A Doll Story

September 2, 2007 at 11:14 pm 19 comments

I wasn’t planning on writing about my garage sale, other than that plug post I did last week.  I have already written about how I held a garage sale two years ago.  And as usual, I met a few interesting people.  I didn’t encounter any French-speaking people these past two weeks, but there were a lot of Spanish-speaking people – from Colombia and Guatemala.  There was a newly arrived family from Colombia who has been here in Winnipeg for only 40 days.  None of them, except for the ten-year old boy, knew how to speak English.  So he translated for us and they were actually my biggest sale.  My Spanish is quite rusty but I managed to explain to this guy, not from this family, that the price tag in one of the items is 75 cents and not 75 dollars.  Setenta y cinco centimos.  Si.  You see, I could easily say cincuenta centimos (50 cents), but it took me a minute to pull setenta out of my aging brain.

Okay, I don’t want to go any further away from the topic at hand.  My last day of garage sale was last Saturday.  It was really a slow day, unlike the two days last week.  It was around 11:30 when this very nice lady came over and introduced herself. 

“Hi!  I’m Rosemary.  I’m your new neighbour.  I just moved in next door. What’s your name?”
“Oh hi!  I’m Irene.”

“Nice to meet you, Irene.”

“Nice to meet you, too.”

So we chatted a little bit.  She said that she’s occupying the second floor of the duplex next door.  And I told her that I live on that side of this side-by-side duplex and that my sister lives on the other side.  She took a look around my merchandise and picked a couple of items for her grandchildren, she said.  Her daughter is in B.C.(British Columbia) and they sometimes drive over there.  She noticed that I have mostly boy toys and stuff.  I told her that’s because I have three boys.  Then she spotted this 32-inch walking doll gift set.  And she said, “Aww! That is so pretty.  How did that get here then?”

walking doll So I explained to her how I happen to have this walking doll.  My mother saw that walking doll at a factory where she usually buys stuff for Christmas presents for her grandchildren.  She told me about this walking doll which was on sale for only $20.00.  Where will you ever find a walking doll like that now, eh?  I never got to play with dolls, much more so a big doll like that, when I was growing up.  And I guess I wanted to make up for that now that I could afford it.  So I asked Mama to buy it for me and when she brought it home, I immediately took it out of the box, held one of its hands and watched it walk with me.  I then put it back in the box and never took it out since then.  It has been sitting in my bedroom ever since and I would dust it every weekend when I clean my room.  It has been there for the last five years or so and I thought that it was about time to get rid of it also along with our other unwanted stuff.  I don’t really have a daughter who could play with it. I only have boys.

I related all of these to my new neighbour, matter-of-factly, without any hint of emotions.  But she was somehow touched.

“Oh, that is so sad, Irene,” she said.

“But it’s okay,” I said.  “Really, I don’t feel sad about it.  It’s alright.”

I know that story may seem sad to some, especially those mothers out there who don’t have daughters.  I know there are some of those who long to have daughters.  I, for one, was crossing my fingers, literally, when I was awaiting what the technician would say when I was ordered by my Ob-Gyn to have a fetal assessment when I was pregnant with my third baby.  I already had two boys and at that time, I was anxious to know what the gender of my third baby was.  So I had to ask.  I thought it would be nice to have a little girl in the family, to buy some pretty pink stuff and frilly little dresses.  But at the same time, if it was another little boy, I would have been more than fine with that.  But if it was a boy, I wanted to know before he came out because I didn’t want to be disappointed at the time of birth.  I didn’t want disappointment to be my first feeling the first time I would see this baby.  And I was glad that I knew beforehand.  I never felt disappointed by having a third boy.  And look at him now.  He is just the sweetest boy I ever knew.  Now, that got me emotional.

But I wasn’t feeling sad when I was talking to my new neighbour that Saturday.  I have experienced many sadnesses in my life, but none of them was caused by not having a doll or fancy toys when I was a little girl nor have they been caused by not having a daughter.  Because why would I feel sad when I have three boys, three special and unique, wonderful boys?  Yes, there were times when I would wonder if I would get a lot more help around the house if I had a girl.  Like last New Year’s Eve, when I was up on my feet for hours making lumpia (spring rolls).  None of the boys were interested in rolling up those lumpia wrappers around that mixture of ground meat.  But that was just a fleeting moment of wondering what if.   I asked my sister once (she has three daughters and four sons) if it makes a difference that she has three girls.  Does she think that it’s better that she has girls when it comes to chores?  She said not really.  So there you go.

And of course, there was also my post, Of sons and daughters, wherein I talked about how my nine-year old niece just hugged me for no reason at all.  At that time, my ten-year son was starting to pull away from my hand when we’d cross the street.  But I guess that has more to do with a growing up thing and not about being a boy or a girl.  Anyway, I still get a lot of hugs from my youngest son.  And you bet that I will hug him as long as he would let me and I relish every moment of that.

Okay, enough of that sentimental stuff.  Because I’m fine, really.  It was my neighbour’s reaction that had me thinking about this stuff again.  I have accepted the fact that I wouldn’t have any daughters of my own when I had that fetal assessment and the technician told me that it was a boy.  As I’ve told my children when they would ask me if I ever wanted a girl:  “I will have a daughter when one of you gets married.  I will have a daughter-in-law.  Probably three, when you all get married.”   And then one of the two younger ones would say, “Eww!  I would never get married.  I’ll stay with you here forever, mommy!”  Ha ha!  I will remind them of this conversation when that time comes that one of them tells me, “Mommy, I love this girl and I want to marry her.”

Okay, back to the doll. 

My neighbour couldn’t take her eyes off that walking doll.  I knew she wanted it.  I have it tagged at $5.00.  She already paid for the two items that she picked.

She said, “I want it but I don’t have enough money left.”

I asked her, “How much do you want to pay for it?” 

She asked back, “How much will you give it to me?”

I asked her, “How much do you have left?”

Then she jokingly said, “You want all of my money?”  She opened her wallet and showed me how much she still had.  I saw a couple of loonies (dollar coins) and some loose change.

She finally said, “What about three dollars?”

I pretended to hesitate a bit and then I said, “Yeah sure, why not?”

I asked her, “Can I first take a picture of the doll before you take it home?”

Now she got me feeling all sentimental. 

She said,  “Aww, Irene!  Of course you can.  And you can come over to my place if you ever miss it.”

And then she hugged me and I hugged her back although I knew I smelled of sweat.  It was a really hot day.  But isn’t she sweet?

She called her husband from over the fence and handed him her purchases.  We said our goodbyes and she said that we could talk again sometime. 

She kept saying my name.  That is so sad, Irene.  Let’s talk again sometime, Irene.

And although I was embarrassed, I said in the end, “You know what?  I’m sorry, but I’ve already forgotten your name.  What was it again?” 

She said, “Rosemary.”

I said, “I’m really sorry, Rosemary.  Bye and I’ll see you later.  And thank you, Rosemary.”


Entry filed under: My life as a mom.

My 2007 Summer Movies – Part 1 My 2007 Summer Movies – Part 2

19 Comments Add your own

  • 1. JO  |  September 3, 2007 at 12:01 am

    aaawww…. that was indeed a sweet story!

  • 2. verns  |  September 3, 2007 at 12:58 am


    sorry hormones all over the place..it’s that day of the month hehe I can’t help but get teary-eyed with your entry Irene 🙂 it’s very moving…

    When I was little I remember having only one doll and it was given to me pa by my Aunt from the States. It was a barbie doll. When i had it, I was like the happiest girl in the neighborhood. Funny how a small doll can bring joy to a little girl.

    If i’ll get married and have kids, I also want to have boys then a girl 🙂

  • 3. noemi  |  September 3, 2007 at 6:51 am

    awww I was touched by your doll story too, It reminds me of the last time I receievd a doll from my dad. I was pregnant with Lauren and my dad left for Hawaii. I told him to buy me a doll because I never really had a doll when I grew up. Dad came back with 2 Hawaiian dolls. Up to this day, I still have the doll. I could still remember the glow on my dad’s eyes as he arrived from the airport “I have 2 dolls for you”. I will never forget that look in his yes. It’s as if I was a little girl all over again. But I was pregnant.

  • 4. Kyels  |  September 3, 2007 at 8:48 am

    That was a sweet story, seriously!



  • 5. pining  |  September 3, 2007 at 9:35 am

    Funny I was never into dolls…when I was about 6, my mother got me a doll for Christmas and it was stolen after a few hours… maybe I detached myself from them at an early age 😦
    Anyway, I have 2 boys and as I’ve said before I wouldn’t change them for the world… I’m sure you feel that way about your boys too 🙂

  • 6. TeacherJulie  |  September 3, 2007 at 9:38 am

    So sweet of you to let her have the doll and it was sweet of Rosemary to tell you that you can come visit it if you want to.

    Take care and have a great week! 🙂

  • 7. Toe  |  September 3, 2007 at 11:50 pm

    You’re really blessed with your wonderful sons Irene! I’ve never had any dolls when I was young. My Dad naman wanted me to be a boy. 🙂 You know what I thought was sweet? Your mama buying that doll for you although you’re all grown up now. I guess you’re still her little girl.

  • 8. Sidney  |  September 4, 2007 at 12:33 am

    Sweet story!

  • 9. Midas  |  September 4, 2007 at 12:35 am

    Wow, that’s a long time to keep a doll, and what self control you have!

    My father bought me a tall Barbie doll way before Barbie was famous in the Philipipnes. It was about 3 foot tall doll. I played with it for about 5 years and the doll looked clean and everythign works. Then my little sisters got interested in dolls. While I was in school, they gave my tall BArbie a makeover. Shorter hair, with a bald spot on, shorter eyelashes, and a new eye liner (with a permanent marker) I cried…but what can I do.

  • 10. Tin  |  September 4, 2007 at 2:23 am

    wow. Both of you are so sweet. 🙂 Im sure she’ll be a nice neighbor. 🙂 Sometimes, Mum make me sit on her lap even though I’m a big girl now! Oh well. 🙂

  • 11. Major Tom  |  September 4, 2007 at 7:01 am

    That is such a sentimental story behind the doll. I thought that maybe, just because of the story behind it, the doll would have fetch much more on ebay. Buyers like that kind of uniqueness in an item. For 3 dollars, such is a very good doll. Maybe she is priceless and precious…

  • 12. ipanema  |  September 4, 2007 at 10:04 am

    sometimes we will be surprised at the things gathering dust [if there’s any] that we don’t want to do away with…until we are ready to.

  • 13. SexyMom  |  September 4, 2007 at 1:38 pm

    i only had 1 doll when i was small, i would always envy my 2 cousins who lived next door who had 1 walking doll each.

    your having let go of the doll was only symbolic, i guess. it was your acceptance of the reality that you would never have a boy. your neighbor was so sweet to tell you that you could visit anytime. what a touching story.

  • 14. eric aka senor enrique  |  September 5, 2007 at 1:13 am

    This reminds me of a toy car that to this day I miss very much. It was a blue Packard that was about 14 inches in length. Actually, it belonged to an older brother before it became mine. That toy car inspired my interest to collect Matchbox cars and those model kit cars you you put together. It was only when I reached third year high school when I let go and gave away my car collections.

    I don’t know, I would have held on to that doll instead of selling if for mere three bucks. But then again, maybe Rosemary will give it more attention, eh?

  • 15. Belle  |  September 5, 2007 at 11:48 pm

    sweet story, Irene. oh well, you did the right thing. we have to get rid of old ones to make rooms for the new ones, di ba?

  • 16. Rey  |  September 6, 2007 at 1:49 am

    Hi Irene. I really like how the bargaining went, Irene. And yeah, I enjoyed the read a lot, Irene. It’s ok to feel nostalgic too since we always remember moments that were associated to a particular thing, Irene. 🙂

  • 17. Abaniko  |  September 6, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    Three dollars only for that nice-looking doll. What a bargain for Rosemary. About not having a girl, don’t feel bad. As you mentioned, you have 3 wonderful boys. Be glad that you even have kids. Many couples are not blest with children. Cheers to you, Irene!

  • 18. annamanila  |  September 6, 2007 at 9:16 pm

    Awww, nice to meet you Irene. Sooo .. and I am Myrna. 🙂

    I just love this post, the sale, the neighborly visits, the doll and the reminiscences it evokes, the daughterlessness that doesn’t really sadden.

    I know how that makes other people feel … I had five boys in succession and for years Ii’d say I dont mind not having girls. I wont qualify that anymore. 🙂

  • 19. Haze  |  September 11, 2007 at 7:35 am

    What a way to start a good friendship ! It’s always nice to have nice neighbors, it’s very rare especially in European countries, USA, Canada because life is a fast phase ! Dito lang Niceheart, napaka individualist nila but there’s still an exception, buti na lang dito sa residence naman mababait sila 😉 ! Sayang, kung malapit ka lang talaga, dami ko ng binili sayo, syempre hindi kita babaratin hahaha !! Have a nice week ahead and enjoy your film watching !


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