Donna Hodge

I am the oldest of six children, all of them were destructive little monsters, except for me, of course.

The last dolly under the Christmas tree for me was a beautiful Chatty Baby by Mattel. I was 11 years old. The year was 1963. Chatty Baby was my first talking doll and I was overjoyed.

Knowing how my previous Christmas dolls met their untimely demise at the hands of my five little siblings, I was determined that my precious Chatty would never be subjected to that eye gouging, scissor wielding, magic marker bunch! Oh no, this doll was special, she would never be stripped and ripped, tossed and tumbled, or even touched by anyone other than myself.

As I clutched my Chatty in a death grip that early Christmas morning, I boldly stated the rules to my four sisters and my little brother. NO ONE was to even think of touching this doll or they would live to regret it.

I carried Chatty with me until bedtime. Not one of them dared to venture close enough to touch my doll. I hid her under my bedcovers while I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth before bed.

When I returned - horrors of Christmas Day! There stood my sister Deb, who was seven at the time. She had my precious Chatty stuck between her knees and the doll's pull string yanked half way out! I let out a scream that rattled the shutters as I lunged to rescue my poor Chatty.

I grabbed the doll and jerked her away with all my might. Chatty started to say, "Baby Go Night-Night", but the only part of her sweet phrase this time was, "Baby Go...Niiiii". I watched in horror as her string retracted back into her little body, COMPLETELY into her body and out of sight. Deb was still holding half the string and the little pull ring in her sweaty little hands!!

I will never forget that Christmas as long as I live. The wonderful doll that I had planned to keep forever didn't even make it past Christmas night.

In spite of my threats of bodily harm, I somehow managed to let my sister live to see many more Christmases