A glimpse of life as a small child. Christmas. Family life. Toys.
| Christmas peaked for me when I was six and a half years old; I received the best present in my whole life.
An obscure fact known only to myself and now to you, dear reader, is that I was the first child to issue an Amber Alert for her own doll. It was November, 1959 in a small town in rural Northern Minnesota. My favorite doll went missing and I was suffering horribly at the loss because for a little girl who plays dolls all the time, this was a devastating catastrophe. After searching everywhere myself, it occurred to me that Roger Hackney, the red-headed neighborhood bully from across the street, could have stolen my dolly and hidden it in a snow bank or maybe he pulled off its arms and burned it in the dirty barrel behind his house. The worst could have happened. I needed help. I enlisted the aid of my mother and two sisters, Susan and Nancy, to find my precious baby. We searched inside and out- whether in rain, sleet or snow... Wait, that’s the postman delivering the mail, right?
Our house was situated on a corner right across from the ice skating rink and “the bully’s” house was kitty-cornered across the street. Every day when I went skating I shook my fist at his house telling him “he better not have my doll.” Somehow, I felt better yelling at him be it in absentia.
Until the “kidnapping” of my doll I had loved living in our safe little town. The status quo was just right. Our house was cool because the outside was my favorite color: aqua shakes. The only big problem I had in life was fighting with my older sister about who had to clean our room or which of us got to run errands for the elderly neighbor lady next door. She paid us a nickel to run to the Mercantile two blocks away to buy eggs and milk. With five cents I was rich enough to buy plenty of penny candy. Our younger sister was still too little to be factored into the windfall because she broke the eggs the only time she was allowed to go. But now, facing life alone, without my favorite doll, life was a bit bleak.
My dolls were my constant companions. I wandered through the house searching and searching for my baby. My Mother tried to get me interested in my second favorite activity, reading books, but nothing could satisfy me. Then one day I discovered my doll tucked into a corner of the play box. Life was good again. I decided even the interloper, my new baby sister, Debbie, was a keeper.
But Christmas Eve brought the biggest surprise of all. From a hiding place in the basement, Dad and Mom brought our Christmas presents up to be opened. I couldn’t believe my eyes; my gifts were so wonderful. My doll had a brand new wardrobe of dresses, skirts, blouses, and a coat. I recall a blue skirt that had a real waistband with snaps that actually closed. There was a cream colored doll suitcase with red piping to pack clothes for important traveling and a matching red baby stroller to strut around town. I was beside myself with joy.
The mystery of my doll's missing days was finally explained. Mom and Dad had loaned my doll to the minister's daughter, Lisa Holten, to sew a wardrobe so I could play “dress up” with my doll. “The Doll Caper” produced the best Christmas present in the whole world.