When she was a little girl
my mother was proud
of a doll whose smooth porcelain face
shone pinkly beneath her chestnut curls
twinkling blue eyes that went to sleep
when Opal laid her down
Dressed in rosy dimity
dainty with a fine lace peplum
her bonnet matched
Modesty satisfied, her sheer skirt
hid crochet- edged petticoats and pantaloons
Tiny socks and shoes, a precious
embroidered velvet pouch
on a chain to hang on her wrist.
When I was a little girl
the doll lay in what was left of her box
wrapped in an old white sheet
stored in Mother's quilt chest
I begged to see her, fascinated
by her age and her outfits
oh, so many!
handmade by Grandma Terrell
and Great Grandmother Curley,
my French great grandmother.
full length coat with buttons
made of blue twill and paneled -
soft pink rose patterned percale.
folded in neat stacks: print dresses, tucked bodices,
gathered skirts, nightgowns, a cap and a blanket
all discolored by age and smoke
from a family house fire.
Why didn't I ask her name?
When my granddaughters ask
to see the doll, they are intrigued
with the story, awed
at how old she is
They feel sorry that she lives in a box
I am glad no one asks her name
but I am trying to follow instructions
written in flowing pencil script
on the tattered piece from her first box:
“Take Care of Her” Santa Claus
~ Mary Ann Parker, written March 2013