Ever since I was a tiny little girl, I have loved babies and dolls.
I received my favorite doll for Christmas the year I was five. To me, she looked like a real baby and when you turned her over she cried, "Mama, Mama", and when you laid her down her eyes would close. I named her Susan Marie. I had many dolls which I loved and spent long and happy hours playing with them. I loved pushing them in my doll buggy and changing their clothes and diapers like most little girls love to do, but none of them were ever as special to me as Susan Marie.
Because of my father's vocation as a minister who started new churches, we moved just about every two years of my young life. It seemed like every time I made a new best friend, it was time to move again so my dolls became like "friends" who were a constant in my life, and they were very important to me.
When I went away to college, I forgot about my dolls until I got married and had my first baby girl Laurie , my very own real live doll. At this time, I phoned my mother - who still lived in California while I had moved to Tennessee to ask her to please send my dolls. When my mother said, "Oh Honey, I sold your dolls many years ago at a garage sale", I thought I was going to have a stroke, but I never let her know how devastated I was about that.
I sincerely believe the reason for which I started collecting dolls is that I was always searching trying to find and replace a doll just like Susan Marie which had been sold at that garage sale. Of course, I forgave my mother for selling my dolls, and she lived to be 102 years old and never knew how sad I was about losing all of my dolls in such a shocking way.
During this past February, I flew from Florida to Montana to visit one of my college roommates. She knows of my love for dolls so she took me to see her sister's doll collection in Kalispell. There in the corner of her log cabin, way back in the deep woods high up on the side of a snow covered mountain, sat an antique doll buggy which held a doll exactly like my "Susan Marie". For at least the past 50 years, I have looked for that doll in every antique store I have come across in many states and have never seen another one like her until that magical day in Kalispell.
Upon standing back and observing my sheer joy, delight and wonder at seeing the likeness of my favorite and dearly longed for doll, this dear, dear woman GAVE me the beautiful doll of my five- year -old -child -heart ! I will NEVER get over the thrill and fulfillment of what I truly believe to be a gift from God.
Susan Marie now graces my home with splendor as she sits in my childhood antique rocker lined with a hand crocheted baby blanket which was a gift to my mother when I was born 70 years ago. She is a constant reminder that the Bible is true where it says, "Delight thyself in the Lord, and He will give thee the desires of thy heart".