Be sure to have a tissue box handy when you read the story and watch the videos at the following link from Autism Speaks, a charitable organization with an office in New York City.
Hey there Delilah,
I was so excited when I found out Clawdeen had turned up to visit me for a couple of days in Christchurch, New Zealand. I had to go and collect her in the car.
I told her that we had to go back to my house for a bit so I could hang out some clothes on the washing line. I don’t think she was too impressed to start with, because she stayed in the car. But, she eventually came to have a look because she wasn’t too sure what I meant when I was talking about it… so she thought she would come and investigate. She was surprised to see clothes hanging outside and was intrigued by the pegs that were holding the clothes onto the line. She did decide that it was a little bit boring, so she went to investigate the rest of the backyard. She peeked through a hole in the fence and met Floss the cat who thought Clawdeen was rather cute!
Once I had finished the laundry, we got back into the car and went for a drive around Christchurch. I thought it would be great for Clawdeen to see some of the city that I call home. We went to the Botanic Gardens which are in the centre of the city. Clawdeen thought that the flowers she saw were beautiful and that it was a great place for hiding! She was very sneaky! She found several purple flowers and especially took a liking to one that looked like a pompom. I showed her a branch of a tree that is a bit like a swing. So many people have sat on the branch that the bark has been worn off and it is smooth and shiny. She lay on it and wanted a swing. Near the end of our walk she spotted a fountain and was quite keen to have a look at it. It is called the ‘Peacock Fountain’ named after a man who gave the city money. It was built in 1911.
After the Botanic Gardens we headed into the Museum. We were walking through quietly and I was explaining things to Clawdeen when I realised she wasn’t next to me! She had managed to find an exhibition of street art and was enjoying the display. She said she remembered how your Mum had taken a photo for the ‘Photo-a-Day’ challenge and she was hoping that you might be there because you had suggested the street art idea to your mum. We chatted about how far away Christchurch is from Brooklyn and she understood why you weren’t there. She did enjoy looking at the artwork that was on display.
We then went into the Cathedral Square to have a look at some more flower displays. There was a Festival of Flowers on and there was a huge variety to look at. We saw a kiwi bird made out of a plant! I told Clawdeen that the kiwi is a bird native to New Zealand and that it is very special. She asked about the elephant and whether that was special to New Zealand as well. I had to tell her that it wasn’t. She did laugh at the cars that had plants growing in them and looked super carefully in the little houses to see whether anybody was living in them. She wasn’t too sure.
When we were in the Square, Clawdeen asked about the Cathedral and why it was not open for people to go into. I told her that there was a new cathedral in Christchurch and that it was made out of cardboard! She didn’t believe me and immediately wanted to go and have a look at it! So off we went to the Cardboard Cathedral with Clawdeen telling me the whole time that she thought I was making up stories! We got there and she became very quiet, because I was telling the truth! It is a church that has been made out of cardboard. She thought it was rather funny. Once we got inside she told me she thought it was a rather cool building and that she was most impressed.
After we had finished looking around the cathedral we went to New Regent Street where we spotted a tram, and lots of people having coffee. On the way back to the car we walked through Cashel Street Mall which has some shops in it that are made from shipping containers! Clawdeen thought that this was rather silly. I told her that all the other shops had been knocked down and they were using containers until they could build new ones. She decided that it was a good idea after all. I like how they have all been painted really bright colours.
We got back to the car and I told Clawdeen that it was nearly time to go and collect my son Alex, from school. She was really excited to meet him. We had a quick job to do on the way and then we would go and get him. Clawdeen was not too thrilled with me or the fact we had another ‘job’ to do! She did change her mind though, when she saw what I wanted to take a photo of and insisted that she be included in the photo! I wonder if you can work out why?
Once we had collected Alex from school and were all safely in the car we drove to the library. Alex and I go to the library LOTS! We love it.
Clawdeen was really impressed with all the different books and she even found some to have a look at. She found some that were about the U.S.A. and I could tell she was thinking about you when she was showing them to me.
Once we had finished at the library, we went home and Alex showed Clawdeen his skateboard ramp. She was pretty keen to have a go, so Alex helped her as she wasn’t prepared to take her boots off or wear protective gear to help keep her safe. She had lots of fun by the looks of it! She eventually got very sleepy, so we tucked her into bed for a good night’s rest.
Alex and I showed Clawdeen around the house and around the garden. She was surprised that we had so much space that Alex could play in and was rather amazed that we had our own vegetable garden. She told me that your school has an edible garden. Alex was super impressed when he heard that! Can you see the vegetables she found in our garden?
She also really liked the sunflower and climbed up to the top to have her photo taken.
The next day, before Clawdeen left Christchurch for the next part of her adventure, I took her for a drive up on the Port Hills so she could see the view. She was really impressed that we are so close to some hills and that you can see such a long way when you go up high on them. We looked one way and we could see the city and then we looked the other way and could see the water.
It was fabulous having Clawdeen to stay and I do hope she enjoyed herself while she was here because we certainly enjoyed having her.
Lots of love and hugs, Katherine (Bibby) and Alex
Guess who I met the other day in Berlin! Clawdeen met me in a restaurant and chatted a lot about the things she had been doing. .
I even let her play with the little Volkswagen I carry in my handbag.
On her first day with me, I had to go to work and Clawdeen joined me there. It was the first time that she had been on an autobahn. She was a little disappointed that Berlin has a speed limit of only 100 km/h (62 mph) on the autobahn, but she still enjoyed it.
At work, I was surprised to find a lovely rose from our only male colleague. We all had received one and I let Clawdeen have mine.
She really loved our tulips too!
That day I had to leave early to get to the kindergarten. On our way home from Tegel (in the very north of Berlin) to Zehlendorf (in the south west) we passed one of Berlin’s major lakes called Tegeler See. We made a short stop, but as it was still winter there were hardly any ships there.
After cleaning at the kindergarten, a job I had volunteered for long before I knew Clawdeen would be with us, we drove to a place that has some very interesting history. We passed the lovely gardens of Palace Glienicke – and I must say I was really surprised to see how well Clawdeen could climb a fence to get a better view!
Though I had to help her get down from this one! That is the Glienicke Palace you can see in the background.
From 1961 to 1989 Berlin has been divided into two parts – the western part where I live now and the eastern part where I grew up. Until 1989 it would not have been possible to go to the Glienicke Bridge or even cross it. Look what a lovely pic we took there.
I know it is difficult to tell, but the bridge is painted in two different shades of green. East and West had agreed to paint it green, but neither side had the same colour. It stayed like this until now. Before the wall fell, the bridge was closed, and only the odd secret agent swap took place there. Your mum might remember MacGyver. He was exchanged there once too!
Sitting there we enjoyed the view of the River Havel. You can go by ship to the Tegeler See from here.
As the sun was setting we said farewell to the bridge.
On our way back to the car we passed another park with a wonderful view of the setting sun and the centre of Potsdam. And as you can see, Clawdeen climbed another fence to enjoy the view …
It was a very lovely evening that gave everything a glow – even the outer buildings of the Glienicke Palace.
The next morning – while my husband went shopping with Ms. 3 – we joined Mr. 5 for his tennis lesson. Clawdeen was sitting quite relaxed beside me, but soon was caught up in the fun the children were having!
As we were not allowed to stay at the tennis club all the time, we went to a little town close by. Kleinmachnow used to be separated from Berlin-Zehlendorf by the wall. People often tried to cross the border here, and most were caught. We read a lot about it on an information tablet. Today you can hardly see where the wall once stood because it was destroyed and trees have grown over the empty corridor, but we must remember what happened there. I am very happy that it fell as I was not allowed to cross it!
The next day I started with a little run and came back to find Clawdeen enjoying the sun in our little garden. Ms. 3 has been so kind to offer her one of her chairs.
Later that day we did some gardening. We had bought some daffodils on the market in Kleinmachnow that needed to be planted. I even found a small shovel for Clawdeen. She was very happy to help.
The winter hasn’t been as cold as last year’s, but we still used a lot of our wood for the open fire. Clawdeen was surprised to see our wood rack rather empty.
As I had some household duties, we went back inside. Clawdeen – being a girl – wanted to see my jewellery. She even found a bracelet that fit her small wrist.
We went up to Ms. 3’s room and Clawdeen was quite delighted to see the pink carpet. She showed me how to make snow angels on it. She had had lots of fun doing it in the snow and wanted to show me how it was done.
It was really lovely having Clawdeen as a visitor. She left us to continue her travels.
A warm hug from Germany!
By Angelika Sauer
Hey there Delilah,
We were spending time together at Anne’s home, when suddenly there was a knock at the door! We were surprised to find Miss Clawdeen standing there, looking lost and asking for the way to Brooklyn to get home to you! She was tired from all the traveling and feeling cold, because her outfit was waaaay too light for the Finnish winter. So we invited her in and agreed that the very first thing we had to do was to get Clawdeen some warmer clothes to wear. It was, after all, only 15F (-10 degrees Celsius) outside! She rummaged through the wardrobe, but all she could find was Barbie’s old blue and white sweater. It wasn’t really her style, but her own clothes were not enough for the nippy weather outside! In the end she did agree to put on Barbie’s sweater after we begged her and promised to give her a good pampering for being a good sport. First she got a nice mani-pedi and then we did her hair. Here she is being groomed by three different people and with four different hair brushes all at once! What a diva, don’t you think!
When she was thoroughly pampered and feeling warm, we decided to show her around our city, Tampere. So we went outside and headed for the local amusement park. It was closed, of course… I mean, who would ever want to go on a wild rollercoaster ride in such weather! You’d be a complete icicle after the ride! But we did have tons of fun, nevertheless. Clawdeen wanted to pose next to the carousel. She said she really wanted to ride it, but as you can see, she would still have been too short to go on the ride, even if it were running. The colourful stick you can see behind Clawdeen is the ride’s measuring stick. It says that you have to be at least 120 centimetres tall to go on the ride. Do you know how much that is in feet and inches? It’s 3’11”!
Clawdeen also saw a big rollercoaster, and it made her a little bit sad, because it reminded her of Coney Island and made her miss you, Delilah. But we told her that she would be home soon to tell you all about her adventures and that cheered her right up again!
Well, there we were… At an amusement park, with none of the rides running! So we thought we’d better come up with something else to do for fun. The weather was nice and snowy, so we decided to play in the snow for a little. Clawdeen climbed in some trees and had fun making footprints all over the newly fallen snow. She also made a snow angel, but it is too bad you can’t really see the angel shape in the picture! Clawdeen made such a life-like angel shape in the snow!
Then she tried to get a picture of herself with Näsinneula in the background. Yikes, that’s a mouthful of a name, isn’t it? It’s a tall tower in our town. Well, when Clawdeen was posing for the picture, a local person saw her and came to shake her hand. It’s not every day you get to see a werewolf in Finland, you know! Anyways, the picture of Clawdeen and the tower became a picture of her shaking the hand of a fan. I guess that’s nice, too.
Clawdeen thought it might have been nice to climb to the top of the tower so she could see the entire city from there, but then she got a little scared when we told how high up the top of the tower actually is. We told her there is another, smaller sightseeing tower nearby, where you can buy delicious donuts. She was a little hungry after all that playing in the snow, so she agreed that we go there. When we got to the other tower, we headed straight to the top and Clawdeen wanted to take a photo where she is sitting on the railing and waving to you. You can see Näsinneula behind her! You can also see she no longer wanted to wear the blue and white sweater, she insisted that she was now feeling quite warm. Luckily she still agreed to wear this pretty purple furry boa. We would have been so worried about her catching a cold otherwise! She said purple is your favourite colour, Delilah, so she was happy to wear it.
After spending some time admiring the view, we headed back down to enjoy the donuts, Clawdeen loved them! She almost ate them all; we had to be quick to get our own share. Do you like donuts, Delilah?
When we were ready to leave the tower, Clawdeen noticed a guestbook and wanted us all to sign it so everyone would know she had been there. The pen was so big that Aino had to help Cladween hold it!
There was still some time left before we all had to go home, so we went to this lovely little shop that sells sweets and chocolates. Clawdeen wanted to buy everything, but we told her she might get a tummy ache after already wolfing down so many donuts, so she decided to just take some photos to remember the place.
Oh and guess what… Clawdeen met some Finnish elves in the shop too! She thought that Tampere, with all the snow, must be very similar to where Santa lives with his elves. Clawdeen just had to pose in a photo with the elves! They reminded her of Röd and his friends, whom she met in Australia.
Clawdeen was getting a little bit tired after all this sightseeing, so we decided it was time to go home and have a good night’s sleep. She wanted to see Taru’s home town Hämeenlinna, so she hopped in Taru’s car. Luckily Taru had a safety seat in her car for Clawdeen to travel in safely!
When we woke up the next day, we noticed that the snowing had stopped and we decided to go tobogganing. Clawdeen and Taru’s daughter had a lot of fun together!
There was a little playground next to the Häme castle and Clawdeen wanted to try one of the swings. She remembered you like to swing too, Delilah, and it made her happy to think of you and that she would soon meet you again!
After the trip to the castle, we were very tired and cold, so we decided to drink some hot chocolate and try the chocolates we bought from Tampere. Clawdeen was pleased with the tiny Moomin mug that was perfect for her!
After the snack, Clawdeen felt tired and cuddled up to the nice, warm lamb fur. For some reason, her cat Crescent didn’t want to come anywhere near the fur. Isn’t that strange? Why do you think that was so, Delilah?
You guessed it, Delilah! The fur actually belonged to a poodle! That’s why Crescent steered well clear. But Clawdeen loved it, as it made her think of Baxter at home. Even though we all had a lovely time together, Clawdeen decided she had stayed long enough and had to continue her journey home to you, Delilah. We said our goodbyes and showed her the way to her next destination on the way to New York. We hope she reaches you soon, Delilah!
Sending you lots of love from Finland, Anna-Mari (Vartiainen), Aino (Paavola), Taru (Toppola) and Anne (Salmela).
Last week we had a wee visit
From a traveling doll called Clawdeen!
She had style, she had sass!
She had the shortest skirt I’ve ever seen!
Our first stop of the day,
Was to visit our Wellington sign.
Even though it was very windy,
On the car she had to climb.
Next we drove to town
And took a walk, just her and me!
A quick visit to Te Papa,
Our National Museum by the sea.
Cuba Mall was next on route…
A street filled with culture and soul.
Near our famous Bucket Fountain,
Some water fun for this adventurous doll!
Later, back home in Miramar,
Where New Zealand movies are made,
We went to meet Gollum!
Clawdeen was ever so brave!
From there we headed to Weta Cave,
Full of movie props and clothes,
Where she sat in front of King Kong
Pulling his scariest pose!
On leaving Weta Cave,
We made another quick stop!
Clawdeen wanted to play
With a Hobbit troll near the shop!
Our day was sadly over.
Time for Clawdeen to go!
She took off in a Barbie car.
I have to admit – I will miss her so!
Love Sarah (Purdy) and her family
Hey there, Delilah!
I am Marilyn from Evanston, Wyoming. I had a wonderful visit with your friend, Clawdeen. She arrived on a cold, windy winter’s day.
But once inside the house, she warmed up all cozy and comfy. When she saw my piano, she asked if she could play me a few tunes. She is quite the entertainer.
I told Clawdeen that I was having a Valentine’s Day Tea Party the next day. She kindly agreed to stay and be my guest of honor. Of course, she needed a new dress for the party so we went straight to the sewing room and stitched up a little black dress. We also made her an apron, so she could help me make cupcakes.
After all that work, Clawdeen was so tired that she really needed to go to bed. I tucked her in snug as a bug…
She must’ve slept like a log, because she did not want to get up. Since we had a very busy day ahead of us, I poured her some coffee to help wake her up.
First on our to-do list was baking cupcakes. Not only was Clawdeen pretty in her new apron, but I was pleased to discover her expert baking skills.
Once the cupcakes were finished, I took Clawdeen on a short sight-seeing trip around Evanston. As we walked down the street, Clawdeen heard something flapping in the wind. I proudly pointed to three flags flying above her head. She could see the American flag on top, the State of Wyoming flag in the middle and the City of Evanston flag on the bottom.
Clawdeen was delighted by the white buffalo on the Wyoming flag, so I took her to see a big statue of a buffalo. She was thrilled and wanted to sit on him. Silly girl! She had a buffalo by the horns!
But she wished she could see a real buffalo. I knew where some real ones were, so I took her to Bear River State Park. She was awe-struck! I am sure she will tell you all about them, Delilah.
As we were leaving the park, Clawdeen spotted a couple of wind turbines. I drove her over to them and let her read some of the information about the wind energy in Wyoming. She was very happy to learn that some of this wild Wyoming wind is being put to some good use.
We drove through the old historic part of town, where my favorite store is. We also stopped for a few minutes to watch a train pass by. Then we made one last stop at the river for a moment of solitude. Clawdeen crawled over the rocks till she found a safe place to sit. She gazed at the frozen Bear River as she listened to a duck quacking nearby.
Finally, we hurried back to get ready for our party. Clawdeen changed into her dress, brushed her hair and helped me prepare the table. Everything was done. Now we wait…and wait…
But the waiting was worth it!! In walks a cowboy (who happens to be my grandson) bearing a red rose and a kiss, just for the beautiful Clawdeen!
During the whole party, Cowboy Davey could not take his eyes off Clawdeen. He was sure he had found his sweetheart.
After the guests had finished their tea and cupcakes, I put on the movie Why do Ghouls Fall In Love? It starred our special guest and her friends. While watching the movie, Cowboy Davey noticed a tear sneak down Clawdeen’s cheek. He knew she was missing her family and friends, so he gave her a little hug.
As soon as the movie ended, Clawdeen announced that she needed to be on her way. Cowboy Davey thought his heart would break, but he knew Clawdeen’s heart was in New York with her family and friends. He gave her a kiss goodbye and let her go. Then she set off to find you, Delilah!
If you feel the wind kiss your cheek, Delilah, it’s just your new friends in Wyoming sending you a great, big “Howdy!”
By Marilyn Allen
Hey there, Delilah!
My name is Amber, and we were so excited to have Clawdeen stay with us for a night.
We met Clawdeen at Glenelg Beach, with some of the other people in the FMS PAD group from Adelaide.
Do you know what, Delilah? My sister, Jasmine, has autism just like you.
Once everyone got to Glenelg, we all went for a walk on the jetty. Clawdeen found a big circle that she could poke her head through.
Everyone watched a group of guys jetty-jumping. Clawdeen thought the water looked very deep, and didn’t want to jump off the jetty.
After finishing our walk on the jetty, Clawdeen couldn’t wait to wade in the shallow water. Clawdeen was so excited she jumped out of her boots! She started running down to the waves.
Clawdeen was about to go into the water all by herself, but it was so windy she almost fell over! She asked if I could help her to stand up in the water, and I happily agreed.
After swimming, Clawdeen was hungry enough to eat a whole plate of rare steak, but chips would have to do. So everyone went to buy chips to eat for lunch. We went to a spot near the beach to eat them. Clawdeen thought they were delicious. Do you like eating chips, Delilah? You might call them French fries.
Once all of the chips had been eaten, we had a surprise for Clawdeen. Abbey Bominable, Draculaura, Howleen and Lagoona Blue all dropped in for a chat. Clawdeen was so happy to see all of her friends, even her most annoying sister, Howleen!
After saying goodbye to all of her school friends and her sister, Clawdeen met my cousin Lulu, who had brought all of Clawdeen’s school friends to the beach. Clawdeen said “thank you” a lot of times to Lulu. Then Clawdeen realised just how many new friends she had made. She’d met Lulu, Benji, me and everyone in the FMS PAD group. That’s a lot of new friends!
Soon after, we had to leave the beach. Clawdeen said goodbye to all of her new friends. Clawdeen, Jasmine and I went to a playground. On the way there, Clawdeen saw a lot of boats. She was surprised at how many boats were in the marina.
After that, we got to the playground. Clawdeen had so much fun playing there with Jasmine. It reminded Clawdeen of playing with Delilah, and she got so excited thinking she was getting closer and closer to her best friend.
Once we’d played at the playground for a while, we got into the car to go to a place called Gumeracha in the Adelaide Hills. During the car ride, Clawdeen had lots of fun with Jasmine playing on her iPad.
When we got to Gumeracha, Clawdeen could hardly believe her eyes. There was a giant rocking horse there! Clawdeen was so excited when we told her we would be climbing it.
It was hard work, and a little bit scary for all of us to climb it, since we had to climb so high. But when we got to the top, the view was amazing!
Once we climbed back down, Jasmine and Clawdeen went over to the little rocking horse. It was a bit funny, because, although it was a rocking horse, you couldn’t rock it. It didn’t matter though, because Jasmine and Clawdeen loved sitting on it.
After we had our photos taken, we got certificates to say we’d climbed the Biggest Rocking Horse in the world. Then Clawdeen saw a signpost. It was pointing to lots of different places around the world, some of which Clawdeen has visited on her way home to you. One said ‘New York 17,594 km.’ I think that is close to where you live, Delilah.
We were all very tired after our big day, so we jumped into the car and went home. When we got home, Clawdeen was very excited to see that I had the Harry Potter books in my bookcase. She told me that she had gone to Harry Potter World at one of her stops on her way home. She knows how much you like Harry Potter, Delilah, and she was very eager to do some reading. She read a chapter of the ‘Order of the Phoenix’ before she had to go to sleep. She had a big day coming up tomorrow and she had to be up bright and early.
Clawdeen wanted me to take a picture of her sitting on top of the book to show you how big it was. Have you ever read a book as big as that?
The next morning everyone was awake really early, because it was a school morning. Clawdeen patiently waited while Jasmine and I got ready for school. While she was waiting, Clawdeen made sure that she had all of her belongings. She also remembered to get her certificate from the Big Rocking Horse and put it into her bag as well.
In the car on the way to school, Clawdeen had a last photo with Jasmine and I. I was going to my school first, and Clawdeen was going to Jasmine’s school to look around her classroom.
Jasmine was really excited to be taking Clawdeen to her school.
When Jasmine and Clawdeen got to Jasmine’s school, Clawdeen was really surprised. She thought it was awesome that Jasmine had eight students in her classroom, and even more awesome that her classroom had a glow room, which had lots of lights, cushions and blankets! (The glow room is a small room where the kids go if they need a quiet space.)
After visiting Jasmine’s school, Clawdeen quickly changed her clothes, then decided to lie down under the big fig trees in Gawler and think about all of her adventures from around the world, and how close she was getting to being back home with you.
Then it was time for Clawdeen to go to her next stop.
Thank you for staying with us, Clawdeen. It was lovely having you for a quick stay.
Love from Adelaide and all your friends.
By Amber Ryan
(with thanks to Chris Poulton, Jill Pope, Rosana Vasica-Rohrlach and Gayle Ryan for use of their photos as well as mine. And thanks to Dad for driving us around everywhere)