Deb Troehler

The living room was always my favorite room to go to in our farmhouse in the country. While most children may think a living room is too stuffy a place for play, our room was different.

Yes, the sofa was made from lovely chintz and sitting upon it was only allowed if Momma was entertaining. To make things even more uninviting, the hard wood floors were scantily draped in very thin rugs, "decorator rugs", as Momma called them.

What drew me to this room, however, was the one long wall across the room from the fireplace. All along that wall stood huge glass cabinets, filled with Momma's dolls.

It seems like daily I would go into that room, sit on the floor directly in front of the cabinets, totally unaware of how hard and cold that wooden floor actually was. It didn't matter to me because the beauty of Momma's dolls gave me a special warm feeling inside. She had so many: dolls with pretty dresses, dolls with their own little toys, and dolls that came from faraway places. My favorite dolls to see, however, were Momma's childhood dolls.

Relegated to one shelf in particular, partially hidden by the more glamorous dolls, was Momma's own little doll family from her past. She had the entire wedding party of Nancy Ann dolls, others dressed as little girls, and very special dolls from the big department store in Washington, D.C. (I believe the store was Lord and Taylor.) Momma's own childhood dolls seemed a bit intimidated by her fancier dolls, but to me, they were the most beautiful dolls ever.

As I gazed at these dolls, I tried to imagine Momma doing the same thing many years before. These dolls, as Momma put it, were "look at" dolls, much like my Madame Alexander's. On very special days, Momma would let me sit on the sofa, as she took one or two of her dolls out of the cabinet. Each of us would hold a doll and remark how lovely they were, carefully returning them to their cabinet after our visit with them.

The days spent with Momma's dolls have given me great memories. However, these memories are not from my distant past, as a young child. They are from my days as a young woman in my twenties. By spending these wonderful moments with Momma and her dolls, I learned that we are never too old to cherish what is really important. Momma's dolls, especially the ones from her childhood, gave us a connection, an important link that joined our past to our present.

I had hoped that one day I, too, would have a daughter with whom to share moments like these. I was blessed, however, by two wonderful sons. While they are not as connected to dolls as I remain to be, when they visit my home, we sit on my carpeted floor, in front of my cabinet, and discuss dolls. I have my sister's Steiff Zotty, and one day, I hope to add some of Momma's dolls to my own collection. By doing so, Momma will continue to be with me... always.