl never felt alone.

Month after month Gypsy Girl waited for that special someone to come and take her out of the window, but no one ever came, until one day right before the store closed.

Gypsy Girl was dozing off with the sun setting and shining in her painted blue eyes when she heard the most beautiful voice that she had ever heard.

“I would like to purchase the beautiful doll in the window. How much does she cost?”

“Well, you see, she’s pretty special to me Little Girl and is worth a hundred dollars, but I’ll give her to you for ten,” Bill stated seeing the desperate need in the teenager’s eyes.

“Wait here! Do not sell her. I will be right back.”

Gypsy Girl waited but no one came back to pick her up and take her home.

The next morning, Gypsy Girl woke up to the happiest sound ever.

“I have your money, Sir. Now, I would really like to have the doll in the window.”

Bill took the money and reached into the window and placed Gypsy Girl into the arms of Skye.

“Gypsy Girl! I love you and will never let you go!” Skye cried while she hugged her tightly. And Skye never did.

It did not matter how Gypsy Girl entered into the world; it only mattered that she made a difference.

Twenty years later Skye was married on a Hawaiian beach with her husband Scott, Breanna and her new husband, Matt, Bryson, his wife, and Gypsy Girl as her maid-of-honor.

As Gypsy Girl watched Skye walking off as a beautiful bride arm-in-arm with her groom, she remembered what Breanna had said so many years ago, and she now knew that Breanna was right. When you love someone you set them free and if they come back, they are yours.

GYPSY GIRL And The Toy House

One day after school, when Skye was in the third grade, she, Gianna and Gypsy Girl were having a tea party in Skye’s room.

“Gypsy Girl, would you pass me the tea?” laughed Gianna.

“Why certainly,” Skye would answer for Gypsy Girl.

Gianna who was in the same grade level as Skye was Skye’s favorite cousin. Skye and Gypsy Girl both thought that Gianna was the most beautiful girl. She had long, dark beautiful braids, the prettiest smile and was the color of coffee with cream. Skye would tell Gianna the color of her beautiful skin because Gianna was blind.

Being blind did not stop Gianna from having a great life, however. She was learning to read Braille and would gently take Gypsy Girl’s hands to glide along the bumpy dots.

Breanna walked into the room and smiled at the girls.

“Girls, I wanted to ask you about something. What do you think about me cleaning out the backyard storage building and make an after school place for kids in our neighborhood? It’s fairly large for storage, and we never use it.”

Gypsy Girl was happy to hear that Breanna was going to open up an after school place for the children because many of them had to go home alone after school. Most parents were working until 6:00 at night, and this made Gypsy Girl sad when she would see them going into houses alone.

“I love the idea,” Gianna beamed.

“Me, too, and I want to help the younger ones with their homework,” Skye smiled.

“Well, then it is settled,” Breanna smiled.

The next week, Skye, Gianna, Breanna, Bryson and of course, Gypsy Girl and Bucky all helped to create a beautiful room for children to learn and to feel safe after school until their parents came home. Gianna and Skye painted the walls a beautiful color of yellow, so that it would look and feel like happiness.

“My vision teacher, Mrs. Smith taught me that,” Gianna beamed. “When she taught me colors, she taught me their meaning through my other sense. Yellow was happiness, the sunshine on my back, a yellow lemon drop, and lemonade.” The girls painted while Breanna brought in a large table and covered it with a beautiful yellow and blue plastic tablecloth.

“We are going to need a plastic tablecloth because we’ll be doing several creative projects,” Breanna told the girls and Bucky.

Bucky was so happy to watch the old storage being turned into a beautiful place for the children to come to in the neighborhood. He looked over at Gypsy Girl and when no one was watching, he and Gypsy Girl gave each other a high-five.

When the room was complete, it was simply the prettiest room. Gypsy Girl and Bucky, Mr. Peabody and Maddy would all be a part of the ‘special’ place for children.

The yellow room had beautiful colorful flowers painted all over it. Bryson was a talented artist and when he painted flowers on the wall, it looked like live flowers in all colors: red, yellow, pink, green, purple, orange and blue. Bryson demonstrated to Gianna the colors by letting her smell of scented markers the colors of the flowers. There were also beautiful dark blue shelves that Breanna put together that were filled with books, puzzles, stuffed animals, and games galore. Except for Gypsy Girl and Bucky, the other animals were placed in a closet where it was nice and warm.

"Here, let me cover them up, so that they will stay warm,” Gianna smiled. Gianna used her cane and walk to where the animals were sleeping. The toys felt excited, and were waiting on the children to come to the toy house and play.

The parents in the neighborhood were so happy that their children would not be going home alone. Before the end of the day, Breanna had four children who would begin to come to the Toy House every day after school.

Since Breanna was a schoolteacher at the elementary school in the neighborhood, the principal allowed her to leave a few minutes early, so that Breanna could be waiting on the children when school was out.

The following Monday, Sam, Jared, Elle and Brette came to The Toy House. Sam was the smallest little one with red hair, a cute freckled face. However, he seemed to be unhappy most of the time. Jared had beautiful dark skin and was simply the smartest child that Breanna had ever taught. The two girls who would be coming to the Toy House were Elle and Brette. Elle was always the class clown and both the children and adults loved this brown haired blue- eyed girl. Brette was much harder to understand. With her beautiful dark hair, olive skin and dark eyes, she was pretty to look at, but no one knew what her smile was like simply because she never smiled.

“Wow,” Elle yelled. “This is the coolest place ever!”

“I know,” Jared screamed. “I can’t wait to play!” “I’m so happy everyone likes the house, but first, let’s finish any homework before we begin playing,” Breanna smiled.

Gianna, Skye and Bryson helped the younger students with their homework, and if they were finished with their homework, they worked on their reading, writing and math skills. Gianna would read from her Braille book while Elle would read print from the same reader. This was an easy thing to do because the two girls were in the same class at school. Bryson was really good at math, so he and Sam worked on adding and subtracting numbers while Skye and Brette worked together on their writing skills.

After the children worked for an hour, Breanna passed out delicious cookies that were coated with frosting.

“Kids, from now on our snacks will be healthier, but I thought that we would celebrate our first day together.”

Bucky was sitting in a really colorful beanbag chair that was blue, purple, green and pink. He was very comfortable in the chair although he did not like the color pink and tried to sit on the far side of the ‘girl’ color. Gypsy Girl was sitting on the ‘pink’ side of the beanbag chair.

Gypsy Girl and Bucky both noticed that Brette and Sam seemed sad and mad most of the time, but while Breanna was kind to the children, she could also be firm when she needed to be.

Brette was the little girl who once tore Gypsy Girl’s arm off, but Gypsy Girl forgave her and they were now friends.

“Brette, let’s share,” Breanna would say when Brette would grab more than her share of the cookies.

Bucky was also worried about Sam. Sam loved Bucky and would squeeze him tightly. Bucky felt so loved when he received one of the squeezes from Sam, but he also knew that Sam was frightened most of the time.

“Breanna, Sam and Brette need more love,” Gianna said one day.

“What makes you think that?” Breanna asked.

“I just know. Can you make them a Bucky and Gypsy Girl, so that they can hold on to someone at night, too?”

“Great idea, Gianna. I can create small toys that we can call Cuddely’s, so that the children can have their own Bucky and Gypsy Girl toy.”

Gypsy Girl and Bucky were so happy with this idea. Children needed toys and the toys needed them, so Breanna went to work and created the pancake dolls called Cuddely’s.

The following Tuesday after the children worked on their homework, Emily asked Breanna what she had in the bag.

“Because you all have been working so hard, I have made you your own toy to take home.” When the children saw the toys, they began to clap, yell and laugh.

“It’s my own Bucky!” Sam screamed.

“What are you going to name him?” Breanna asked.

“I am going to name him something strong like Spike.”

“I like that name.” Breanna said with a smile.

“I am naming my toy, Dimples,” laughed Brette. “See her pretty dimples. She has dimples just like you, Gianna.”

The ‘Cuddely’’s were small replicas of Bucky and Gypsy Girl, but they had different colored hair, eyes, and skin, so that everyone’s new friend would be different. Breanna knew that children were the best to appreciate differences in others.

Brette’s toy was the most beautiful in her eyes. She had lovely dark hair and great big brown eyes, just like Brette’s. Brette decided on the name Rosy Dimples because of the dolls red rosy cheeks and dimples.

At the end of the day, when all of the children had gone home, Gianna got her cane from the hook, and Skye and Breanna walked her home. It was only three doors down, so Skye and Breanna were back home within five minutes.

After they dropped off Gianna at her house Skye asked, “Mom, wants wrong with the clouds?” The sky had quickly turned from a dark blue to a scary green color.

“Bad weather is on its way. We better go outside and cover the Toy House in case the weather gets really bad. It looks like it could be a really bad rain storm.” So, Skye, Bryson and Mom covered the tiny schoolhouse in blue plastic and quickly went indoors.

Sure enough, an hour later, the wind and rain began to blow extremely hard. Skye, Breanna and Bryson jumped into the storage closet with blankets, a radio, candles, and of course, Gypsy Girl and Bucky.

The family huddled together and waited on the big storm to pass. In the meantime, they told funny stories to make each other laugh. Gypsy Girl and Bucky felt Skye squeeze them until they were barely able to breathe.

The next morning after the storm had passed, Breanna, Skye, and Bryson looked at the Toy House, and Skye began to cry.

Gypsy Girl heard Skye cry and felt so sad, but when she looked outside at the Toy House she felt a large lump form in her throat. The Toy House had been destroyed.

“Oh, no!” Skye yelled. “What about the children who come here after school? They are going to be sad.” Bryson held on to Skye while they looked at the broken up wood that was once the Toy House.

Gypsy Girl and Bucky were worried about the toys that were left in the closet of the Toy House, but the toys were safe after all. Gypsy Girl was so happy to see Mr. Peabody, Maddy and all of the toys that were left in the closet were safe, and it was all because Gianna covered them up with blankets.

“We can sit here and cry, or we can push up our sleeves and work to rebuild the house,” Breanna said simply.

So Gianna, Breanna, Skye, Bryson and many neighbors came to help rebuilt the Toy House, but this time, the Toy House was even bigger and nicer. Mr. Bailey who built houses came with a small crew of men and women and rebuilt the Toy House.

It was now painted to look like a schoolroom. They even put in a huge dry erase board, maps, and replaced all of the books from the storm. It was painted red, green, white, purple and yellow. There were beautiful new toys that the neighbors brought to the children all over the room.

Gypsy Girl couldn’t help but laugh when Skye, kissed Bucky and placed him in the nice PINK beanbag chair. Bucky after all, was not a fan of the color pink.

“See, Skye, Gianna and Bryson. Good things can come from really bad events. You just need to keep believing that everything will get better.”

The next Monday the children were so happy to see the new Toy House. Brette walked into the room holding Rosy Dimples and smiled. Sam came in with Spike and showed him around the new Toy House.

Gypsy Girl knew that when something bad happens then something good is right around the corner.

Gypsy Girl in “The Snow Day”

One day when Gypsy Girl and Skye woke up after a long night’s sleep, Skye began screaming. “Mom, Bryson, look outside! It’s snowing!” Skye was so excited that she grabbed Gypsy Girl and ran to the window. Gypsy Girl could not believe her eyes. The entire ground, trees and rooftops were all covered with beautiful white snow.

Skye grabbed Bucky from the beanbag chair and ran into the kitchen where Breanna and Bryson were sitting down at the table and eating their eggs and toast.

“Good news, Skye,” Bryson began. “Other than the snow that you were yelling about, we do not have school today. It’s been canceled because of the snow.” Skye was so excited that she ran to her room and grabbed her coat, gloves, hat and scarf, and then put on her long socks and rubber rain boots that were decorated with pink hearts. Gypsy Girl and Bucky were thrown on the bed and out ran Skye to play with her friends outside.

Mr. Peabody, the stuffed brown horse, watched closely to make sure Skye really went outside to throw snowballs and make a snowman in the snow before he told all of the toys to come out and play. Once he gave the okay, the toys leaped out of the closet and out from under the bed.

“Gypsy Girl, let’s watch the kids play by looking at them through the window,” Molly, the ballerina doll suggested.

“I want to go outside and throw snowballs,” laughed Bucky. Gypsy Girl was in agreement with Molly because she thought Bucky would be able to throw a really hard snowball. Mr. Peabody, Gypsy Girl, Bucky, Molly, the ballerina doll and a toy snake named Cecil all watched Skye, Bryson and Breanna make the cutest snowman. Since there was a pond behind Skye’s house, the family dressed the snowman in a man’s bathing suit, with sunglasses and a cap on his head and named him Sammy.

Gypsy Girl screamed for everyone to duck down when she saw Skye look towards the window and squint her eyes. Gypsy Girl thought Skye saw the toys peering out the window.

“Hurry, everyone back to your place,” screamed Mr. Peabody. “Skye is coming in!” The toys jumped back into the closet and Gypsy Girl and Bucky took their place on the bed. Gypsy Girl could hear Skye enter the bedroom.

“Something is going on here, Gypsy Girl. I put you on the left side of the bed and Bucky on the right. Now why are you on the right side and he’s on the left.

Oops, thought Gypsy Girl, but of course, she simply looked at Skye with her crooked smile and said nothing. Bucky started to say something until Gypsy Girl shook her head no at him, so he closed his mouth.

“Come on, Skye,” Breanna yelled while she was coming through the door back inside of the house. “I want you to try something delicious. It’s called Snow ice cream.”

“Yummy!” Skye screamed and once again dropped the toys on the bed and ran out of the room.

Gypsy Girl and Bucky decided not to wake the toys in the closet because earlier they were almost caught being alive.

Bucky and Gypsy Girl gazed outside the window at the beautiful white and cold snow when they saw the snowman named Sammy frown.

“I can hear him saying something,” Bucky said. After all, Bucky’s one good ear could hear almost anything from miles away. Gypsy Girl looked out the window and Sammy was yelling at them.

“Skye is my family now! You and the other toys are history,” screamed Sammy at Gypsy Girl and Bucky.

“You don’t scare us,” Bucky barked. He did scare Gypsy Girl but she said nothing.

“Hey, One Ear and Ugly,” he yelled talking to Gypsy Girl and Bucky. “Come out here in the snow, and I’ll show you who is boss.”

Gypsy Girl wanted to ignore him, but Bucky did not.

“I’ll come out there when I am ready,” barked Bucky. Bucky turned to say something to Gypsy Girl, and when he looked back Sammy was right in the window staring them down and only a few inches away from the window.

Gypsy Girl wanted to scream but didn’t. Bucky was so frightened that he fell off the windowsill.

“Mom, the snow is falling really hard now,” Skye screamed from the other room. “I am going out to check on Sammy. He is so cute.” When Gypsy Girl looked back, Sammy was back in his place wearing a fake smile and holding a beach towel that Bryson placed in his hands.

Gypsy Girl was mad and then jealous. Why couldn’t Skye see that Sammy was mean? Why did Skye want to play with Sammy? As Gypsy Girl was asking herself these questions, Bucky came up with a great idea on how to teach Sammy a lesson. However, he had to wait until late tonight while Skye, Breanna and Bryson slept.

Later that night when Skye’s family was asleep, Bucky called the toys out of the closet and told them his plan. The next thing Gypsy Girl knew the toys were all walking outside and into the five -inch snow.

"Brrr,” Molly said. “I am wearing a ballerina costume and I am freezing.” Since Gypsy Girl was made from cloth, her feet were getting cold and a little wet from the snow. Crunch, crunch, crunch. The snow was making its own music as the toys approached Sammy.

"Well, look who is here,” Sammy laughed. “The toy parade from the Dime Store.”

Sammy and all of the newly created snowmen and women began laughing at the toys and gathering around them like a pile of ants to sugar.

“Bark, bark, bark,” Bucky screamed while the snow people continued to laugh.

“SSSssssssssssss,” Cecil tried to coil around the snow people and scare them off, but they only laughed harder.

The toys were greatly surprised when Gypsy Girl took off her bandana and waved it around like a flag. She began running toward the pond. The snow people began to follow her closely, so the other toys ran behind the snow people to help Gypsy Girl.

When Gypsy Girl got to the pond, she leapt high in the air, and she landed on piece of floating wood in the water. The snow people followed her into the water, and they all began to melt. Gypsy Girl remembered her science lesson that Skye taught her. Water comes in three forms: water, solid and air. Gypsy Girl remembered that when water is frozen it is a solid just like Sammy and the snow people but when it warms up, it melts and turns back to water.

“You don’t scare me,” Bucky barked as he watched Sammy slowing melting. Bucky saw Sammy’s frown and then he watched Sammy become nothing more than a piece of floating ice the size of an ice cube.

“Let’s hurry back to the closet,” screamed Mr. Peabody, and the toys did. Skye rolled over when Gypsy Girl was back in the bed.

“Why are your feet wet?” Skye wondered aloud. Gypsy Girl continued to smile with her crooked smile and said nothing.

The next morning when Skye and Bryson looked outside the window to check on the snowmen they noticed they were gone.

“What happened to our snowman, Sammy?” Skye wanted to know.

Breanna began to explain to her young daughter, “Skye, look up behind the clouds. Do you see the sun? The temperature is warming and so the snow is beginning to melt. Look, I see Sammy’s hat floating in the pond. Now, how did it get way over there?”

“But, Mom, I am going to miss Sammy,” Skye moaned.

Gypsy Girl and Bucky could not help but smile as they listened in on the conversation about Sammy.

“Don’t worry, Skye. Sammy will be back. It’s suppose to start snowing again Saturday.”

Bucky and Gypsy Girl looked over at each other. Bucky quickly pulled the shades down in Skye’s room. Even though Gypsy Girl was not happy to hear that there was more snow in the forecast, she could always count on the sun to shine and make everything good once again.

Gypsy Girl Activities

Gypsy Girl brings happiness to those around her. While her life began from a toymaker’s anger, to the trashcan before she was discovered by a loving and caring school teacher, Gypsy Girl keeps believing that everything turns out for the good.

Gypsy Girl and Bucky would love for children to complete the following activities. Their only rule is that kids have fun and use their imaginations to create a better world.

  • Illustrate the main characters from the story: Gypsy Girl, Bucky, Breanna, Skye and Bryson. Who is your favorite character? Explain why?
  • Do you believe that all things will turn out well? Write down examples of when something bad turned into something good.
  • Puppet Fun- Take construction and Manila paper, ice cream sticks, colors, glue and scissors. Make your own characters from Gypsy Girl, summarize the story and give a puppet show to younger children.
  • The Toy House was a wonderful place for children. Design your own Toy House from a shoebox. Fill the room up with items. Make children want to come to your afterschool house.
  • Make a map of Gypsy Girl’s travels from the first story. Illustrate how she was born and how she travels from person-to-person.
  • Breanna is a loving schoolteacher. Write a paragraph about your favorite teacher. Illustrate her/his picture.
  • Gypsy Girl and Bucky appreciate differences in others. Cut out pictures of people who are different in color, size and shapes. Make a fun ‘people’ collage.
  • Write a letter to the toymaker, Albert. Tell him about Gypsy Girl and her adventures.
  • Appreciating differences in others helps to appreciate our own differences. Children who cannot see use Braille to read and write. Louis Braille who was also blind created this great code for the blind and visually impaired. Go to the following website and learn the Braille alphabet. (http://www.braillebug.com)
  • People who cannot hear are deaf or hearing impaired. Sign language is the beautiful language of the hands. Search the internet, and learn the sign language alphabet.
  • I found the greatest website for kids called Simple Kid Recipes. Make a treat for a Bucky the Bulldog. Follow the simple recipe below and give it to your favorite dog.
    Homemade Dog Treats

    Here's what you'll need:

    • 2 cups oats
    • 2 cups wheat bran
    • 1 cup cooked liver
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    • 4 eggs

    Here's what to do:

    1. Mix everything together and stir well.
    2. Get one spoonful at a time and slide onto a greased cookie sheet with a dull knife like you're making cookies.
    3. Drop them about 1 inch apart. Shape with your hand or press down with the spoon.
    4. Bake in a 350F degree oven for 10-15 minutes until the treats are browned.

    Your dog will love these!

  • Gypsy Girl loves to make others happy. Write a letter to someone that you feel needs a smile. Illustrate your letters with colorful pictures.
  • Breanna gives the children in her afterschool program a delicious cookie treat. Spread your favorite type of frosting on a large sugar cookie. Decorate your cookie with sprinkles, raisins, and other yummy treats.
  • Gypsy Girl and Bucky are worried about their toy friends who are outside in the schoolhouse during a thunderstorm. Watch and record the weather for a week. How much does the weather change from day-to-day?
  • Go to utube and watch Severe Storm Steve, a fourth grader who is blind and loves to inform his school about the weekly weather.
  • Read Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by . Have children to write their own story where food becomes the weather.
  • Helen and Agnes were two old ladies who lived in a nursing home. Gypsy Girl brightened up their lives with her beautiful crooked smile. Visit someone who lives in a nursing home. Make them a ‘happy’ card, take them something good to eat, and give them a big hug.
  • Decorate a sack for children who live in a homeless or women’s shelter. Use paint, sparkles, stickers, etc. Be creative! Use toys from Happy Meals and place them in the sack. You will brighten up a child’s life.
  • Breanna made Brownies to make Gypsy Girl and Skye feel better after Gypsy Girl’s arm was ripped off. Serve a plate of Brownies to someone who has a bad day and cheer them up.
  • Make a healthy menu of snacks for Breanna to serve the children Monday-Friday.
  • Breanna, Skye and Bryson eat Snow ice cream. Follow this simple recipe for this delicious treat.

    Here's what you'll need:

    • 1 gallon snow
    • 1 cup white sugar
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    • 2 cups milk

    Here's what to do:

    1. When it starts to snow, place a large, clean bowl outside to collect the flakes.
    2. When full, stir in sugar and vanilla to taste, then stir in just enough milk for the desired consistency.
    3. Serve at once. Yummy!
  • On a snowy day make your own collection of snow people. Give them names and dress them in fun and creative ways.
  • Make a beautiful snow scene. Simply take a long piece of glass, decorate it with aerosol snow or shaving cream. Add plastic trees and toy people to your snow scene.
  • On a wooden floor, take off your shoes, and skate around in your skates. You can have your own ice skating rink.
  • Gypsy Girl and her friends seek to make a difference in the lives of others. Do an internet search and look for ways to help other children in your community.
  • Read the wonderful story, The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats.
  • Sing the following song although I do not think that you would hear Gypsy Girl and her friends singing it. Gather children from the neighborhood and have a snow band. Have fun with various types of instruments.

    You Are My Snowman 
(Tune: You Are My Sunshine)

    You are my snowman, 
My only snowman. 
You make me happy, 
On days of gray. 
And when the sun's out, 
You'll hear us all shout. 
Please don't take our snowman away!
    ~ Author Unknown

  • Take a glue stick and spread it all over a large sheet of Manila paper. Sprinkle white rice all over the paper. You have created your own snow scene.
  • Search the internet and look for places around the world that has the most snowfall. Make a graph and compare the top five places with most snow.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading about Gypsy Girl and her friends. Gypsy Girl wants everyone to know that it doesn’t matter where you come from, it only matters where you are going. She also wants to teach that the best way to be happy is to do as much as you can for others. This is the way to true happiness, according to Gypsy Girl, Bucky, and her friends.

Gypsy Girl was found in a trashcan (only inches away from old French fries and ketchup) yet she made a difference in the lives of every one she met.

Look around and see how you can make a difference in other people's lives. You will find that you will never want for a friend, and will find happiness in helping others.

As Gypsy Girl has proven, there is plenty of love for everyone.

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