Ann Wilbanks

Now, that I am in the autumn of my life and winter soon approaches, I fondly remember my grandmother's farm, and my aunt's special doll . . .

My sisters all clamored around her. They talk, play and welcome her into out circle. Her beauty could only emphasize her small child like frame.

Brown curls peek outside her adorned bonnet. Rosy cheeks displayed a slight grin flaunting her pearly white teeth and ruby red lips. Her delicate skin is soft as fresh plucked rose petals on a spring day. Her colorful blouse and skirt of red, yellow, and green is perfect for this rare and special occasion.

We sat upon our grandmother's warm quilted bed and spread out a blanket to sit upon. Our party is just about to begin.

We place her upon a pillow. Dainty tiny pink flowered saucers and cups are spread about. We chatter about the new puppies that had been born. We chatter about the eggs that we plucked from the chicken's nest, and the rabbits that had got out of their pen that day. The tea, that is only imagined, drips from our cups. Do we want cream or sugar or both? We deliberate and debate on which is our favorite cookie. Is it chocolate chip, sugar, or peanut butter cookie? We giggle and laugh.

My aunt opens the bedroom door. A huge oval portrait of some distant relative taps the wall. The aroma of Grandmother's fresh baked bread floods the small room.

"It's time to put her up. Lunch is almost ready," my young aunt commands.

"Can I pick up everything? O.K.?" I begged. My aunt gently smiled. Does my aunt know? My sisters and aunt leave the room.

Now, my secret unfolds.

I am left alone with her. While I put away the tea set, I tell her a make believe story about a dog and a cat becoming friends. I pick her up. She cries. I hug her gently. Soon, I must say goodbye. I quietly sing (so no one will hear) my favorite lullaby,

"Hush little baby don't say a word
Mama's going to buy you a Mockingbird
If that Mockingbird don't sing
Mama's going to buy you a diamond ring"

and on with song I sang.

As I place her into her bed, she closes her eyes. She rests upon a cushion of clothing. She peacefully slumbers and will be safe and warm. I close the lid of the cardboard box. Later, my Aunt will lodge the box upon the top shelf of the closet. My Aunt Glady's very special doll is just . . . asleep in the box.

I wrote this for our family project, "Genealogy Scrapbook". I noticed that in the few family photos, I had a doll in my hands. . . because I loved them so. . . Today, so many years later, she sits upon my dresser - her brown curls peek outside her adorned bonnet.