Donna Nelson

It was Christmas of 1954 and the popular baby doll for that year was Tiny Tears. Every year Santa seemed to find his way to our house, and leave one baby doll to add to my family of dolls. But this year would be more special than others as I would have my first little baby that would drink and wet, blow bubbles, and cry real tears; not like my other dolls that would just sit there, and do nothing.

Christmas was nearing, nights became sleepless as I awaited the birth of my new Tiny Tears baby doll, and would soon become a new mommy, at least that's what I was hoping for if Santa remembered to bring the right doll. But why should I worry, as Santa seemed to know what special doll I wanted every year. I was nine when I found out who Santa really was and how he knew what to bring me each Christmas -- but that's another story!

Anyway, Christmas morning finally arrived, and lo and behold, Tiny Tears sat under the Christmas tree in her box with all her accessories -- her pretty pink dress, hat and panties and her bubble pipe! She smelled so sweet and I was so proud of my new baby. I played all day taking care of her and there was this special bond between us but then ...

My relatives came over the next day with my two-year old cousin Vicky Lynn. Back then in the 1950s while growing up, my brother and I were taught to share our toys with others, and yes, I had to share my cherished Tiny Tears doll with my cousin. Tiny Tears had a hard plastic head that could be easily cracked if mistreated and the first thing my cousin did was pick up Tiny Tears and hit the dolls head against the closet door in the hallway. Poor Tiny Tears, she never had a chance. Mom gave me a look as if to indicate that I was not to say anything or show any emotion over the incident. If a heart was ever broken, it was at that moment -- my Tiny Tears was broken and my tiny tears of sadness flowed within me for years later. My Tiny Tears with her cracked head was thrown in the trash with all her accessories, including her bubble pipe.

Finally, 35 years later after raising a family, and then becoming a Grandmother, I found another Tiny Tears at a doll show. My newly acquired Tiny Tears would never replace the one that I had received back in 1954 for Christmas but I still love her. She has since become the sister of many other Tiny Tears that have filled my home with love as the memories of childhood, both good and bad, linger on -- and I even was fortunate enough to find a bubble pipe!