Mum’s Doll


mumTina Turner was blasting “When I was a little girl I had a rag doll. Only Doll I’ve ever owned” from out of my radio. I immediately thought of my mother and her doll made from a tea towel.

Mum had a very disadvantaged childhood. Her father died in a military hospital a few weeks before she was born in 1916. Granny already had 3 other daughters and only a small war pension to live off.

She also had or developed a drinking problem which didn’t add to the families prospects at all. Her Grandfather, James Mitchell, did look out for the family and for a time was the father she never had because of World War 1. He was a distinguished, well known and well liked man but he also had to work as a very old man to earn his living. He was also taken away from the family when he fell down the stairs and never recovered from his injuries.

Times were hard and the modern benefits society didn’t exist then.There was no money for toys. Christmas was about new clothes and shoes not playthings.

Mum’s Grandad showed her how to cleverly fold a tea towel to look like a sleeping baby wrapped in a blanket. That became her toy, her friend in harsh times.

Many times over the years I saw her unconsciously fold a tea towel to make her little doll and give it a sly hug before flicking it out to dry the dishes.

Decade after decade she made that doll continuing right into her ninth.

Comfort can be found in the most prosaic of items.

 

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