Marie Carlson

The first doll I remember owning was a big vinyl baby doll with sleep eyes and two front teeth that would fall into her head when they were pushed on too hard. I got her for Christmas the year I was five.

I can remember opening the box and staring in wonder at the beautiful doll with blonde curly hair, blue eyes and a blue dress on. When I lift her from the box - to my horror - her head stayed in the box. I was devastated, but my mother assured me we would take her back to Santa's Workshop and they would give me a new one.

As soon as possible my mother and I took the bus to Eaton's Department store and went to Customer Service. Santa's helpers told me they couldn't fix my baby but would give me a new one. The only problem was that they didn't have any blonde haired ones left; I had to take one with brown hair, brown eyes and a pink dress.

I named her Maryellen and she became my constant companion. As long as I believed in Santa Claus I was convinced that his workshop was at Eaton's Customer Service Department!