I loaned my children to the Historical Society a couple of weeks ago. But don’t worry – I brought them home last week.
The children, Margaret Ann, Jeannie, Me and Mimi, and Sister, survived nicely without me for the week they were on display in the museum. They were propped up prettily in my dad’s wicker pram, which moved from our attic to the museum years ago.
You’ve probably guessed that I’m referring to my dolls, not my real children. My real children think the dolls are creepy, but what do they know? They’ve obviously watched too many horror movies where dolls come alive and chase people around with knives.
Margaret Ann’s head is badly cracked, but she wears a blue velvet cap to cover her injuries. The cap was made by my Nana for my dad when he was little. I don’t think little boys wear caps like that anymore. Too bad – I’m sure he looked awfully cute in it.
Jeannie is still in pretty good shape, though she has lost her shoes over the years. Me and Mimi, cloth dolls with yarn hair, are pretty bedraggled. Actually, I included my sister Sheila’s doll, also named Me, in the display.
I didn’t know much about those dolls, but a quick trip to Google informed me they were made just before World War II, and were, indeed, named Me and Mimi. Mimi is a tiny replica of Me. Sheila’s Mimi apparently ran away from home, because I could only find my Mimi. Had my sister and I named them, I think we probably could have come up with prettier names. O well.
The nun doll has no name other than Sister. I don’t remember playing with her at all, but maybe Sheila did – at least, poor Sister is really tattered. Her wimple (isn’t that a wonderful word?) is badly crumpled, but her expression remains serene, like most of the nuns I have known in real life.
Dolls were a big part of my childhood, as was my Teddy bear. He was originally my dad’s Teddy bear. By the time he became mine, he was already a bit worn. For one thing, his ears hung by a few threads. I remember one day my friend Marilyn and I decided he looked kind of funny with his ears hanging down, so we cut them off and flushed them down the toilet. Don’t judge – we were only four and had stumbled upon some sewing scissors and wanted to try them out. For the flushing-down-the-toilet part, I have no excuse.
Sadly, Teddy came to an inglorious end. Our Newfoundland, Murphy, ate him. I was a grown-up mother of five when that happened, but I still cried.
Fortunately, Murphy never got to my dolls.