My most faithful childhood companion was a doll called Daisy Dee whose hair I combed and shampooed; I told her many secrets, married her off to many suitable suitors, like Wind-up-Piggy and the boy on the biscuit tin.
Recently, I asked a tiny girl her favourite doll’s name. “I have 27,” she said, “and they’re all called Barbie.”
Today’s kid gets a toy when he does well in class, does miserably in class, Dad goes on a biz trip, Mom goes on a shopping trip (guilt), Sunday, Rain day, Uncle’s-coming-avisiting-so-you’d-better-behave day, election day in Alaska, found-a-toy-not-made-in-China day….
Do they know the romance of waking up every morning to the same beloved, raggedy teddy bear? Or is it quick flings, one-night stands with the train set, until the new car comes in? Will they ever know the magic of an entire afternoon spent fixing a toy soldier’s broken arm with string and grandma’s stolen dentures? Or will it be “Pa, just buy me the next-gen soldier with the laser gun?”
The other day I found Daisy Dee in an old box, and decided to introduce her to my little boys, with all her stories and dreams. We cuddled under the quilt at night, and I told them about value, sentiment and love. They looked at her and me with awe. I DID IT, I thought, I gave them a life lesson.
The next morning, my foot kicked something that went bouncing down the stairs. It was Daisy Dee’s head. A monster truck had run over her, a Transformer twisted her arms backwards, and a dinosaur had bitten a chunk out of her middle. I put her back into her box. Only one dainty foot was still un-attacked.
May her sole (and my heart) rest in peace.