One evening down at Mercy Manor,
I was visiting and making my rounds,
when just behind me I heard a voice
and some all-familiar sounds.
I felt a gentle tug on my hand
as a sweet old lady called out,
“Hey Mister, Mister, my name's Kate."
So quickly I turned about.
As I did, my eyes fell upon
a crippled lady in a wheelchair.
"Sir, have you seen my Raggedy Ann?"
she said, stroking her silver hair.
"No ma’am I haven't seen her,
but I'll come back in a day or so;
and should I find your precious doll,
I'll be sure to let you know."
I left that place feeling sadness
For old folk deserted and alone.
I thought of Kate and her dolly;
My heart ached to the very bone.
So, I bought a Raggedy Ann
and returned back to that place,
for I want to give it to Kate
and see the look on her face!
I drove to Mercy Manor, my
anticipation was in full bloom;
I located the unit supervisor
for directions to Kate’s room.
When I spoke, her demeanor changed,
as if I had said something wrong;
she stepped over to her office,
motioned for me to come along.
"Forgive me mister," she said gravely,
"but, if you've got a minute or two,
I'll get you a chair and we'll sit a spell,
and I'll share Kate’s story with you."
I stepped in and took the chair
as she sat down and calmly began.
Then, for the next hour she told the story
of Kate and her Raggedy Anne.
"It happens usually late at night,
while residents are sleeping sound;
although the halls are deserted,
a wheelchair can be heard moving around.
Some swear they’ve heard feet shuffling,
as rubber scrubs on a metal rim;
then, slight wheezy breathing in places
where the unit’s hall light's dim.
Rumor has it Kate was left here,
many long years ago.
Seems her kids wouldn't take her in;
she had no place else to go.
Her family had all deserted her;
her loneliness she could not hide.
All she had was a Raggedy Ann,
that she kept close by her side.
Often, sadness would overwhelm her,
and night after night she would cry.
Some of the staff would cruelly tell her
they secretly hoped she would die.
Then, to punish her for crying,
her precious dolly they'd hide;
until late one night, her crying ceased,
as in loneliness Kate finally died.
That night her dolly was missing,
and her pillow was soaked from tears.
Kate never found her Ragged Anne,
the dolly she’d held all those years.
Her body was prepared for burial
and laid to rest in a cemetery near.
They say her hands were reaching,
Still longing for her dolly dear.
Sometimes, the residents can see her,
for they smile, mumbling her name.
You’d think they're talking to themselves
or playing some silly game.
They say Kate still wanders the halls,
searching for her sweet Raggedy Ann;
and on occasion, some visitor will swear
that she was seen in the hallway again.
"Sir, there's no one here by that name,"
she said to me, rather teary eyed.
“You see, it's been over thirty five years
since the old lady named Kate died.
She stood up and took me for a walk,
as room after room we went in;
and there on each resident’s shelf,
they all had their own Raggedy Anne.
For you see, Sir, you’re not the only one
who was moved by Kate’s sad plea;
countless visitors have also returned
and brought all these dolls that you see.
I thanked God as I headed home,
for somehow I was a different man.
My eyes had been opened by this story
of lonely Kate and her Raggedy Anne.
Written by Loyd C Taylor, September 2008