Tender Loving Stuff
Haul Out Blvd.
Dear Scotchie Bailey Smith, representative of the Dolls and Teddy Bears,
I do apologize for your current sorry state and for not knowing the real spelling of your name. We never got you a birth certificate, and sometimes people spelled it with a “y”. I remember you changed it to Scotchi for the duration of your teenage years, and how it irritated you when people called you Scotty, even when Granddad used say he was a Scot and Scotch was what he drank. He grew up near the Glen Garioch Distillery. You can buy a bottle of their single malt at the liquor store for $69. I digress…you were my first doll and my mother convinced me to keep you.
I feel a tad rueful that your face is wearing off. I applied some make-up filched from a friend’s sister but it rubbed off ages ago. Your little white socks and black highland dancing slippers that were painted are also gone. The paint was probably lead-based, and sucked off by me or some other toddler. I don’t know where you got that pathetic little skirt you are wearing now. It was probably made by somebody who thought a bare-naked doll was immodest, even though there is no evidence of anything to hide. You did come with a beautiful frilly white blouse, red (Campbell?) tartan skirt, weskit and tam. Who knows what happed to them. Some sister doll must have borrowed the ensemble from the toy box one night.
If you are interested in your history, you were given to me for my first birthday by Great-Grandma Bailey. As the story goes, I didn’t have a doll and she thought a girl should have one. You’d think that might invest you with some sentimental value for me, but frankly Scotchie, I barely remember GG Bailey, and you are a hard piece of plastic that has never been good for a cuddle. Anyway, the old lady could never have guessed that I would turn out to be a Lego and Pac Man gal.
Until a few years ago I kept a Spanish doll sent to me by a teenage pen pal whose name I’ve forgotten. She might have provided companionship, but you probably didn’t have much to talk about anyway. Although, a lot of Scottish people learn Spanish for their holiday trips.
You are now the only one I have left of thirteen dolls and seven teddy bears. When I was 15 years old I boxed them and gave them to my cousins. My mother carried on as if I was abandoning her grandchildren. My dad said objects have no sentimental value; only people do. Barry and Teddy (I only remember your names, so you will have to represent the rest of the teddy bears), I am sorry if you didn’t get much attention at your new home. With ten kids in my aunt’s house, toys didn’t last long.
Do you remember Ruthie, the two-year-old life-size doll? I have a picture I drew of her that was kept in my Grade 2 art folder. On second thought, you might not want to remember Ruthie. She was the biggest doll in the playhouse, and I always imagined she was bullying you little ones when we were off playing ‘cowboys’.
As for the dozen or so whose names I’ve forgotten, I’m sorry. I remember that my mother made us ragdolls from a pattern she ordered and painted them with our hair and eye colors. I know I tried to play with all of you and I regret to think that you are probably buried willy-nilly in landfills somewhere. I was reminded of you when a woman on Hoarders broke down crying when she found her childhood teddy bear in her junk-filled house. She lamented that she had not taken better care of him. Upon seeing the footage, her grown daughters were hurt that she seemed not to regret neglecting them in her attachment to her possessions.
Thanks for hanging on, Sctochie. For the others, I am grateful that I knew you, no matter how briefly, and that you were part of my life.
P.S. Scotchie, dear, I am sorry that you are the one left of the dolls and teddy bears and the apologies are piled on you. It occurred to me that you might have felt neglected as a child among so many, although a family of 20 dolls and stuffed animals might seem small in today’s toy box. I hope you are not too lonely since Spanish doll left. Language barriers aside, you two might have become close after all those years of being together.