Monday, August 1, 2016

She Called Me...

I was cruising an estate sale this week and when I went upstairs to the playroom, I hear a tiny voice, “Hey there.” I looked over and there on a shelf, just covered in dust, was the cutest little face.

I am not a doll collector, although as a child I loved dolls. I played with them, tended to their little needs, and adored them. You can read about that here.

But somehow, when I walked over this one, I just knew she had to come home with me. So, I grabbed her and ran downstairs to the checkout area.

Here she is in my lap in the car on the way home.

Once I go home, I inspected her more carefully. She is signed on the back of her neck with a number.

Since I don’t know much about porcelain dolls, I thought I would google the maker: Pauline Bjonness-Jacobsen.   (For those of you who know me well, know that when faced with something I am unfamiliar with, I will research it to death.)

At first, I didn’t find much except that she passed away in October of 2006.

Her company was known as Dolls by Pauline. The last of the dolls made by Pauline were produced in 2006. I did find an article about Pauline – an interview with her daughter – her story is very touching and more beautiful than her doll creations.

“Pauline spoke five languages, lived in half-a-dozen countries that spanned three continents and grew to love people of all ages, ethnicities and cultural backgrounds. The diversity shows. My mother spent part of her childhood, from ages 7 to 11, in a concentration camp in Indonesia. Shortly before World War II, her father had taken her on her birthday to a toy store and told her she could choose anything she wanted. She chose a baby doll she named “Emma.” When she and her family were rounded up and taken to their first camp, they were allowed to take only what they could carry. (My grandfather had already been taken away and ended up working on the Burma railroad.) My grandmother packed the bare essentials, since she had four children aged 10 months to 11 years old, and told my mother she had to leave her beloved doll behind.

My mother, however, would not let go of her doll, and my grandmother gave in. Once they got to camp, my grandmother wrapped her jewelry in tissue, because jewelry was being taken away, and somehow hid them all inside my mother’s doll. “Emma” was never far from Pauline’s side, and when the war concluded, my mother gave “Emma” to her little sister Trudy, who had been lost for a year at the end of the war. I believe my mother was born with a talent for art. Perhaps her love of doll making derived from her beloved doll “Emma,” which gave her comfort during a difficult and scary time in her young life.”

Here she is at home, waiting for me to find a special place for her.

I thought at first, I would put her in my favorite bedroom, but I just couldn't leave her upstairs alone. Besides, it is dark in there.

Then I thought my office, but she didn't like it.

So I placed her on the mantle piece in our bedroom.

She seems happy here for now.  My little one hasn't told me her name yet, so until then, I am calling her Lucy.


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