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Saturday, November 22, 2008
Words Fail
But I'm sure I'll find some. I want you to look at the picture above. Looks like a box of old dolls, doesn't it? And that's exactly what it is. But it's also so much more.

A very long time ago, about 40 years ago in fact, I started talking about wanting to start a doll collection. I wanted to get a doll from every country. Not soon afterwards, I received a gift from a relative, a collection of dolls wearing native dress from countries around the world. I'll admit to being a brat and being a little disappointed. I had dreamed of the big, fancy dolls while these were small and more Barbie-like, but without her figure. Luckily, I wasn't an impolite brat. I never expressed this thought out loud and soon I would have denied it. I loved these dolls. I displayed them standing up on the bookshelves in our living room, but took them down almost daily to play with them. My best friend, Rhonda, lived down the street and we played with these dolls whenever we could.

The next part is fuzzy. I was moving. Rhonda and I were both upset and playing with these dolls. It was the last time we would play with them because I had to pack my things. On a whim, I packed my dolls into a brown grocery bag and gave them to Rhonda. I remember telling her to think of me when she played with them. Yes, I was a drama queen. What's fuzzy is the timing. I was thinking it happened when we moved away from Georgia, but my memories don't fit. If my memory is correct, I did this when we moved from our house in town to one further out. It doesn't make sense that it would be so dramatic though. On the other hand, maybe I was prescient. Rhonda was younger than me and went to private school. We rarely saw each other after we moved from the neighborhood. We would leave Georgia entirely within the next two years. Occasionally, I regretted the rashness of giving away my doll collection, but I did what felt right in the moment.

A few times in the years since I've thought about that collection and wondered what happened to it. Sometimes I thought how silly I must have seemed and doubted they had meant as much to Rhonda as they had to me.

Today, I stayed home with Sera. That's another story, but she's fine. When I went upstairs to get her up from her nap, I noticed that we had footprints coming up our driveway. Yes, footprints. We have about 10" of snow right now. When we came back downstairs, I noticed a big box on our doorstep. Through the window, I saw it was addressed to me and the return address was Rhonda's father.

What in the world?

I opened the box and found my dolls. There was a lovely note from Rhonda's mother, Geneva. They had kept the dolls all these years. Geneva and her husband still live in the same small Georgia town. I had heard years ago that Rhonda was in Atlanta, but we lost touch decades ago. Geneva included a lovely note mentioning her granddaughter had played with them often, and that Rhonda had never had children, but they had heard that I had a beautiful little girl who could now have her mother's old dolls.

Because of our moving lifestyle, these dolls would never have survived our many moves. They would have been lost or discarded years ago if they had stayed with me. By giving them away over 35 years ago, they have come back for my little girl.

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Blogger Michelle said...

What a great story!! I had a much smaller collection, but had about four or five dolls similar to the ones in your picture. Actually, if red headed doll w/ the black vest has a green, red and black skirt, then I have that actual doll!! (was that supposed to be Italy? Germany?)I have no idea where mine are. Looks like giving them away was a very smart move :)

Blogger Theresa said...

Wow! That's amazing! I guess trusting your intuition with these things is truly the right thing to do. Again, I have to say: wow!

Blogger PIPO said...

That is a beautiful story!

I love it when life brings such wonderful surprises.

Blogger Kiy said...

Oh wow, that gave me goosebumps (of the good kind!). What a wonderful story, and how kind of them to send them to you.

Blogger Tammie said...

Oh my gosh! What a beautiful story. I can't believe that Rhonda's parents took the time to find you & mail the box of dolls. How sweet of them!

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