As told by Maureen
Gertrude Gretchen lives in an abandoned wood duck house that sits by the edge of the pond where the marsh flowers grow. She has a habit of stopping by my studio to chat with me. She is most talkative on those rare July mornings when she and I both happen to arrive at the door at the same time. If the glow of the morning sun streaming through my east window is bright enough to illuminate my overloaded work space she will even come inside. (Gertrude Gretchen doesn't like electric lights.) At that time of day, in July at least, she is on her way to my front garden where she gathers the little nubbins of end-of-the-season strawberries - too small for me to bother picking. These she takes back to her house to mash with honey and spread on her morning bread.
Gertrude Gretchen has a collection of dolls, which may be why we've become such friends, for doll making is part of what I do as a profession. I wish I were small enough to go visit her in the wood duck house for she tells me that she has 437 dolls in there. Some are from a time before there were any blacktop roads snaking across these fields, from a time when the only trails were made by animals or humans who wore moccasins. These she treasures most.
I've known Gertrude Gretchen for seven years now and she looks the same as the day we met. She has the manner of humans who are around the age of thirteen - energetic and exuberant, happy one moment and sad the next, brash and curious. She's intelligent but not always sensible, which seems to get her into an extraordinary amount of trouble. She tends to be stubborn to the point of foolishness, yet this very stubbornness gives her a charming aura of independence and capability that keeps me intrigued and delighted at each of our meetings.
Now, through the magic of imagination, she brings her boundless enthusiasm to your life as well.
1993, 2006 by Maureen Carlson