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One Very Special Little Doll....


          My birthday was awhile ago and to celebrate, my husband and I decided to get away for a few days.  We had a wonderful time while we were gone, arriving back home on Sunday evening.  My husband unloaded the suitcases from the car and while I carried them inside, he walked around to check the front porch.  He came back in carrying a large box and said to me, "I wonder how long this has been sitting out there", set it down on the floor, then went back to get the rest of the suitcases out of the car.  I stopped what I was doing and looked down at the box, wondering what it was.  It had my name on the front, so it was definitely for me.  I kept looking at it, wondering what could possibly be inside......and then I noticed the name and return address in the top left corner. 

          My sister and I were very close for years.  Even though I am 4 years older, we were very much alike and loved being together.  We'd visit, we'd shop, we'd talk on the phone for hours.  This is what sisters do.  What most sisters don't do, though, is stop talking.  Which is what we did several years ago.  If you were to ask each of us what happened, I'm sure we'd both have a different story to tell.  But what it really comes down to is......I lost my best friend.

          When my husband came back in carrying the last of the suitcases, I just stood there looking at him.  When he saw my face, he stopped and asked what was wrong, and I said, "Did you see the return address on this?"  He shook his head and looked down at the box, not sure what he was suppose to be seeing......and then he saw it, too.  In the top left corner, very neatly printed, was something I thought I would never see again.  My sister's name and address.

          He picked the box up and set it on the counter for me.  But I just stood there and stared at it, so he took out his pocketknife and started cutting the tape, first down one side, then down the other.  When he had all the tape cut, he opened the top and inside were hundreds of styrofoam peanuts.  He pushed them aside and then gently reached down to feel for whatever it was that was so carefully packaged inside.  As he pulled out his hand and I watched the peanuts fall away, I saw blonde hair.  I saw red velvet.  I saw the white lace.  And in his hand was the doll I fell in love with all those years ago, the doll whose string I pulled and pulled every chance I got 'just to hear her talk', the doll I always wished was mine.  

          He reached down inside the box a second time, and tucked in among all those hundreds of peanuts was something else I never thought I'd see again.  A lovely birthday card, addressed to me, and inside it said, "I thought it only right that you should have the doll that started it all."  And as I read the card and looked at the doll who had smiled at me every morning all those years ago, who had pointed her finger at me whenever she saw me coming, the doll who was always waiting for me just down the hall...as I felt the tears start to burn my eyes, all those years of hard feelings simply melted away.  Beautiful little Chatty Cathy, one special doll loved by two little girls - she brought those two little girls back together again. 


          Chatty had her hair restyled years ago by my sister.  This was how I used to fix my sister's hair, so my sister decided that Chatty's hair should look like hers.  So out came the pigtails and up went the sides into a pretty red barrette to match her dress.  Which has remained in her lovely hair for 40 years......


        ......and which also means it wasn't going to budge.  It had rusted shut and no amount of prying on my part was going to open it.  It took a screwdriver to twist the two pieces apart, then a pair of pliers to actually open it up before I could get it out of her hair.  And even after I removed the barrette, her now-free hair didn't gracefully fall to her shoulders as I expected; it stayed exactly where it was.  Pretty Chatty, I can still remember what she looked like when she first came to live with us, and soon she would look like that again :)            


Chatty's hair had been well taken care of so even after it was washed, it was fairly easy to comb.  I was anxious to see how it would look once I had it back up in pigtails.  Even wet, her hair was simply gorgeous.  But once it was washed and curled and put back into the pigtails I remembered, I stood in awe as I once again gazed at the pretty little doll who had stolen my heart all those years ago. 


          Isn't she Beautiful?  Chatty's Original red and white dress was professionally cleaned and put away.  She is radiant in her Pink Peppermint outfit which is all Original, right down to her pink velvet shoes.  When she was finished, I just sat and stared at her with tears in my eyes.  I loved her with a passion when I was eleven, and I love her still.  I could look at a hundred blonde pigtails but they won't touch my heart like this one does.  As I picked her up to carry her to her place of honor, I looked at her face......the big blue eyes that still sparkled, the two little teeth so white and straight, the freckles that danced across her nose, and that glorious long, thick hair, finally put back into those famous pigtails as they will always remain.  And I smiled at that lovely face, a face that melted two hearts and brought them back together again, and as I set her in her place of honor among all the others, I smiled down at her and softly whispered, 

"Welcome home"