Shirley Hartman

I was raised on an old farm in a remote part of Western Colorado. We moved there when I was four years old in 1941, and we stayed there until I was in the 5th grade. We were pretty poor as far as worldly possessions but rich in family closeness, and good Christian values.

My younger brother and I only got one item each from Santa for Christmas. One year my dear grandmother came to spend Christmas with us, she brought with her a big old composition doll which she had obtained from someone and she had attempted to restore. She had painted her face (probably with a paint brush) re-painted her eyebrows, lips, and dressed her in a small child's dress.

I remember my delight, and surprise to find what Santa had brought me on Christmas morning. She was my constant companion. I had quite an imagination, I told her stories, secrets, dressed her in some of my little brother’s baby clothes, and literally loved her to pieces. She was the only doll I had.

When my brother was four years old, being like a typical little boy, he took my big doll outside and left her out behind the house. The weather was rainy. Of course I didn’t miss her until a day later, and began looking for her. When I finally discovered her she was in the saddest state, it seemed as if she had melted. The water had done something terrible to her composition.

My heart was broken - I missed her so much. I didn't get another doll until a couple of years later. Nothing could replace my big old “friend.”

As years went by I forgot my old doll until one day I was looking through eBay, and saw a big old 27-inch baby doll. There was my baby doll looking back at me. She had a few problems but I didn’t care, I had to have her. I didn’t even know how to bid but decided to jump in and get my feet wet.

I bid the minimum and was devastated when someone outbid me. I thought I had lost her - you will never know how that affected me. It was as if I was re-living the loss of my old doll all over again. Anyhow, my dear husband said, “Go ahead and put in another bid ... a big one this time.”

I won, and I could hardly contain myself until she arrived.

She was just perfect! She has brown eyes like my dear 85-year-old mother, and black hair like my mother had when she was a baby so my husband said we should call her “Lois,” after my mother. I cleaned her up, did a few tiny repairs on her cloth body, sewed the prettiest dress and bonnet for her.

I woke up one day, and found Lois sitting in the cutest antique high chair, right in the living room. My husband had found the high chair at an auction, and thought it would be the perfect place to display our new addition. He loves her smile and she has the special place in our living room. I sometimes see him grinning when he looks at her.

I truly am in my “second childhood” as I am 66 years old this year ... and I am loving it. I feel content with my precious Baby Lois. I’m so glad I found her.