Betty F Coger

I just had my doll restored and was thinking back on that Christmas when I got her ...

It was 1947. I was eight years old. My mother and father were separated and we were living with my mother’s parents on their farm in Madison County, Arkansas. I had two brothers and two sisters, all younger than me.

We had all picked out what we really wanted Santa to bring us from the Sears and Roebuck catalog. I chose a beautiful blonde doll that had teeth, her eyes opened and closed, and she cried “Mama.”

But as Christmas came near, Mother said times were really tough and Santa was having a rough time and we might not get the toys we asked for this Christmas, but we might get something in our stockings, candy, fruit and maybe some nuts.

I knew my grandmother was making me something on the sewing machine. We accepted what we were told and didn't make a fuss because that is just the way it was.

So life went on as usual with Christmas getting closer. A few days before Christmas we cut a tree, put it up and decorated it. We made our own decorations.

On Christmas Eve, we children could hardly go to sleep because we could hear the grown ups scurrying about in the living room. So we got up and peeked through a cracked bedroom door only to be told to get to bed or Santa might skip our house.

The next morning, we jumped up to see if Santa had left anything. The doll I had wanted was sitting under the tree. I couldn't believe my eyes, ran and picked her up. She was even prettier than in the catalog.

We did also get candy, fruit, and nuts in our stockings, but I will never forget my surprise or how happy I was.

Years later I asked my mother about that Christmas. She told me that my father had sent money to get presents for us, and it arrived in time to order from the catalog.