Monday, March 19, 2007

Story Jar - Doll with the Yellow Dress

The Story Jar- a bi-weekly column published in the Patriot and Free Press
Copyright 2006 Elaine Hardman

The Doll with the Yellow Dress

When I was young, I had two special dolls. The first was made of rubber, soft and smooth. The doll had a hole in its mouth and could drink from its bottle. On the other end a second hole allowed it to wet diapers. This was fairly high-tech for dolls in 1950.
The doll could easily be dressed because her one purple plaid dress was large. Getting the dress on was easy - keeping the dress on was the problem. It needed to be tied around the middle with an old shoelace for security. From my point of view, the doll and her dress were perfect.
My Aunt Jay saw the doll differently, noticing what the doll didn’t have. The doll had no hair and the dress didn’t fit, and Aunt Jay said, the real problem was that the doll had only one arm. The lack of an arm was, I supposed, why that doll ended up in a trashcan enabling its rescue and subsequent home with me. How could that be bad?
The Christmas that I turned six, Aunt Jay decided that she would solve my doll problem. She came to the house with a large, wrapped box. Inside the box was a doll so beautiful that I couldn’t even see other people in the room once I opened the package. The doll had curly, dark brown hair, a yellow hat and dress with blue ribbons and underpants with lace! There were shoes and socks and the smell of new cloth and rubber. It was an absolutely new doll!
This doll could also drink and wet and, listen to this, when she was placed on her back, her eyes closed and when she was picked up she said, “Mama.” It was too much to believe.
My mother scolded Aunt Jay for giving me such a doll saying that I would mess up her hair, rip the dress and lose the socks and shoes (all true) but Aunt Jay said that she had no daughters to give dolls to and my mother should, quite simply, “Shut up.”
Shocked at such words, but smiling, I knew that was a command and the doll would stay with me.
It was wrong to keep it since there were no gifts to give my cousins. Still, every second that I looked at it, my little hands tightened their grip. It was just too much to believe that I had still-in-the-box, never-used-by-another-child doll, just for me. Barefoot with hair awry and full of memories of Aunt Jay, that doll is in our cedar chest with its one-armed sister and the coonskin “Davy Crocket” hat Rick's mom made for him.

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