Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Box of Possibility

My Friend Mandy as Shirley Temple
Fall is creeping in. The leaves knocked down by Hurricane Irene are turning brown and crisp. The air is cool, mercifully, in the mornings and evenings, and melancholy creeps in too. My father died at the end of summer in 1977, so I have always felt sad this time of year. It seems appropriate that the year should begin to die as well. I also have happy memories in autumn of a time long-gone, my college years. I would drive down Highway 42 to Greenville around this time. Back then all the tobacco warehouses were still open and the "golden leaf" would be ripening in the fields. The entire air would smell like a pipe shop. The road to the beach, usually Highway 13 through Bethel if we went to Nag's Head, would be littered with cotton bolls blown off the trucks. That would be a month or two from now when the semester had settled enough to get away. I love to relive those happy years, but am a bit sad I can't go back to being that young again, with seemingly endless possibilities before me. I am feeling for them "Down East" as we say; they've been dealt a hard blow by Irene.

Right now I am also a bit sad because we are having a lot of change, and change is hard for me. I have not been able to work this week. The baby has been having speech and developmental evaluations through private channels as well as the state, so yesterday and today were nearly taken up with that. We are preparing for an open house Sunday in our effort to sell our house, and tonight someone called wanting to see the house tomorrow. So all the laundry I had sorted on the floor, all the sewing I had started, all my projects, had to be packed away and must wait. Sacrificed to the illusion that we live always in this sterile and professionally-decorated environment.

I did get a reminder today that change is possibility as well. I ordered and received a box of My Friend dolls. Thank goodness I managed to get them for about $5 each, because they are in awful shape. They were evidently owned by a budding beautician or tattoo artist. Every one has permanent makeup, some have names written on their limbs, and a few have hair that's been cut. But the possibilities...who could they be? I have two or three Beckys. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm? Anne of Green Gables? I have some Jennys...Pocahontas? A couple Mandys who may be beyond repair...but then I thought the doll shown above was beyond repair.

I have a "thing" for the 1920s and 1930s. I love the older Agatha Christie mysteries, Art Deco, flappers, and Shirley Temple. What a cutie she was! This Mandy came to me quite distressed, but she turned out to be a perfect Shirley Temple. Sometimes the cut hair can still make a really cute style if it isn't too close to the scalp. I had a lot of fun with her dress design, too. Too bad she doesn't have dimples. I did get a Becky, who does have dimples, with cut hair today. Maybe I'll redo her as a blond!

Today my daughter said, when she saw the box of very disheveled dolls, "I am tired of fixing these dolls, Mommy. I want to just get dolls we can sell and get rich!" But where would the fun be in that? There is so much we can do with this box of broken dolls. It's a good reminder that possibilities are always endless, and out of ruin can come opportunity and rebirth.

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