Another Damn Doll

I purchased five very small ceramic/porcelain dolls today.  Honestly, I didn't really like dolls when I was a child.  I was given dolls, but never played with them much.  One exception was the Baby Alive doll.  I was so interested to see if she would really poop and pee after feeding her and giving her a bottle, I did manage to give some of my valuable childhood time to her. 

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I had another doll that had a creepy face and closed her eyes when she was laying down and opened when she was picked up.  Nope. Nope. Nope.  As much as relatives wanted to give me dolls (yes, even Barbies-ick), I was more of a build a fort, catch snakes, play kickball and get welted in snowball fights kind of girl. 

Anyway, I've been on a two and half month long trip down nostalgia lane since I started dabbling in antiques/vintage stuff for a booth I rent at a local shop.  One of the owners warned me it would be addictive.  Yeah, that's an understatement.  The more pieces of memories I find at estate sales, yard sales and thrift stores, the more sentimental I get.  And, I'm quite sure we all know what happens when sentimentality kicks in.  Must have.

Not sure why I must have some of these items, even though I'm not going to keep them.  I've been digging deep to figure it out and the only thing I can come up with is the most obvious and logical answer:  I'm getting older and want to remember the good parts of my childhood. 

So, the dolls.  My gram continued to give me porcelain dolls well into adulthood.  I had all three of my children and she was still sending tiny, Victorian dolls clad in pink, red, blue or green velvet.  I have a lot of them stowed away in a box.  Those are not leaving.  Anyway, I sat here tonight looking at my newest box of found treasures, trying to ignore my husband playing the Sanford and Sons theme song on his iPhone, and I thought about my gram.

My grandfather used to bug the ever living hell out of her.  They bickered and argued-especially when my gram was losing playing cards.  When I was young, I wondered if they were happy with each other.  They seemed to know every button to push and had mastered the pushing.  Now that I'm an adult (my driver's license says so), I realize the love they had for each other.  Yes, I am getting to the dolls.

I can remember my gram bitching about getting "another damn doll" from my grandfather for Christmas.  He gave her dolls every year for many years and, if memory serves me, for birthdays too.  I got the impression she felt like he wasn't even thinking of something new and original for her-like he was just resorting to the old standby gift since she may have mentioned once about liking a doll.  From there on out, I think he just took it and ran with it for years.  She complained about not having any room for all of them. In all fairness, they did have a pretty tiny house crammed full of stuff.  Most likely what my gram wanted for holidays was for grandfather not to gloat when he beat her at gin rummy, money to bet the horses and of course, to have her bets pay off.  Now, that's gift-giving right there.

Here is what I now know about those dolls and my grandparents.  My gram grew up in an orphanage from the time she was a toddler until she was eighteen or so.  She didn't have dolls and I'll hazard a guess she would have liked one.  So, when she was older and COULD have a doll, my grandfather wanted to give her what she didn't get when she was young.  Sure, it annoyed the hell out of my gram after many years of being bombarded with dolls, but she knew why and she knew he loved her. 

So, I have five little dolls dressed in velvet that will be in my booth soon.  No, I don't want to keep them.  They already served their purpose in my life in just the short few hours I've had them in my possession.

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Love isn't sweet words and flowers all the time.  Love is bitching about being given another damn doll that you have no room for.

Melissa Jackson