Friday, December 10, 2010
Disturbing Dawn Doll
I would like to introduce you to this maimed Dawn doll from my childhood. I have no memory of how she lost the bottom half of her arm, and I was not one of those kids who engage in doll abuse. I do admire her chutzpah in wearing a newly fashionable cold-shoulder dress.
I was reunited with Dawn three or so years ago. I think it was Mother's Day, and I was at Glen Island Park in New Rochelle, N.Y. with my mother, my grandmother, my kids and my husband. As my mother and son fished, my grandmother reached into her pocket and handed me the doll.
I was startled by her hacked off stump, and I didn't recognize her. It's certainly possible that we used to hang out, as my once photographic memory has gotten a bit wobbly. I do recall playing with Dawn, the more diminutive Barbie knockoff, just not an injured one. "When her arm broke your mother didn't want you to have it any more," Grandma explained. "So I put it in a drawer." This did not surprise me, as the woman saved everything. She hung onto Dawn for almost forty years! She actually packed it and moved with it, twice. I imagine her thought process on this: "Some day Chrissy will find a man, God help her, and maybe she'll squeeze out a daughter before her ovaries dry up, and that daughter will certainly want the opportunity to play with a one-and-a-half armed doll from the late sixties." Grandma wanted permission to give Dawn to my daughter Violet, so I said ok. My mother, cranky from chemo, shook her head disgustedly.
The other day Violet and I were playing, and she wanted to develop a story line about how Dawn lost her arm. I suggested that she was injured by a shark while surfing, inspired by an article we had done while I was at ym. Violet loved that.
You've got to cherish your family heirlooms, such as they are.