A Lost Art by J-Dub
I had quite the collection of dolls. These are not from the E-Bay collectibles. These were cleaned up and sent to St. PJs.
The dolls’ outfits tell a story. The aqua/white dress and the red with cherries dress were handmade by my Aunt Annie. From scratch without a pattern. From material scraps left over from shirts made for me.
I’ll never forget the summer when my brother and I stayed with her &
Uncle George. My mom was in the hospital for the mastectomy; her first bout
with breast cancer. As the two youngest, we were shipped off to save us from
seeing anything bad that might scar us.
I was six going on seven. I had no idea the extent of mom’s illness. All I knew
is I wasn’t happy to stay there two whole months. I remember adding big X’s in
red crayon across the calendar moving closer to the date circled in purple to
signify our return. I was miserably homesick. Sewing was something done to
distract me. I helped very little. Mostly I watched in amazement. What a
talent. A lost art.
George & Annie owned the local meat market. We went with them to work and
we played around doing our best to stay out of trouble. Closing my eyes I see
the double wooden doors open wide and the two swinging screen doors with the
Buttercrust sign. An old time cash register sits on a bar that had candy jars
in rows right next to it. The front part of the store was a small grocery with
only two rows of shelves for canned goods, cleaning supplies, or paper products
and an even smaller produce section in the corner. On the back porch sat the
picnic tables for patio dining and a six foot long cooler with the sodas. All
in glass bottles. Treats we rarely got at home. And of course I can still smell
the smoke and BBQ.
The market closed up @ 3 pm and we’d go back to their place. There were
animals to take care of and supper to make before what seemed like the longest
evenings in my life. Out in the sticks, there was awful reception. And TV was
for lazy people anyway per Auntie. We played lots of board games. And of course
I had my dolls. Treasures. No wonder mom couldn’t give them away.
For all the coping mechanisms out there now, childhood play still ranks
supreme. Though at the time, I had no idea. Now I believe playing with my dolls
is what helped me deal with things my young brain couldn’t fully understand. I mentioned I was six going on seven. Mom survived the breast cancer and even had a 2nd battle with breast cancer when I
was nine. She eventually would pass away from cancer of unknown origin when I
was 33. But that is a story for another day.
As always, more to come.