A Doll’s Rocking Chair

WHO: Ainu Laas

RESIDENT OF: Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada

WHAT: A Doll’s Rocking Chair


WHEN: 1943

This small rocking chair was the constant companion of Ainu’s favourite doll. Ainu was my grandmother.

When the family packed everything to scape the soviet occupation of Estonia they left the Town of Kasepää with as much of their belongings as they could carry and headed north towards Sweden.

The journey was a disaster and almost two months later, after much resettling, they embarked for Halifax. The little Ainu only cared for her doll with the blue dress. The doll always sat by the porch on the special rocking chair her grandfather had made for her when she turned 5 years old. And both the doll and the chair made the trip with Ainu.

The family settled near one of the potash mines west of Regina and Ainu grew to be a nurse, a midwife with a knack for difficult deliveries. She married and had three children.

On many a family gathering we marveled at the old ragged doll with the blue dress and the pony tails sitting by the porch on a discoloured and fragile rocking chair staring east. Grandma said that she was gazing in the direction of her beloved Estonia preserving the memories. And she would spin stories that we all thought were far too detailed for one whom had left so young.

When Ainu passed away most of her belongings were given away, some ended up with us. When we were throwing away the things no one had taken we realized that the doll was gone and my brother took the old rocking chair to the curb for the waste truck to dispose of. When I saw it I couldn’t part with the fact that it had accompanied my grandmother all of her life except for 5 years and realized how much it meant to her, how closely it witnessed her growing up and how she held onto her dreams. I could not let it part with our family. Now when I see it in the garden it reminds me of grandma and my heritage.


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