As it is Halloween tonight, I brought up this past memory to share. Often, we wonder if our life will be like the dolls on the shelf but it isn’t. More often, it is more complex and scary than we thought but we grow, prosper, fall down, get up, and somehow we never stay positioned in the same place as life perpetually makes us move on before we become extinct. I guess we should be happy for this, but sometimes it is challenging. Here is part one:

I remember those dolls on my shelf in my bedroom lined up in various positions as if their location signified another country on the map that my father kept in his bedroom. As I rifled through the copies of National Geographic from the 60s donated by my mom’s best friend, Leona, I would rearrange those dolls with great intensity as I dreamed of visiting those countries.

Regal Japan with her kinmono was positioned next to the Haitian doll which my mother had found at a thrift shop in New York. It held a strong resemblance to Aunt Jemina, and it had no legs only a sewn on face. There were about 12 different dolls representing different countries. After I finished dressing and designing clothes for my paper dolls, I would set up and re position the dolls from different countries. My father had build shelves for me. Above the doll shelf was my book shelf with some classics by Laura Ingalls Wilder “Little Woman” …I imagined myself often to be a hybrid of Jo, the explorer and tom-boy, and Beth, the homebody. Somewhere close ingrained was Meg, the responsible older sister. Since my brothers were almost a decade older than me, I grew up entertaining myself in the Catskills. Our nearest neighbor was a mile away up the hill and childless. In my small class of 50 students, we lived far apart and our families were busy so, I learned how to entertain myself.

I can still remember when I was 8 or 9; my father went away on business to New York City for training. He brought back for me a beautiful doll from China town with a wooden case. I remember having a healthy fear of this doll with beautiful porcelain eyes and fine delicate features. I would open up the case for the day, position the doll gingerly on the shelf and then always in the evening before bed, make sure that the doll was safely locked in its case. I felt like the doll watched me and would try to attack me at night if it were not locked up in the case. Since we didn’t have a TV until 3 years later, I am not sure what entertained this idea but I do remember my wild thoughts many years later as I sit at the computer punching the keys and remembering these thoughts. I loved the doll but I was also afraid of the doll. As I grew older, I would peruse the National Geographic magazines reading of tribes in Africa, reading of the Far East and hungrily devour all that was offered. (To be continued)

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