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!

    Like

  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.

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    • 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.

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  3. Magdalena says:

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

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    • 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.

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  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!

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    • 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.

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  5. nancytex2013 says:

    Nonna knows best. 😉

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  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 🙂

    Like

    • 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.

      Like

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