Jackie Medley

When I was a little girl, I used to love to go to my grandparent’s house in Arkansas. They had a huge house full of treasures. Antiques galore in a huge, mysterious basement, an even bigger yard and lots of empty bedrooms set aside for children and grandchildren, ready for a week of pontoon boating on Grandpa’s boat ....

One day, while I was exploring where I really should not have been, I came across a very large chest in one of the guest bedrooms. Once inside, I found myself lifting the layers of blankets, only to find an old doll lying on the bottom of the chest.

Dry rotting and kind of musty smelling, she was brushed off by my relatives as just one of the dolls they must have played with, but I thought she was beautiful! I carried her around all the time I was there, and when her left arm tore in half, my mom put black electrical tape around it for me.

Her pink taffeta dress faded, no socks or shoes, dirty plastic arms and legs, and old, rotting rubber bands in her two red braids were her claim to fame. I loved her so much, in fact, that I put her right back in that chest just before I left each visit, hoping no other grandchildren would find her.

Years passed, and I forgot all about that doll. When I was in my mid twenties, I went to that house for the first time in about ten years, to help “tie loose ends” after the death of my grandfather. My grandmother could no longer take care of herself, so she was in an assisted living home. I was in that spare room with my cousin, and by chance, my eyes fell on the chest.

Suddenly, the doll snapped into my head as if I had just set her down. I walked over and opened the trunk, lifted the blankets ... and there she was, face down, just as I had left her as a child. Now, nearly five years later, I don't know what to do with her. I don't have the heart to replace any part of her, but I know that is the only way I could restore her.

So in my closet here in Chicago she lies, in a plastic bag and here I am, trying to find out what to do. But, at least she’s were she belongs.

That was the most precious thing I could have flown home with me! I even took her with me into the cabin on the plane, so she would not get jostled.