My Link to the past: Tattered Dolls


Dolls from the Belle Doll and Toy Corporation "Marjorie and Patty"

Today, I ran across a box at the back of my closet. I knew it was there, but I’d been over-looking it for years.

I looked at the familiar writing,”Marjorie, The Teen Age Doll from Belle Doll and Toy Corp. B’klyn, N.Y”. There is also a picture of a bell decorated with a ribbon on the box.

I opened the box and looked at two dolls from my childhood: Marjorie and Patty.

Today, when I lifted Patty out of the box, her legs fell off. Pieces of her neck came off too.  It jarred me for a minute.

I think Patty’s glue just dried up. What can you expect after 50 plus years? She’s just plain worn out. She was loved to pieces.

Marjorie is still holding together. I’m not sure why. Better craftmanship?  A good bath wouldn’t hurt her.

I can’t let either of them go to a trash bin. I will have to take them to the “Doll Hospital.”

I hate to see the Doll Doctor’s face when I bring them in for rehab. I hope she or he doesn’t hold it against me that I’ve neglected  them for so long.

How We All Met

When I  first started my relationship with these two, I was a little girl. My aunt, who I didn’t see that often, always made sure I received a big doll during the holiday season. (There were several others, but they got lost along the way).

I sensed she was trying to tell me that she wished she saw me more and this was her way of showing her love. I was happy to accept it.

I would come home, and a pretty wrapped box would be waiting for me in my bedroom. I knew it was something extravagant, not the run-of- the-mill holiday gifts like pajamas, underwear or a plastic tea set.

I’d slowly undo the wrapping because I knew it was going to be a new big beautiful doll.

After I lifted the doll out of the box, my mother would say, ” only take her out on special occasions and be very careful when you play with her.”

Each doll would come with a set of dresses, shoes, jewelry and hose. Deciding on the outfit of the day was my favorite part of the whole thing.

I heeded my mother’s advice. I was very careful.

Patty is still wearing one of the silver earrings she came with. I don’t know what happened to the other one.

After a couple of years, I was too old to play with dolls,  so they went up into the attic. Occasionally, I would go up there to briefly visit.

Rediscovering the Dolls 

Time went on and I grew up, got married and started my own family. In the meantime, my father died and my mother decided to move into an apartment.  She told us to get what we wanted from the house.

The only thing I wanted was the gray box with the blue and white lettering that said “Marjorie” on it. I went upstairs and resting on the unfinished floor boards were my old friends. I’d changed, but they were the same.

I decided to keep them. I just couldn’t give them away.

I kept those dolls under wraps for many years. I’d show them to my children once in a while. I made it clear that they were important to me.

Finally, I relented and allowed one of my daughters to play with the dolls. She was at the perfect age. Her eyes sparkled as she picked up the big doll.

” Be very careful,” I said. And she was.

Did I ever dream I’d still have those dolls long after my parents and my aunts and uncles all were gone? Long after my sisters and I would live separate lives in different cities?  Long after my children left to lead their own lives?

 I now know why I kept the dolls. They were a link to my happy childhood and the unconditional love of my family.
So, I’ll go get them a remake. After all we’ve been through together, it’s the least I can do.
If you have a treasured item you’ve kept for years, tell me about it in the comments section!
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