The Baby Doll – submitted by Hanna

It was Christmas 1940. My father was in the army, my mother was working at a man’s job in a factory, and my grandmother and aunt watched over my brother, Ernie, and me. A few days before Christmas they took Ernie and me to a big toy store to see what Santa might want to bring us.

Ernie had no problem choosing. A rocking horse and a fire truck made him happy.

I saw what I wanted immediately! They had a doll, a forerunner for Barbie, I guess—very tall and slim, high heels, and a dress like Cinderella’s. I never moved from the spot all afternoon. The sales ladies were nice and talked a lot to my aunt and grandma. So we were all happy and excited on the way home.

Our tree wasn’t put up till just before Christmas; it was actually locked in the living room. Nobody could go in there till Christmas Eve.

On Christmas Eve, we ate our traditional Christmas dinner of potato salad and fried fish. (That’s how it was in Europe.) Then we heard a little bell telling us that the Kristkind had come. We all stormed into the living room. Ernie found his toys right away. I found some boxes with books and things, but no box with a doll. Then I saw it! On chair behind the tree, there was a huge doll , a baby with crooked arms, crooked legs, no hair, big and fat all over. I just couldn’t believe it. They all thought a baby doll would be so much nicer. Well, the only thing the doll did was lie there. I never forgot this Christmas.

Five years later, when the war chased us out of our homes, the doll was still sitting there, untouched. This was my worst Christmas ever, and I never wanted anything to do with babies ever again. Luckily I changed my mind by the time I grew up.

All our other Christmases were uneventful, and there is nothing that stands out until we came to Canada. It was our first year in Canada. We arrived here just before December—no money, no friends yet. But our sponsor took us to the United Church, and within days we had boxes of clothes for everybody, and all the food you could ask for. That was very nice of the church people. It made Christmas much better for us during a hard time.


7 thoughts on “The Baby Doll – submitted by Hanna

  1. Thank, Hanna. I can understand the disappointment if you had your mind set on a little princess of a doll and you got a lump of a baby instead. My only doll I ever had was one of those babies. I had no interest in getting any more dolls after that. Oh well, we survived, didn’t we? Thanks for sharing your story.

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  2. Very touching story. As for me, all I ever wanted was this Baby Doll. My fosster parents were so afraid that I destroy this doll, they never gave it to me. It was such a beautiful one! Same thing in our family – the bell rang and I stormed into the living room to the tree – all decorated with beautiful lit candles on it. I dug down to find my presents under the tree and my hair caught fire – very scary – but all went well. Oh Christmas – sweet times.

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  3. Oh Hanna…how disappointing not to have your Princess doll. I hope your Christmases now are much better. Goodness knows, you have had your share of babies!!

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  4. Isn’t it funny how a memory from one person will twig something in another person’s past. Things we hadn’t thought of in years. I love this sharing of Christmas stories.

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  5. Just one more comment from me. I told my husband this story a long time ago, and after about a year or two, he got me a Barbie for Christmas. I kept it forever.

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  6. Good husband….that was a great ending and you richly deserved that barbie I know!!!
    Brought back memories of the United Church in Nfld. where we attended faithfully for many years. I loved the choir and singing of all the favorite carols,wearing new clothes, and enjoying lots of Christmas goodies made by the Ladies Club. Merry Christmas, Hanna!

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