© Vickey Stamps (4-3-13)
The Doll Maker wished she were thirty, maybe even younger. Her glasses kept sliding down on her nose, as she sat before the machine that would serge the fabric edges all neat and tidy, for the small bits of fabric in front of her. The fabric would make an outfit to go on a doll. She was trying to put together a few more dolls, so they could join the others on the old blue couch in their living room. Sometimes there would be calls for several dolls to be given away in a short period of time, other times the dolls waited in the silence of the day, wondering how soon they would find a child to love them. Sometimes the calls came about a child that had cancer. Most of the calls were about a child like that, and she would wonder within her mind, if there was more she should be doing to help a child. Other times it would be a different need, different stories she would hear that seemed to bruise her heart. There was a child with the upside down heart, and the one needing a liver transplant. Another was a child removed from the only home he or she knew, to be placed in the home of a stranger and foster parent. Sometimes the parent had a drug problem, and sometimes the parents would fight, on and on in the night. In her mind she would visualize that somewhere a child would curl up, as tightly under the covers as she could, hugging her pillow and crying. The old doll maker knew there were many kinds of pain a child had to endure.
Now it seemed as if the fabrics began to wiggle about gentle-like, with soft voices that spoke in conversations between themselves, and perhaps they spoke to her. She bent nearer to listen carefully.
“Look at me” a bit of fabric with lady-bugs and flowers upon it said. “Surely I will go to a child that thinks often of the day they can once more go out into a garden. I will remind her of lady-bugs and flowers and sunshine upon her world. Maybe it will be a day without so much sickness in her life.” With that the fabric settled down, allowing another fabric to speak.
“Look at me” it said. “I will go to a child with a need for butterfly kisses upon her face” , and having said so, it twisted and turned itself in a circle so all could see and admire, the trail of 3 brightly colored butterflies upon a flower that had been embroidered with great care by a loving sewer of pretty things. “At night when she is restless and in a state of being half asleep, the butterflies on me will rise off my fabric and kiss her all through the night. They will bring her comfort”. The fabric slipped off where it had been in the spot-light in this place of imagination that another fabric might speak.
“Look at me.” It said “I am ugly … ugly … ugly ! No child will want to hold me close. I have a dark color and very little by way of decoration. Who would love such as me?” The fabric tried valiantly to slide under the other fabrics that none could see it. “You are not ugly. Wait and see. Soon you will be very beautiful.” Having said so, she turned and reached into a container of pretty lace and trim. Putting the fabric under the needle of the sewing machine, she began to apply row upon row of lace, and soon the change upon the fabric was amazing. It was quite beautiful. It just needed the love in the lace to show it off. A damp spot like a tear drop appeared upon the corner of the now pretty doll skirt. “Look at me. I am beautiful” Now the fabric twirled around and around that all might look and it and agree with what it had said. “I look like I am ready to go to a child who loves lots of lace. I will make a sick child feel happy, so she will not think so much of the bad parts of her life.”
“Look at me.” spoke the different fabrics, as they jumped up and down in happy excitement at the possibility of being ‘all they could be’. One fabric was a collection of small squares in yellows, blues and greens with small red hearts here and there. That fabric would remind a child of the colors of nature, and encourage her to fight the terrible cancer that kept her indoors, and away from the sights and sounds of nature she loved so much. She would fight it with all the ‘heart’ she had. She would win.
It was now, that an array of little boys clothing jumped up and began to wander about, themself echoing the phrase “Look at me”. The excited array of clothes would be put on boy dolls or doll buddies. Their color of clothing would vary. Many dolls would wear blue jeans, corduroys while others overalls or sweat pants. The colors and designs upon the shirts and hoodies would all be different, and each one perfect for the child that would receive it. It would teach its child to love and to receive comfort.
It was not surprising that the fabrics and the clothes should be so content and so caring, for they had come together from all areas and had been given by those whose hearts were heavy with the need to somehow help children who should not have to suffer, children who needed something to comfort them. The old woman understood that love, for she felt the same. How could a child not feel all that love? The fabrics grew quiet and settled, as if they had never spoken or danced about in a symphony of colors.
And so it would come to be, that in many places, a doll would become wrapped in its little doll quilt, and be a companion for the child, when they went to the doctor or hospital, or places they did not wish to be at.
In the softness of evening, the doll would turn its sleepy face toward the child. It was then they would share the last talking together of the day, now behind them. The child would gather its doll or buddy close in companionship knowing it to be a good thing they had one another.
LIFE WAS GOOD