Sandra Laughlin

The summer before I started first grade, my father sent me a Tiny Tears baby for my sixth birthday. I thought she was the most beautiful baby, and I was in awe of her ability to cry real tears! She was a really special baby and I had named her Wanda.

This was the same summer that my mother’s brother brought home his new bride, my new Aunt Ann. And much to my surprise, I had also inherited a new cousin. Her name was Patty Jean.

Well, Patty Jean marched into the house, took one look at me and Wanda and said, “Hmmph. Betsy Wetsy is better than Tiny Tears!”

This, of course, upset me to no end and I started wailing and hid behind my grandmother. To this, she promptly told me to stop acting like a baby and to take my new cousin to my room and play. Which was the last thing I wanted to do after she had insulted Wanda.

I turned and headed to my room, and she followed, where we proceeded to get into a huge fight over the merits of Tiny Tears vs. Betsy Wetsy. Suddenly, she took Wanda from my arms and promptly pulled off her head!!

Well, if a 6-year-old could see red, I did at that moment! The nearest thing I could grab happened to be the tin shovel out of my sand pail, which I proceeded to whack her over the head with.

The blow landed just above her right eye and the blood started to pour! She screamed and went running to her mother (my new Aunt Ann) who promptly fainted in the middle of my grandmother's kitchen floor. My uncle, who was really a stern sort of fellow, came looking for me while my grandmother attended a bleeding child and a semi-conscious aunt who couldn't abide the sight of blood.

After I screamed out my story and he coaxed me out from under the bed, he brought me and Patty Jean to the parlor, sitting me in one corner and her in another, daring either of us to move. He then went to check on his new bride, who was recovering on my grandmother's bed. Minutes seemed like hours as we waited for him to return. Neither of us spoke, as it was all we could do to breathe through all the snuffling and tears.

After what seemed like an eternity, as we sat there waiting for what we both knew would be a severe punishment, Uncle Bob re-entered the room. He looked at us both for a long moment, then from behind his back, he pulled Wanda - and her head was back on her shoulders!! He had me apologize to Patty Jean for hitting her on the head, then had her apologize to me for pulling off Wanda's head, then we had to kiss and make up. And then, my wonderful Uncle Bob had her apologize to Wanda for pulling off her head! (I did feel like I had won at that moment!) We were both so relieved that he hadn't spanked us, that we went back to my room and proceeded to play together the rest of the day.

My grandmother and both Uncle Bob and Aunt Ann are no longer with us, but we still have the memories of the day we first met. Patty Jean still has a teeny little scar over her eye, and I still have Wanda, but the best thing is that we still have each other.