Danna Alvey

As a child I lived with my mother and abusive step-father in an apartment above my grandmother. Screaming and hitting was frequent, and love was scarce. I felt lonely, helpless, and abandoned in my situation. If it had not been for my Aunt Anne taking me to her home to escape at times, I never would have experienced love.

In the early 60's, I had seen a doll with whom I fell in love. Her name was "Lonely Lisa." She had sad, large brown eyes which looked at me as if she was saying, "I know how you feel. We can love one another. We both needed love, and I would cradle her at night, seeking comfort from her when I needed it most. I talked, and she listened. She knew all my secrets.

One of my favorite times was visiting my grandmother's summer home on a small island. I decided Lisa would love the island as much as I did, and decided to bring her. I would spend several weeks and often weekends here on this beautiful Maine Island, and loved every minute of it. But, as I grew, I got busy with other things, and Lisa was often left, forgotten amidst my adventures of swimming, books, and boys.

I left my home at 17 under very strained circumstances, and in my attempt to get my things, I was told Lisa didn't belong to me anymore. I had "not taken care of her," and she would be passed on to my cousin who "always took care of her things." I was devastated knowing no one could know Lisa like I did. No one could love her like I did. I knew what she needed, and she knew everything about me!

Over the years, I asked several more times. I now had a family of my own with two children. I would have loved to have had my daughter share my doll. But, by this time, everyone thought the doll was my cousin's, and doubted my story. Only my older sister knew the truth and the heartache of having my doll taken from me. More years went by, and every once in awhile when I would see a young child cradle her doll, I would be reminded of the love Lisa gave me.

This past fall, my sister and I planned a trip to Maine to help my mom. My mom never showed up, and once again, I felt that feeling of loneliness and abandonment. Even though I am now 49 years old, those feelings can come up so easily.

We decided to visit the island home. My Aunt Anne and her husband had since remodeled it, but it still smelled of that wonderful mixture of salt air, green grass, old wood, and generations of cooking. As my Aunt expressed her apology for all that was taken from us, my wonderful sister, unbeknownst to me, told my Aunt there was a doll in that house which belonged to me. My Aunt had not remembered it, but went and looked for her.

As we were leaving for the boat, my Aunt came out to the car with a long package wrapped in tissue paper. She smiled and said, "I know it's not much, but this is for you."

My heart started to pound when she handed me the package. I could feel it was a doll, but I was too afraid to hope it might be my doll. When I un wrapped the tissue paper, there were those beautiful, sad, eyes looking at me as if to say, "I've been waiting for you to find me." I cried with gratitude as I realized my childhood friend had finally come home.