A long time ago during the dark days of the Depression, a little girl named Dolores lived on a farm way, way in the northern penisula of Michigan. Thankfully her father was one of the lucky men who had a job, but often it meant traveling far to the south to find any work he could. You see, he supported two households--his own with his wife and daughter and his parents' with cousins who needed care. Ten people in all.
Although poor, Dolores, or Dodo as she was affectionately called, didn't really feel it. She only felt the love of the family. And, oh, she was doted on. "She looked like Shirley Temple," I was often told. Little Miss Sunshine on the screen and their own little version in Dodo held hope for the future for this family. Even Dodo's dear aunts in the great city of Chicago would spend precious money to outfit their little neice to look like the Darling of the Screen.
Shirley Temple meant happiness and easier days ahead. And, oh, did Dodo love Shirley. She felt like a dream dressed as her favorite star and admired the beautiful Shirley Temple dolls for sale. Her parents and her aunts SO wanted to buy a Shirley Temple doll for their dear one who provided light in such days of darkness, but it was much too much out of their reach to be able to afford such a luxury. But like all people of their day, they were resourceful. Dodo's mother made her own version of a Shirley Temple doll and that doll was simply loved to pieces by Dolores.
I don't know what happened to that doll after Dodo died at the age of 10. An infection took her just months, I've been told, before the release of the new wonder drug of the age, penicillin. But she lived on in the hearts of the family and stories told particularly by her mother and aunts. Stories told to another little girl many, many years later by a loving grandmother and by gentle great-aunts. "You look so much like Dodo," I was often told with a look of love and hope in watery eyes.
So, you see, Shirley Temple means a lot to my family. So when one particularly loved Shirley Temple doll on eBay went beyond my self-imposed limit I thought my heart was going to break. Stuff and nonsense. I had never gotten that way about a doll--I had never been much of a doll-person in the first place. With a heavy heart I got up the next morning to find that Shirley was gone. Someone had bought her. I couldn't comprehend my dear husband's words--"I hope you like her. Happy Valentine's Day!" What? I don't understand. We don't exchange Valentine's gifts. When I finally understood, I actually had tears of happiness.