During many childhood summers I spent a week at the home of my cousin, Belinda, who was just nine months older than me. One particular summer when I was perhaps seven or eight, I remember that her mother/my aunt bought each of us a book of paper dolls,
If you are my age and played with paper dolls you probably remember that they were sold in books about 9" x 12" with a cover and four or six single-sided pages of clothes. The dolls were printed on the heavier cardboard covers and die cut so they could be punched out (with care) or so that a few snips with scissors would free them from the page.
The doll clothes themselves needed to be cut out with scissors. Unlike the clothes above, the ones for our dolls had tabs at the shoulders and sides which we folded over to hold the clothes in place.
After an hour or two of cutting, Belinda and I each had a stack of clothes, but we had nowhere to keep them safe. I told my aunt I needed a box. When she told me she didn't have a box, I must have been insistent that I needed one because she finally said, "I'll give you a box for Christmas." Though that didn't satisfy the immediate need, I was happy enough and agreed that a box for Christmas would be great. I don't remember what we did the our dolls and collection of clothes.
Six months had elapsed between that summer day we cut out and played with paper dolls and Christmas Day. Belinda and her family arrived with gifts in hand for all the nieces and nephews/cousins. We were all gathered in our living room exchanging gifts. I was sitting on the floor and my aunt handed down a wrapped gift with ribbon and bow. When I unwrapped the square box I found it empty. My aunt and cousin laughed and reminded me that I'd agreed on an empty box for Christmas. I was chagrined. I was surprised to receive an empty box. I'd forgotten about the paper dolls, but the worst part was that the box was one of those cheap, flimsy, collapsible ones. That summer day when I asked for a box I was imagining a sturdy, elongated candy box with a fitted lid, just the right size for paper dolls and their clothes. After Belinda and her mom (along with everyone else in the room) stopped laughing, my aunt handed me another gift. I have no memory what it was.
Isn't it strange that some events nestle (or wedge) into our memories -- and others wisp away like smoke?
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