Roberta Jackson

I am the youngest of four girls in my family, which was poor in the sense of money, but rich in love and spirit. Barbara was the oldest, being twelve years my senior, and has recently passed on due to complications of breast cancer. The story begins when I was eight years old and Barbara was twenty, she had a job and her own money. As far as I can remember, Mother and Daddy scraped by on his meager salary, but we seemed to have everything we needed, but hardly anything we wanted.

That Christmas when I was eight, I woke up to the little Christmas tree and a very large box with my name on it from Barbara. I was in little girl shock when I saw Patty Paypal that morning for the first time. I kept that doll through the years. Being my favorite she had been in trunks and boxes, moving when I got married.

My husband and I bought and sold several houses, packed and moved each time. My Patty was carefully boxed and moved also. After many years her arms and legs came off, but she was still there. I would get her repaired “someday.”

I still have her original shoes if nothing else. Somewhere in all those moves, she had been left in a house stored somewhere. I mourned for the loss, but could not find her.

Several years later, I was in a small store around the corner where I worked. My friend and I just happened to see this little new store and decided to check it out. I very seldom bought anything, because my husband and I did not have much money to spare, with two young sons.

As I was walking around and around seeing old familiar objects, I turned into a small room, and looked straight in the eyes of a little girl. I stopped, stood very still, tears began filling my eyes, my nose tickled with the threat of crying and shoulders heaving. I reached out and picked up my baby, Patty Playpal, remembering the feel of her, the smell of her and the precious little half smile on her face.

I studied every wrinkle on her daintily formed fingers, her little nose and flushed cheeks. My friend came around the corner and asked me what was wrong and said I looked like I just saw a ghost. I turned the doll to her and said “I know that face, this is my baby, ’Patty.’ I’ve found her and won’t leave her here without me.”

I bought her on the spot, not thinking twice about the $80 I paid.

Fixed up and under lucite, Patty stands in my dining room. Several years went by, Barbara passed on. While my mother, sisters and I helped clear Barbara’s things out of her house, we found boxes of pictures, including one of me and Patty on that great Christmas morning that I had never seen before.

I cried for real that day and have a new meaning of “knowing that face.”