Antique Doll

Lillian got up from her position beside Barbara and retrieved the item that had been thrown over Barbara's head. It was an old doll. She brought it over to Ogden.

"Look at this doll uncle Harry. It looks pretty old, do you think it's antique? Barbara says that you've been researching antiques for the theatre."

Harry reached for the doll with a smile. It didn't annoy him to be called Harry anymore. In fact he had begun to think of himself as Harry Ogden again, and not Ogden Pierson the third. When he turned it over to look at its' face he got quite a shock.

" This was Meggie"s doll. It had come down to her through her grandmother. It had been in her family for generations. "

Harry used the nickname that he had used for his wife Margaret ever since they met at the theatre when they were teenagers. When she turned twenty one she insisted on being called Margaret because she thought it sounded more adult.

" I don't know how it got in that dumpster. I buried it with Meggie."

Lillian's eyebrows raised in surprise and interest.

"Maybe Barbara took it out before the burial. Maybe she wanted to keep it."

"Barbara was the one that wanted to put it in there. She said she wanted her mommy to have company in heaven. Meggie had always been very fond of the doll, and so was Barb. I guess sending it to heaven with her mom was a sacrifice of sorts for her. She probably did it because she loved her mom so much."

Harry's face saddened in memory of the terrible week that his wife died. Not wanting to dredge up any more painful memories, she changed the subject.

"You said that the dumpster was just full of construction debris like wood and plaster and stuff, but that's not what we found in there."

"It was pretty full yesterday.  The foreman must have had it hauled away and replaced with a new one. What did you find?"

"We found a bunch of good stuff that can either be refinished, or resewn or just cleaned up and reused.  Do you remember that velvet and gold braid cord that used to close off the balcony? It was in there, and it just needs to be cleaned."

"I really appreciate your efforts Lillian, but I can afford to replace the cord and other small things. It's the big things like the chandelier that I want to keep."

"I know that Uncle Harry, but the more that you can use from the original theatre, the more you recapture the atmosphere of a golden age long past."

Harry reflected on this argument and nodded agreement.

"You know Lillian, you just might have something there. But remember we only want to use things that can be restored to its' original beauty.  We don't want the theatre to become a sad and faded reflection of it's past. Are you still looking for your boxes, or have you given up?"

"I'll never give up till I find them all. We went looking for the foreman but we couldn't find him, so we thought we'd search the dumpster first."

Harry glanced at his watch.

"It's almost lunch time. I know where he eats lunch. I'd like to talk to him about saving anything that can be reused anyway. I'll go on over there, and  I'll ask him what is usually done with the grey dump bins as well."

Lillian gave him a quick kiss on the cheek.

"Thanks Uncle Harry. Let me know what you find out."

She picked up the doll that Harry had put on the grass, and went back to Barbara. As Harry stood up he noticed the antique box that he had set on the grass when he sat down. He picked it up and muttered to himself.

"I must remember to ask the foreman if he has any refinishing tools that I can use to clean this up. It might be nice gift for Lillian. She's going to be twenty one in less than a month."

Still muttering to himself, he opened the door and began the climb up the steep back stairs.

Lillian plopped herself down beside Barb and placed the doll in her lap.

"Your dad says that this doll was in your mom's family for generations, but I don't remember ever seeing it."

Barb's face went dead white when the doll was dropped in her lap.

" I..I put it in the casket with mom. Dad lifted me up so I could put it beside her, then the funeral director closed the casket. Mom loved it. It was kept in tissue paper in a small trunk. I wasn't allowed to play with it. I can't even imagine how it got in this dumpster. We should ask the foreman where the stuff from today's dumping came from."

Barb gingerly touched its'  brown hair. It was still soft after at least a century. It was probably the hair of the little girl it was originally made for.

She picked it up and and examined the head and neck intently, then she twisted the head back and forth until it showed signs of coming off.

Lillian yelled and grabbed Barb's hand to stop her.

"Hey! Stop that!  You'll ruin it altogether!"

Barb pulled her hand away and carefully resumed her task.

"No I won't, I know how to put the head back on. I've done it once before, and I was only five."

The head gradually came right off the neck and Barb laid it carefully to one side.

" Will you go get me that piece of stage drapery over there,  please?"

She asked Lillian, who promptly got up and retrieved it for her. Barb arranged the cloth across her knees, upended the doll and shook it. Something fell out onto the cloth and Barb picked it up.

"I can't believe it was still there." 

She whispered because she was so in awe of the beautiful  thing that she had hidden in the doll fourteen years earlier.

 

The End

36 comments about this story Feed