The Racketty-Packetty House
Week of July 28, 2008

Block 10:

Cynthia has decided that the Tidy Castle family will be very sick with scarlet fever. It broke out in the night and she undressed them all and put them to bed and gave them medicine. She could not find Lady Patsy so she escaped the contagion. Cynthia played nearly all day and the family members became sicker and sicker. By night they were delirious and had strong mustard plasters on their chests. Then Cynthia leaves them to their fate.

During the night Meg and Peg hear a noise. Lady Patsy realizes it is coming from the Castle and knows Cynthia has left the family raving in delirium. The entire Racketty-Packetty family ran over to the castle. Ridiklis took charge because she knew the most about illness. Gustibus wakened the servants and Ridiklis ordered hot water, cold water, ice, brandy and poultices. She took off the mustard plasters that were causing blistering and pain, gave gruel, broth, cough syrup, castor oil and ipecacuanha to the Castle dolls. The Racketty-Packetty dolls massaged, soothed, patted, and put wet clothes on the Castle dolls heads until the fever was gone and they all lay back on their pillows pale and weak but smiling faintly at every Racketty-Packetty they saw, instead of turning up their noses and scorning them.


Cynthia has quite an imagination. I don’t recall ever giving my dolls scarlet fever. I’m not even sure I pretended they were sick, but then again, I must have. Cynthia noticed Lady Patsy was gone but didn’t seem to care.

The Racketty-Packetty family is so caring of the Tidy Castle folks. I don’t think they have a mean bone in their little bodies. They can’t get to the Castle fast enough to help the family. I’m sure if the shoe had been on the other foot, the Castle folk would not have lifted a finger to help the Racketty-Packetty family. They would have quarantined the house and not let anyone near it for fear of getting sick.

My dolls, like Cynthia's, were often sick but not with scarlet fever. Colds and broken bones were the worst. My brother liked to be the doctor. The Racketty-Packetty house people are so kind they are winning over the Castle people by kindness.


I remember getting in so much trouble when I was about 6 because my girlfriend had gone into her mom's dresser and taken two phonograph needles. We thought they looked like shots, and we gave all our dolls shots. So they had pin holes in their bottoms. What we really got into trouble for was 'stealing' the needles.


My sister and I had a teddy bear that had a red dot of ink on its chest--we often pretended he had a bullet wound! My grandma taught us how to make paper nurse caps, so we played sick a lot. Of course, I was always Nurse Jessie, from General Hospital.

I doubt the Castle folk would have done any more than lock their doors against the sick RP family had the tables been turned. It was a good lesson to them, when the RP family came galloping to the rescue, and nursed them to health.

The Racketty-Packetty family is just warm and loving to everyone. It does not occur to them not to help when needed. My paper caps were made of the waxed inside paper of Jello boxes. They worked great.

When my youngest sister had the German measles she wanted a doll with measles and Mom wouldn't let us "ruin" any we had by using crayons on them like she wanted. So my first cloth-doll-making experience at about age 12 was to go through mom's scrap bag and get the white with red polka dot scrap and make a doll, and I dressed it in pj's from scraps from her own pjs. Once she got it, the doll wasn't out of her arms for as long as she was sick. Twenty-five years ago she asked me if I could fix Mary Margaret Measles' hair - I didn't even know she had kept the doll for all those years! My sister was going to put her in an exhibit of "My Favorite Toys" and wanted the hair fixed. I just had to comb it carefully and re-braid, she really had taken good care of it. Her sons got to cuddle the doll when they were sick in bed but otherwise the doll still resides on a chest.

That's a nice story. Being a sucker for rag dolls, I would love to see a picture of Mary Margaret Measles sometime!

In the Raggedy Ann books, when Marcella plays that the dolls are sick she says they have the epizoodix. I always liked that!