I should explain first that I was a child in the 1940s growing up in a small town in a remote area in Tennessee. These were the days when people cut their own Christmas trees and decorated them with strings of lights that were forever going dark because if one bulb burned out, the entire string quit burning.
But there were compensations too, of course. The fun of looking for the perfect tree, the magic of the bubble lights (which wouldn’t bubble if you couldn’t make them stand up straight). There were glittery garlands and pretty glass balls, but best of all was the smell of the evergreen. It permeated the house and brought with it a sense of anticipation for opening the packages under the tree.
Looking back on those days, I recall one gift I received that still stands out from all the others. We didn’t have a lot of money to spend on gifts, so some ingenuity was required to come up with items that were special. I don’t recall how old I was when I received the doll that still stands out in my memory. She wasn’t a fancy doll. Painted-on hair, cloth body, and rubber arms and legs. Her eyes closed and opened though. But what made her special was her wardrobe. My mother, who was an excellent seamstress, had created all sorts of outfits for that doll. There were dresses with embroidered bodices and matching hats, sunsuits and matching caps, hooded raincoats made out of plastic with matching rubber boots, coats, flannel pajamas…well, you get the idea.
I took that doll to school with me on various occasions, always dressed for the weather. (You could take toys to school in those days.) I still have some of those outfits. The doll, alas, eventually succumbed to the ravages of time: her rubber arms and legs deteriorated and her stuffing came out. Her eyes, symbolically perhaps, remained determinedly closed. Fortunately, she still lives as fresh as ever in my memory.
What about you? Do you remember a favorite gift? I sincerely hope so.