Teresa Bridges

I had a very large and rather poor family, so we never exchanged gifts except parents to their kids, and spouses with each other. I got one baby doll from the Sears catalog each Christmas, and a Barbie on my birthdays.

When I was about six, my brother who was a year and a half older than me was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Then one day one of my uncles shows up with a large walking doll for me. She had short hair and looked like somebody's mom. My parents could never have afforded a doll like her. My uncle got her cheap because he worked for the factory that made her, and she was flawed in some way.

I hated that doll.

I refused to play with her and hid her in the back of my closet under other things. My mom was very upset with me. We were not allowed to waste things or show disrespect - and I was doing both.

Ever since then I have hated the large walking dolls. I thought it was strange because I loved the kid-sized mannequins, and pretty much every other kind of doll but I never really gave it much thought.

Just recently I was telling my husband about not liking them. Without even realizing it, I told him "I only got that doll because my brother was dying." Then I knew why I didn't like that type of doll.

And after a bit of soul searching I like them now. As long as they don't look too much like her.