Friday, June 17, 2011

The Doll in the Hall

The doll pictured on the left (apologies for the poor quality, it's the only snapshot available from our ancient family archives) was a Christmas present given to me in the early 80s. In all respects, it seemed the lovely sort of doll for a little girl: fully equipped with a pretty gown, pink silk ribbons, and long blonde hair. Perfect, save for one fact:

It scared the bejeezus out of me.

I believed the doll to be slightly possessed. That's right: evil. There was something about its eyes that disturbed me. It was also taller than most dolls I had the pleasure of being acquainted with. It freaked me out to the point where I was actually afraid to walk past it - lest it reach out and smother me in some eerie doll-like fashion. My parents thought I was being silly and told me to play with it, it was a doll after all. My father suggested for purposes of desensitizing yours truly (or punishing, I still can't figure out which one), that we keep the demon doll in our main hallway, the one that jutted out from the living room - in other words, my main route of travel within our tiny apartment. Faced with this fearful predicament, I often ran past it or begged my brother to walk with me. Even seated in the living room whilst reading a book or watching television, I felt its eyes glaring at me. Unsettling to say the least.

I suppose the years of fearful sermons I'd listened to in church caught up with me or perhaps it was the lingering memory of a throwaway 70s horror flick (the name of which I have never ascertained) where an evil old doll maker, fashioned creepy dolls with eyes that lit up on command, that polluted my mind. After a brief period of torment, my mum told my brother to hide the doll in our closet, much to my relief. Temporary relief that is, for if ever I happened to stumble across it, I would become jumpy again. Eventually my mother had enough and we gave the doll away. And this was the only toy that I ever gave away joyfully and with much sympathy for the recipient.

Now on to a much lovelier doll experience. "Belle" (as I conveniently named her) was the pretty southern belle doll I received from one of my mother's coworkers. She wore a long, pink gown with lace trim (and lace nickers - I always checked underneath) and stood atop a white plastic stand. She kept her ginger hair in a lovely bun, always. A lace fascinator remained permanently affixed to the top of her head. Her hand-painted face with the twinkling green eyes always wore a knowing smile. It seemed to me that "Belle" had been "around" and rather liked being in the company of gentlemen callers. She was always at the ready, if ever a ball should be announced. I suspect she spent her days drinking mint juleps and calling folks "darlin". She seemed 50ish and thus, would serve as a mother substitute for my other toys (mainly a hoard of smurfs). I had no other worldly problems with Belle. Alongside my beloved Barbie doll (which I sadly do not have a photo of), she inspired many happy moments. The belle of the ball indeed.


  1. My daughter can't stand dolls like that - she screams when they appear on the TV to this day... she is supposed to be an ubercool 15 year old now :-)

  2. Belle is a very pretty doll. It reminds me of my Mom's doll Elsie who had a pink dress. She kept her on her bed. I wasn't really supposed to play with her but a couple of times I did. I wish that mom still had her. I think that it is so cool that you gave Belle such a lovely personality. I did that with many of my stuffed animals.

    You are so right about that other doll, it kind of gives me the creeps just looking at the photo. I love the way that you described the terror that it caused you - sorry you had to go through that trauma. She reminds me of the Talking Tina doll in an episode of The Twilight Zone.

    I feel bad that you don't have a photo of your Barbie doll. Hope that you have a great weekend.

  3. Furtheron: your daughter is a smart and sensible young lady! :) They still make me squirm.

    Lara: aw, thanks so much for your kind words. I wish you had your mom's Elsie doll - sounds like you would have taken such good care of it. It's interesting how we gave our dolls/stuffed animals personalities - it just comes naturally when you're a kid - an extension of ourselves.

    That doll gives you the creeps too right? It's comforting to know that I'm not alone in thinking that. Not that I want you to be creeped out. :) And I think I know what twilight zone (loved that show) episode you are talking about!


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