Colmena: I've been having trouble logging on, too.
You have a vivid imagination. I wouldn't want to run some of your alternate scenes past an audience in Pomona!
But seriously, theatrical as it may be, "rosebud" is integral to the meaning of CITIZEN KANE, not solely important, but laced throughout the fabric of the entire film. Welles takes care to show us the globe sitting unobtrusively several times. And I don't think anyone has mentioned the little speech Charlie Kane gives to Susan Alexander the night he meets her. He is in a lower middle-class section of the city, and she asks what brought him there. He tells her that has been visiting a warehouse where some of his mother's things are stored. If we want to know how he recovered his beloved sled, it's in this context we have to look. Surely, for Charlie Kane, this is serendipity. On the evening he has gone through the possessions of the mother he lost, he has met and been taken in by a quiet, caring young woman. She, in turn, has been suffering from a bad toothache. He does boyish things, making finger shadow pictures on the wall, to amuse her, to take her mind of her pain and his own. The pattern of mutual dependence rises almost from that beginning. She sings; he praises her singing. But for Charles Foster Kane, Susan Alexander represents his own long given up ambitions, and therefore, his new love must not be just a childlike singer but a grand diva. And so, that tragic strand of Charlie Kane's life plays out -- again, if I'm correct, from a sighting of a sled called "Rosebud."
Simon Callow tends, in the first volume of his biography, to go overboard in debunking Welles' legend and myth, especially in connection with CITIZEN KANE. It seems to me that, without endlessly analyzing the significance of "Rosebud," we simply let the film wash over us, as we should do with an artistic work, the symbol of the sled called "Rosebud" is integral to the meaning of Charles Foster Kane's life, to the meaning of the film, really, to the meaning of our own lives. That's why CITIZEN KANE is one to the greatest works in Cinema.
Having seen CITIZEN KANE dozens of times, knowing the central image which is "Rosebud," when I see that sled thrown on the fire, tears start from my eyes. That experience is rare in my experience in connection with any work of art. The meaning of CITIZEN KANE is primal, visceral, and pretty much eternal.
As Mike suggests, whoever we are, we eventually go up in smoke, as do most of our material possessions.