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Treasures, sometimes of high value and others whose main value is sentiment and memories, pass through families over generations. They affect the people involved in very different ways. Here is a heart warming story that ends just like it should due to the perseverance of one mother.


And the ritual would begin.

My Mother would gather her four daughters into the bedroom. She would open the closet door to bring out her baby doll.

“This is my baby doll. My grandfather gave me this doll when I was a little girl. I named her Mary Ann.”

Then she would say: “you can’t play with her.” And she would put the doll back into the closet.

I was so taken aback with that selfishness. I told our two daughters that they should share. I would tell them of a story about a little girl who would not share her doll. In fact, she hid the doll in a closet.

Then, I would tell my daughters that her selfishness denied her the doll, too. When she went to get her doll out of the closet, her face had melted!

No such thing happened to my Mother’s Mary Ann baby doll. She stayed with Mother throughout Mother’s adult life. Mother was almost 90 years old when she died.

My older sister Joan placed Mary Ann into Mother’s casket. Once the evening viewing was over, Joan removed the doll and declared that she was keeping it for herself.

So much for sharing.

Joan collected dolls. When she died, her son and daughter-in-law were involved in the distribution of Joan’s belongings. They placed the many collectible dolls, face down, in two rooms in Joan’s house. When I entered, all of the dolls had price tags, including Mother’s Mary Ann.

I was very disappointed and surprised.

I removed Mary Ann from the collection. As we were driving home, my husband informed me that the doll was not mine to take. We turned around. I returned the doll, complete with price tag, to the bedroom.

I sent my nephew and wife a note offering to pay the price for the doll. I was the only living one of Mother’s four daughters. I thought the doll should go to me. I also had two daughters. The other 3 sisters had only boys.

Their message was that I could take the doll…and give it to our oldest daughter! I had another doll that my sister Joan wanted our daughter to have so both girls had a family doll.

Our oldest daughter lives in Phoenix. She says I should keep her for now. I have put the doll on a chair with a special purple velvet pillow hand stamped and made by our daughter Beth Ann. We talk about it once in a while.

I inquired at Riley Hospital about their doll collection case. They said it was a one-time project.

Beth Ann, our daughter, will have to decide Mary Ann’s fate. I would guess that the beautiful doll (picture) is 100 years old. Mother was born in 1911. This is 2019. I suppose that Mother received the doll about 1915. The doll has markings from Germany.

All of these years I wished that Mary Ann had been loved by little girls. My baby doll Susie is still with Beth Ann, although Susie has been repaired more than once. Both of our daughters loved Susie just as much as I did.

Maybe Beth Ann will find a good home for Mary Ann some day.

 

Contributed by:  Beverly Heid

 

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1 thought on “One Hundred Year Old Doll

  1. Beautiful story and it brought back many memories for me. Similarly my 3 aunts had German dolls from that time period. My Aunt Marcie gave me hers called Marybelle. She had a leather body, china face with brown eyes that closed and a human hair wig. When her dress disintegrated we put on the family Christening gown. Your doll is beautiful and perhaps she had fun witnessing the children’s activities even though she didn’t get to play.

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