Everyone knows you aren't real until you are loved
This weekend my Granddaughter Linda and I rescued a doll. Anyone who has read The Velveteen Rabbit knows how import the love of a child is for a toy. They aren’t real until they are loved. We were shopping at the Goodwill in Warrenton, OR when Linda saw a lot of collector dolls along the back wall.
“Do you want to look?” I asked her.
Her blond bob bounced as she nodded enthusiastically.
“Wow,” she said as we stood in front of the dolls, “where did they all come from?”
”It was popular for grown-up ladies to collect dolls. They may have died and their families have given away their dolls.” We thought it was mean that Goodwill had put a price tag on one doll’s face. We looked and then did some more browsing. Linda found a Spongebob Squarepants mug for her little sister who is fresh off a tonsillectomy. As we browsed Linda casually mentioned that she would like a “china doll” someday.
“Did you see a doll you liked, honey?”
“Well,” Linda said slowly, “there was one that caught my eye.
“Let’s go look at her,” I said. The doll, in Gay Nineties attire and a flourish of ringlets, was beyond her reach so I brought her down. “Is this the one?” More nodding. We couldn’t find a price on the doll, but many I had looked at were $14.99. “Let’s go pay for Lydia’s mug and ask how much the doll is.” The doll was sold. There was no way she was going to leave Linda’s arms. She was beaming. So was Linda. And it’s not like she doesn’t have dolls. She loves dolls. My daughter-in-law had no dolls as a child. Her own mother died when she was two and no one thought to give her dolls. As far as I’m concerned there are a lot of dolls out there that missed out on lovin’.
When we got to the cash register the cashier couldn’t find the tag either so she called a manager who finally found it under the dolls abundant ringlets.
“Six-ninety-nine,” the cashier read aloud, “but it’s a red tag so you get half off.” Linda and I high fived on our good luck. A delighted granddaughter for $3.50. Such a deal.
As we walked out the door of the store Linda said, “I know what I’m going to call her. Molly.” Molly is one of Linda’s favorite American Girl characters. GranDave and I gave her a little Molly doll a year ago Christmas.
Molly accompanied us the rest of the day running errands and was ooed and awed over by Linda’s great-grandmother. After dinner Molly’s shoes came off and she slept between Linda and me. Who knows where Molly came from. She still bore a tag that Linda discarded. She isn’t interested in Molly’s pedigree. She probably stood in some woman’s room, a thing to be admired, but not loved the way an eight-year-old can love a doll.
As an only child many of my toys survived the decades and are still loved. Now they receive from not just me, but from my grandchildren. Besides Linda’s new doll we slept with two friends of mine who were delighted to have arms around them. Benjie Bear and Sleepy the Lamb were made real again when Linda snuggled them in her arms two nights running. She didn’t care that their white “fur” is now gray or that Benjie is missing an eye. Normally Benjie gets to hold my cell phone at night just in case I hear from Dave or, God forbid, my mother falls and the security company calls me. This weekend the cell phone stayed on the night stand and Benjie and Sleepy looked quite happy to have other duties and to be real again.