The other day, over the telephone, my mother and I were remembering this incident. I've already written about it on this blog before (Nov. 2007), but reprint it here, as I think it's a nice little Christmas story and because it has taken on a new significance this year.
The Black Doll
We were very poor, and the blonde, blue-eyed doll cost $12.00, which for us, in 1974, was a lot to spend on a four-year-old. So we bought her the brown-skinned, black-haired version of the same doll, for half the price. It would broaden our daughter’s awareness.
That was the same Christmas my parents, in addition to inviting the whole family as usual, had invited the Brooks family. Their daughter had committed suicide earlier that year, and we didn’t want Col. and Mrs. Brooks to be alone for Christmas.
“Why did you have to go and buy a black doll just because the Brookses are coming?” asked my Mother. “What are they going to think?”
“I bought the doll before I knew they were coming!” I protested. “It has nothing to do with them! I promise, it’s just coincidence!”
So on Christmas morning, we all waited with some apprehension as Erin opened her gift (Col. and Mrs. Brooks having been forewarned). She looked at her new doll. Then she looked up at Mrs. Brooks, then down to the doll again, then up at Mrs. Brooks again. Finally she stood up, walked over to Mrs. Brooks, and held out her gift.
“If you want to play with my new dollie, you can,” said Erin. “She’s just about your size.”
"I remember how annoyed you were," I told Mom, "because you thought I had bought the black doll because Col. and Mrs. Brooks were coming, but in reality, I bought it because it was the only doll I could afford. And because I thought it would be broadening for my daughter."
She laughed. "Well, it took!"
|Erin and Her New Doll|