Sunday, December 25, 2011

baby come back

During the late fall and early winter of '76,
once a week
after school
we'd go to my Aunt Bonnie's house
and the kids would play
while my mom worked on my Christmas present.
I knew whatever it was would be really special,
because she spent a lot of time on it.
I had no idea at the time, how right I was.

Christmas morning, 1976 (8 yrs old)
Johnny arrived in yellow zippered  jammies stitched with gray thread
and I loved him immediately.
My favorite Christmas present ever!
Through all of my moves
and purges
Johnny came with me.
In Fort Smith, he lived on the green bench in the upstairs hall.
Ten or so years ago, I found a girl doll with blond braids
 at a yard sale
made from the same pattern my mom had used.
I was thrilled to have her,
but she didn't have quite the value that Johnny had to me
she didn't make the cut.
Johnny went into storage.
When he got packed away,
the plan was 1 year.
Several weeks ago,
almost 6 years after my beloved doll got stuck in a box,
we were sorting through our stored items in the shop.
My wedding veil and flowers hadn't fared well in storage
and reluctantly got tossed in the fire with a sigh.
And then,
we got to the box that Johnny was in.
For the record - plastic tubs make much better storage containers
than boxes.
Wasps and mud daubers can still get in and build nests,
but mice
and other critters
can not.
Not knowing this bit of wisdom, 
Johnny, dressed in a pair of TJ's preemie jammies,
was in a cardboard box,
and he was apparently the coziest thing in that box,
and the mice had a party with him.
Oh, how I cried.
I was going to throw him in the fire, too,
but Tyler told me not to;
said maybe he could be repaired.
I wanted to believe him, but I wasn't so sure.
Heart-sore, I obediently stuck him back in the box anyways.

Unbeknownst to me, when we went up for Thanksgiving,
Tyler brought the horribly damaged doll to my mother.
And many painstaking hours later,
she had cleaned and repaired him!

Mom said he was bobbing around in his soak water
so she added some weight to hold him under
and when she uncovered him - this is what she found.
He was just waiting to be re-born.

She sent him back as 'a present from Santa' with TJ.
(who had no clue what was in the package).
His jammies were irredeemable,
but Johnny himself
looks good as new.
I'm sooo glad I didn't toss him in that fire!

 The little kids didn't see what the big deal was,
why Momma was crying over a doll;
but the big boys, and Tyler,
they knew.
With the exception of photographs,
he is the only piece of my childhood 
that survived all my purges.
The one earthly thing
that means the world to me.

Thank-you, Mom, for giving Johnny new life.
And thank-you, Love,
for rescuing him from the flames.


  1. As a former doll lover that story is PRECIOUS! I have a similiar girl doll...somewhere...that my grandmother had someone make for me. Your sweet story makes me want to go looking for her!

    Your mom did an awesome job!!

  2. :') he looks pretty good! I am so glad he is better now. I cried when i told luke about him and the mice... great job, Gramma! (love the picture of him waiting to be reborn, and i REALLY love the picture of your face, when you saw him in the box! thanks for sharing pictures of you!)

    Love you, mommy!!

  3. Alicia had to pass around the kleenex when we read this yesterday, and now I am crying again. I am so glad Johnny could be saved! It always amazes me...your memorys..and details of things from childhood. I don't seem to remember a whole lot, and I know I don't have anything that could compare to what that doll meant for you. I am glad you have him back! what a wonderful suprise! and since he really doesn't take up that much space, lets not put him in storage ever again! LOL! love you sis!

  4. It is precious !- I was delighted Johnny came thru so perfectly!! His blue eyes seem to shine even more!! Yes, we all needed Kleenex! Isn't that just like Jesus to care about a little girl's childhood gift! So glad you were surprised! the pictures show your heart for Johnny!!(the date on Johnny in water photo s/b 12/20/11- not know how to fix the date thing)
    Love you, Tracy!

  5. Tracy - I'm coming over from Mami Dearest. This post bought me to tears! How wonderful that someone captured that moment for you. I truly hope my dolls are loved as much as you love yours :)


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