Speaking of Dolls…

Me with Virginia, sister Lois, and cousins

In my last post, my Minnesota “sister,” Donna, told a touching tale of a depression days Christmas and the refurbished doll that became her most prized possession.

I, too, had a baby doll that I loved with all my heart. I’d named her Virginia, the most elegant name I knew. Virginia’s molded composition head, legs and arms were attached to a cuddly cloth body. Her blue eyes opened and closed. In my first memories of her, her eyelashes were already worn away, like Donna’s doll. When I tipped her forward, she too cried “Ma–ma.”

By my fifth birthday, her dress was faded and torn, probably because it was also used to dress my unwilling kitty. Aunt Mary, still in her teens, sewed Virginia a whole new wardrobe as my birthday gift that year. I especially loved the ruffled dotted Swiss dress with matching bonnet.

I thought my doll beautiful, but a few years later, when my sister received a doll with curly, shoulder-length hair, I looked at Virginia’s molded hair. The paint had rubbed away in spots. My doll needed real hair too, I decided. So next time my mom gave me a haircut, I didn’t ask her advice. I just coated Virginia’s head with rubber cement and pressed the clippings into the glue. I let it dry, but the results were not what I’d envisioned. Poor Virginia…the worst bad hair day ever!  Unfortunately, I couldn’t get it all off. So I took some brown enamel and painted over glue and remaining hair. When Virginia wore her ruffled dotted Swiss bonnet, she looked beautiful again.

As little girls do, I grew up. Virginia lay packed away with a few other treasures, growing older the same as me. I got married and had a child of my own. One day I rediscovered my old friend. Fine cracks now marred her painted complexion. And when had the tips of fingers and toes worn away? No matter. Little boys could play with dolls too. I gave my doll to toddler Robbie. Virginia had a fine time, riding on his Tonka truck and watching as he built a house of blocks around her. I heard Robbie’s squeal of delight as the blocks went flying, but thought nothing of it.

At cleanup time that evening, I found Virginia lying amidst the blocks. She’d suffered a fatal injury to her head. It was broken in three parts. I said a final goodbye to my old friend, but not to the memories.

Taken before I owned Virginia. Kitty made a patient baby.

One thought on “Speaking of Dolls…”

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