I’m offloading emotional baggage; I am cleansing my inner self. It’s been inside for over forty years. I have a wonderful friend who has been on her own spiritual journey for some years now and she is there to offer me words of wisdom, inspiration and guidance at any time if I’m ever in need. To be honest, I am yet to ‘find’ my inner self but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time, I’ll keep looking. During my last visit to Adelaide and a gathering with dear friends, the conversation turned to our childhood memories and how for some reason the bad memories surface ahead of the good ones.
I can remember some happy memories, for instance; dad being home from work early enough to read our bedtime story one evening and changing all the words of Jack and the Beanstalk to something that made my brother and I roar with laughter. The long summers that went on and on. Making tents out of the sofa cushions and licking melted ice-cream off my wrist at the local fete. Bad memories can be recalled quite readily and my friend said that I should write down the bad stuff – get it out, so here goes.
For my fourth or fifth Christmas (I can’t remember which) a Tiny Tears doll was delivered to my arms (via a box with a see-through front.) I loved her. She was my baby and her name was Tiny. Mum made her some little toweling nappies. I bathed her and puffed Johnson’s baby powder over her. I put her to bed in the cot my clever Uncle made. When mum hung out the washing, I was next to her hanging out Tiny’s little clothes on a mini clothesline. My Gran knitted her matching jumpers and twin-sets with leftover wool from the ones she had knitted for me. I can remember wheeling her along the pavement in her doll’s-pram. There was a serious lack of suspension and she bounced up and down so violently that she vibrated her way to the side of the pram. I took her out and carried her. When friends came over we played hospitals with our dolls – I remember using the perspex lid of the record player as an incubator. I was devoted to my crying, nappy-wetting doll and we went everywhere together.
Fast forward a few years to the day Julian the Hooligan came to visit. The name says it all; that’s simply what he was. To this day I don’t know how it happened and I don’t have any recollection of the incident but Julian the Hooligan pulled out all of Tiny’s eyelashes. I think I was so upset that I blocked the memory out. I’m sure that I screamed and screamed but I can’t remember it. Tiny just wasn’t the same and I agreed for mum to send her away to the Mattel Dolly Hospital to have new eyes fitted. Wonderful I thought – my baby will be home in a few days as good as new and normality will be restored.
I can remember mum picking us up from school a few days later, and I could tell by her manner that something wasn’t quite right. Tiny was back except it wasn’t Tiny. You see, the Dumb Dolly Doctor had given her a new head instead of new eyes but the head was a Mark II Tiny Tears and she was completely different. My baby had gone, gone forever. Clearly, the Dumb Dolly Doctor had not thought about the consequences of his actions ( I’m sure it was he) and obviously had no children of his own – idiot!
I was inconsolable. I would have rather had Tiny with no eyelashes than a new head – it was one of the darkest moments of my childhood – and why hadn’t they sent the old head back too – where did that end up – landfill? A mutant toy just like Sid’s in Toy Story?
I did eventually learn to love my new Tiny of course and we did eventually bond although she was never quite the same and I still mourned my gone baby. I carried on playing with her until I started secondary school where new friendships were formed and new adventures began.
I hung on to my beloved Tiny for years – my son found her when he was a toddler and I didn’t think there would be any harm in giving him a doll to play with. Tiny’s arm eventually came off – probably when being rugby tackled by said toddler.
Tiny even came to Australia with us in 2005; she had been living in a box inside the wardrobe for years but I couldn’t part with her just at that moment. Then one day a few years ago I knew it was time to say goodbye. I bet you’re expecting a burial in the garden befitting a beloved pet accompanied by prayers, flowers, and tears. I wanted to give her a loving home but with a broken arm, even the op-shop didn’t want her. But I did neither; it wasn’t a gracious goodbye – it was ordinary.
So there you have it. Bad stuff that happened when I was a child and although I was scarred emotionally, life goes on. Far greater emotional traumas came and went in my life, eventually moulding me into the stronger and resilient woman I am today. Although we are all likely to experience some kind of emotional trauma as children and young adults, and I’m sure some of you have suffered far worse experiences than my twice-headed doll, it’s how we deal and cope with these experiences that help shape us into the people we are today.