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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Once A Doll Was My Only Companion

Mildred grunted as she shoved on the old camel backed trunk in the hall. It had been months since she had last pushed it to one side and vacuumed behind the damned thing. 
"Really!" She cursed as her back complained.
"I should just send it home with Sarah when she comes next!" (Sarah was her daughter who lived in Toronto.)
She stood straight, attempting to relax the developing kink from her spine and noticed that there was something sticking out from under the lid.
"Crap! What ta hell's that now!"
She bent over again, much to her spine's disgust and gripped the old metal latches, reefed on the lid, effectively plunking it back against the papered wall.
"Shit!" She checked the wall to see if the trunk had marked the faded roses of the upper halls' wallpaper. "That's all I need is to have to re-wallpaper this old barn!" She muttered.
Satisfying herself that there was no damage, she turned back to the open trunk to see what had poked out and...
"Oh!" Her fingers reached towards the object with certainly a will of their own.

Her mind raced back.

Back to the Christmas when she was just six years old and just plain Millie. She had been a big girl at six. No, not because of height or weight, but because of her responsibilities and chores.

"Oh Miranda! I've forgotten you were in there!" She snuggled the old, worn doll to her face, drawing in the musty trunk smell, perhaps hoping the essence of her youth could still be found in there somewhere. 

A tear found it's way down her wrinkled cheek, her faded blue eyes awash. 

"Do you remember when I discovered you under the pine branches?" Her father had only cut a few scotch pine branches, stuffing them into a coffee can for a Christmas tree. 
No extravagances there.

The minister's wife had taken pity on the little girl who was forced to be so grown up.
A parcel had been dropped off on Christmas eve.

"You were a dream come true. Do you remember I never left you alone after that?" She had in fact fashioned a sort of knapsack for the doll from a sugar bag and had carried Miranda with her everywhere. 

"I was afraid someone would steal you away from me!" 
Mildred touched the dolls nose with a worn finger of her own, then brushing the frizzy hair from the dolls eyes as any mother would for her beloved child.

"You look the worst for wear... Kinda like me!" She chortled! 
The smile left and Mildred's face took on a serious look.
"I named you Miranda 'cause it was sort of like my name, only glamorous! Did you know that dollie?" 
Spoken more like an announcement than a secret.

She cradled the doll for a moment, humming softly an ancient half forgotten lullaby and then gently placed the doll back into the trunk, just on top of the magazines and the other odd, worthless bits that she had saved over her life. She pulled a scrunched up tissue from her pocket and dabbed at her tears.

"No... I'll not send you to Sarah's house. Not yet my sweet." She closed the lid, violently shoved the vacuums' nozzle behind, sucked up all the offending dust and pushed the trunk back up against the wall. 
A little more gently this time.

She patted the lid before she walked away.

"Rest well my baby. You were my only friend once. I'll never abandon you!"

...And Mildred trailed away, vacuum screeching and searching the corners, her mind caught up by the tedious job at hand.


Each and every item we see in a thrift shop or antique market was once loved by a real person.


Whose small lips kissed this worn cracked face vowing to always be there?

Whose loving arms once held her baby swearing she'd be the only one?

I see things on a shelf or in a box and wonder....


Why did they have to end up here?

Can someone take them home for me?

All of these photos were again shot and loaded directly from my Nikon P90 and then posted without alteration of any kind.


ethelmaepotter! said...

Of all your fantasies, this is my favorite. I think it's because we can all relate on some level: for some of us, it's an old doll, like this, or perhaps a long forgotten book; for boys, maybe a box of tin soldiers or a rusted red wagon.

This line is genius: "... drawing in the musty trunk smell, perhaps hoping the essence of her youth could still be found in there somewhere."

Beautiful piece, and like Mildred, a tear found it's way down my own wrinkled cheek.

Eva Gallant said...

I love the way you look at things and imagine wonderful stories about them!

She Writes said...

Oh the things I have loved and then discarded...

Brian Miller said...

thanks for the smiles tonight. toys, imaginary friends, things that get left behind at maturity..though i wonder sometimes if they should. wonderfully written...

DJan said...

This is an inspired piece, and I suspect it's because you hugged and kissed and cradled many a doll in your youth!! What a sweet reminiscing you created here. Bless you!

The Lucy and Dick Show said...

Thanks everybody! In fact, I had just one dolly. I had a pony by the time I was four and lots of other things to play with. (Farm girl!) As I've said... I had a really lucky childhood. My dolly wasn't anything special to me.
When I see something like these old dolls, I just go on a little trip in my mind and the story comes to me.
I'm not sure if its a good thing or not, because sometimes the little trips aren't so swell as this!

Sniffles and Smiles said...

What a beautiful, beautiful story...and yes, I can relate to it...only my doll was named Nancy...and my grandmother always made my clothes...and out of the scraps? A dress for Nancy...Yes, so sad to see once loved toys at thrift stores...And I think you are WONDERFUL to imagine their have such a compassionate heart and soul! Truly beautiful! ~Janine XO

Land of shimp said...

Oh our well worn friends from childhood! I was never a doll sort of girl, I'm a bit too rough and tumble, even now but I have my old teddy bear, on a shelf, in a place of honor.

Did you ever see Toy Story? There's a new one coming out, and the story is that Andy has grown up, and gone to college, so his toys end up at a daycare center.

I think that sounds wonderful, but rather sad. We do outgrow our faithful companions from childhood, but still have a lot of affection for them, don't we?

Writing Without Periods! said...

What a wonderful story. I love old dolls. Very interesting.