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Fit for a Prince 1

Freda Isaksen

When I left the factory I knew I was beautiful. I had looked around at the other baby carriages and none of them could compare to me. I was made of white leatherette with an embossed pattern all around that looked like swirls of flying balls. My interior was padded so that as a baby moved around it would not encounter any hardness that could injure it. My exterior was trimmed with bright shiny chrome and my wheels were made with ball-bearings so that the baby’s ride would be smooth. I knew that I was something superior and designed to belong to a discriminating family with a very lovely baby and a nurse to care for it and push me about. As they loaded me onto the delivery truck I sneered at the others left behind because I knew that my destination would be superior to theirs. When the truck stopped I was placed into a showroom with other baby carriages. I was put into the front of the store and could see my reflection in the window so I could admire myself all day long as I saw passers-by stop to look at me. As customers came into the store many of them approached me, smiled then reluctantly turned away to the less attractive buggies, so I waited for what I was sure would be that special buyer who I would recognize immediately by the affluent appearance.

One day two shabbily dressed men came into the store and after looking around they stopped and examined me. With disdain in my glance I saw their cracked shoes and goodness gracious there was a hole in the sole of one shoe and newspaper covering it. The men beckoned the sales person and obviously made a determination to purchase me. Well, I thought, this is not the type of person I was expecting to appreciate my beauty. These men are probably some hired help sent to buy a baby carriage for the new heir of a prominent family.

Once again I was loaded onto a truck and driven through the streets. I was expecting to come to a beautiful abode or even a castle where I would fit in and be appreciated by the owners. As I was unloaded I looked around and could not believe that this would be my final destination. I was pushed into an old apartment house, carried up some worn steps, I noticed they were clean, and into a narrow hallway. Immediately a group of people came running, exclaiming, “Ooh, ah, it’s gorgeous.” But their accent was a little strange. Who are these people? Why am I here? Then the mother approached me carrying the baby, I knew he was a boy because he wore a blue sleeper. She handed the baby to the man who had purchased me and with tears in her eyes she placed a sheet, a pillow and a blanket in my beautiful interior. They were just plain, practical articles, no frills or bows or fancy adornments that I had anticipated, but love as they placed the baby in its very own place. Why have I come here? They obviously appreciate and understand the fine qualities that I am made of but why have I come to such a home that is deprived of all luxury? I must listen and learn the reason.

So the days and weeks passed and I did learn of their predicament, how because of war this family had lost their home and their country and come to live in a foreign place amongst strangers.

So I became the comfort and the beauty for the beloved baby boy and carried him on his daily outings, pushed by his mother or father. I heard the conversations about the family’s difficult existence and sorrowed with them as they heard the war news and how it affected their own country and I ached with them about the tragedy of the murders of those relatives and friends left behind.

Until the day that I heard that the parents of my baby boy would leave their present home and seek their future in yet another country. If a manufactured object could shed tears I would have cried at the thought that I would be abandoned, my beauty no longer new, I would be a second hand used baby carriage. I watched preparations being made for their departure, suitcases packed and tearful adieus taking place when the day came for their departure. I stood alone with my own loss.

I closed off my thoughts when I saw them open the door to the apartment carrying the baby boy in his mother’s arms. I took my last glimpse of him, he was snugly dressed for winter weather, zipped into a bag which covered all but his little round face. I thought that at least he does not know of our separation as I am left behind.

But then I opened my eyes in amazement as the father lifted me, carried me down the stairs and as he placed me into the trunk of the taxi he said, “We are going to America!”

Footnotes

  1. For the context of this story, see Freda’s Autobiography.


Copyright Freda Isaksen 1986–2006. Permission to reuse for non-commercial purposes is granted, provided that the text is unaltered and the original source is acknowledged. For more information, contact isaksen at math.wayne.edu.

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