My first doll. She's 25 years old.My great aunt was so ugly as a child that my great grandmother made her wear a veil when they left the house. She wore that veil in public until she was nine years old.

My grandmother wasn’t wanted so my great grandmother held the infant out then let go. She dropped her and broke her hip. She never walked right again. She was given to a family to raise which left the ugly child at the mercy of my great grandmother. There was no mercy, not even as an adult.

group My great aunt loved dolls. She dedicated a room to dolls. Show cases were built and each doll had its place. From Shirley Temple to the original Cabbage Patch. Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. She had them all. At first I thought it was freaky but I began to look at each fold in the garment, the hair, the material the doll was made of. Soon my great aunt joined me in the room and shared stories
about them.

I believe the collection was the only thing that pointed to her real self.Dolls all

She never moved from home.

She had a long time boyfriend who lived in a small house on the back lot. The only time he came in the main house was when my great grandmother left on errands. My aunt was taunted saying her boyfriend was a homosexual. Not even her brother, whose house was on my great grandmother’s property, could resist a jab here and there.

She could not be loved. She could not be free from abuse until her mother died at the age of 95. I was 15 years old when she died of cancer. In some ways she changed and ceased violence and harmful speech, but it turned out to be too little to late. My great aunt died a year later. She never had the chance to be loved without being belittled for thinking she was lovable. She never got the chance to take off her veil and walk out of the doll cases where she stored her passion.

Despite saying I will never collect dolls, I do have a substantial collection. The first one I purchased was 25 years ago. She’s named after my great aunt who intrigued and inspired me. This is my one and only collection. I don’t collect trinkets of frogs or little ducks ( little duck was my nickname growing up. I still use it ).

I appreciate the little bit of time I got with my aunt. Her legacy isn’t that she was a doll collector. Her legacy is one of sight. She showed me the details and how beauty is often missed as people move about life so quickly, in such a hurry.

She was loved. I wasn’t able to tell her but, she was loved.

Written – Sunday June 12, 2016 / 11:58 pm EST

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