A Doll Tale

This was a short free-writing assignment we were given to describe an incident of a parent’s disapproval ….

It was my eighth birthday and memory of the day stands out vividly in my mind … the cake, the gathered family and the brightly papered boxes that were my gifts.

I loved dolls.  I had only a few and this birthday my mother favoured me with a beauty. She almost three feet tall with curly black hair and deep chocolate skin in a puffy dress of lace and crinolines.  I was smitten at first sight and oblivious to the harsh words spoken in Italian by my grandmother.  She was always speaking harshly about something but I never understood a word.  My mother and her glared at each other across the table.

The next day I was surprised when my grandmother returned to visit with an extra gift. This was unprecedented.

To my delight, there was a new doll – identical to the beauty I had received yesterday.  Her skin was white.

My grandmother glared at her daughter-in-law and smiled with satisfaction.

About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
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13 Responses to A Doll Tale

  1. sueslaght says:

    A wonderful glimpse into your family history!


  2. Cripes. One-upwomanship even for a child’s birthday… I’d be interested to know if you knew why there was friction, and if your mother reacted. I bet she didn’t give the doll back – I have a sneaky feeling she won the battle by being graceful about it for your sake.


    • joannesisco says:

      The bigger story was that my grandmother actually disapproved of my mother. My father married a non-Italian … the HORROR!
      I remember having both dolls – I got to keep both of them, but it was years later before my mother explained what happened and why I had two of them.
      The animosity between my mother and her mother-in-law was never a secret.


  3. Magdalena says:

    Powerful. An early introduction to the notion that adults can be wrong.


    • joannesisco says:

      Absolutely! – and a reminder that ideas/beliefs fall out of favour and in hindsight appear – at best – silly. I can’t help wonder sometimes what the future generations will say about us.


  4. Very surprising and believable! Do you know if you knew at the time the significance of the second doll… Other than luckily getting two!


    • joannesisco says:

      No – I was pretty clueless as a kid. My mother explained years later when we were reminiscing about random stuff. I remembered the 2 dolls so well – she filled in the blanks and I was pretty shocked.


  5. nancytex2013 says:

    Nonna knows best. 😉


  6. davecenker says:

    Do you know what I like best about this piece? The openness of it, the ability for the reader to draw their own conclusions without explicitly supplying one. Very well done 🙂


    • joannesisco says:

      Thank you. I appreciate the comment. I worried somewhat about writing a piece that involved racism. It’s one of those things we know exists and we see it in small (and big) ways all the time … we just don’t talk about it.


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