My time on this earth began in the early 1900's. I was a tree in the forest that was chosen to become a doll.
The men whom harvested my tree and made me into chunks of wood took it to the Schilling Doll Factory in Sonneberg Thuringia Germany. I was given to a master craftsman and he began looking at the piece of wood to determine what kind of doll could be made. The man with weather beaten hands picked me up and said, “I can see you now. He was getting an image but the image he saw was his own beloved 5 yr. old daughter Gretchen. He started to carve my head and he made it have an open area on the top so that he could send me down the line to have my brown glass eyes inserted. I could now see my predicament and looked at the hundreds of dolls that lay in various stages of being made into a complete doll. My master craftsman was interested in me personally as his little Gretchen had wanted a doll for a long time and this one was for her. He followed his doll down the assembly line directing her to be made with care.
She was finally ready to be taken to the area to be dressed and he thought “how would my little one want her to be dressed?” He picked out a Volendam Dutch costume for the doll with the solemn face and thought how proud his little girl would be when he placed it in her arms.
He returned home with pride and could see his little girl standing at the door waiting his arrival after a long day at work.. His daughter could see that he had something in his hand, but had been taught not to ask questions about dolls that he brought home, because her mutter sewed clothes for the dolls sometimes and she thought this might be another of those times.
Her Vater ate his meal and talked of his day and the making of a special doll with brown eyes to match his own sweet one. After eating the humble meal, he gave the package to his daughter and said “this one”s for you”. Gretchen almost choked on her sausage as he said this because she did not dare believe that at last she too had a doll. As she unwrapped the brown paper that wrapped the package, she did not breath. When at last the paper was removed, she saw the doll that occupied her dreams. Her face was so like her own with big brown eyes like hers. She did not have hair so she asked her mutter to cut her long brown hair to place in the dolls head to make her a wig. Her Mutter consented and the doll looked back at her solemnly in thanks, she thought, for her hair.
I lived with Gretchen for 5 years until one day she became sick with a terrible fever that took many of the factory workers including her dear Mutter.
After Gretchens’ death her Vater could not bear to look at the doll, nor think about his beloved daughter's hair. That only brought painful reminders that his daughter could no longer light up his life with her smile. Her doll was forgotten in a drawer until money was needed to purchase food. Her Vater removed the brown paper wrapped doll without looking at her and took her to market. He bargained for food to feed his remaining family and did not give the doll a second look.
I was sent to a doll store and promptly placed in a window where many little children looked at me daily. It was the time of the war and a soldier came in one day to buy me to take to a place called America.. I was happy because I had been saddened by the death of Gretchen and needed someone to love me again.
I was stuffed in a suitcase and began the long air ride to America. After what seemed a inordinately long amount of time I arrived to a little girl called Helen. She was a sweet little girl whom played with me endlessly and always asked me “Where did you come from?” and “who had you before me?” Whose hair is that on your head?. She could tell it was real hair but I did not tell her as I was saddened to leave Gretchen and I also did not need the reminder that she was gone and my life had changed. (image borrowed from Google search)
I can’t say that Helen was unkind but she had many such dolls and I never felt the love that I felt when I was in Germany. We moved many times and I am sure that I lost my wooden leg on one of those moves to Canada. Many years passed and Helen grew up. I was relegated to a drawer once again. Then I was carefully placed in a box.
My present owner found me one day in a box without my leg and unclothed on a shelf. She had very little money but had made a deal to trade her jewelry for ME.. I felt very special as no one had cared that much about me for a long time. When Gloria saw me in the box with the exact brown eyes that she had, it was all over for her. Gloria saw herself as a little girl, in that dolls face..The present owner told her the story of My travel and a bargain was made to trade the doll for jewelry. I was worth a lot and it took several gold bracelets and a diamond ring before the lady would trust Gloria with her aunts doll, but finally a bargain was made and I was on my way to The USA again....
Since that time in 1989 I have lived with Gloria. She has talked to me and loved me as Gretchen did and also kept Gretchen alive for me and others when she tells the story of how I came to live with her.
I now go to another lady named Ingrid to live. I don't blame Gloria, she is ill and must make sacrifices to move to a place called florida to live near her daughter, the Nurse.
She tells me she has found a good home for me and I believe her. She even says I will have a new leg.. That would feel so good after all these years.
She is also sending along my story so that Ingrid will know me and my life and so that she will never forget how one little girl in Germany that thought I was so special. I am awaiting my trip and hope that my new owner will like me as I plan to like her. Who knows? There may be other dolls that I can visit with there and maybe even add another chapter to my story.