Advent – Day 11

Merry Christmas image – from the collection of Julie Goucher, 2021

Last year and in fact for several years previously I had not written a post a day for Advent. Last year though, on 11 December I wanted to post what you are going to read below. It was the post I shared on 11 December 2011 and relates to a Christmas present my Mum received in 1957.

Last year the post was a decade old, and I found that I could not bear to share the post. My Mum passed away in 2014 far, far too young. She is missed everyday, far more than I can ever share here and for some reason this post has been one that I had needed to pre-plan, despite the fact most of it was already written.

(previously published 11 December 2011 and remains unchanged)

When I was a child a special treat was to hold, but not play with a bridesmaid doll my Mum had. As I grew up I learnt to appreciate the soft china, the musty smelling dress worn by the doll and the fact that this was a treasure that my Mum had and still has, and held dear.

Over the weekend I asked Mum about the doll. She remembers the Christmas she received this. She was 10 years old. She had really wanted a doll and lo and behold she was given one for the Christmas of 1957. She said that a neighbour had a friend who owned a shop. He was selling these dolls and the cost was £10. That in 1958 was a lot of money.

I asked what else she had for Christmas that year. Mum could not remember. OK, I asked, what other gifts do you remember getting for any Christmas as a child? Mum again said she did not remember. I asked why the bridesmaid doll was remembered so much, was it because she still had the doll? Mum replied no, it was because it was a gift that she had really wanted and her parents had bought it for her. One day the doll will be yours she said, but for now, it is still mine!

The pleasure for me in that story and conversation was the joy that Mum obviously had with the doll as a child and clearly now as an adult. As she recalled that information I could almost imagine the excitable 10 year old Mum must have been that Christmas morning.

Of course, when I wrote the post in 2011 I did not even consider that in a few years Mum would be gone. Neither did I consider the doll would belong to me at that very point – a bitter sweet moment.

The doll lives in the loft in a suitcase, wrapped and protected in the protection Mum had and I added a couple of additional layers. When we moved house, it was one of the items that came in the car, rather than went with the removal men.

As I prepared this post, I rummaged through other notebooks as I wondered whether we had ever talked about the doll before. We had, several times. The shop the doll came from was called Doll’s Hospital and was in Swan Lane in Guildford. The shop remained there through my childhood too and I think it must have closed down in the late 1970’s but I would need to search through directories to confirm that.

About Julie Goucher

Genealogist, Author, Presenter, native Guildfordian, avid note taker and journal writer. Lover of Books, Stationery & History; Surnames, Butcher & Orlando One-Name Studies. Pharos Tutor for all One-Name Studies/surname courses as well as Researching Ancestors from Continental Europe.
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