If I remember correctly Betsy came into my life on my fifth birthday. Being that I longed for an older brother or a younger sister this present was right on target. The life-size, for an average three-year-old, doll was dressed in a spiffy sailor dress. Since I was small for my age we were able to share clothes. We also shared my bed and the back seat of the car, for a while.
There were other dolls; Becky, the life-like baby doll, Chatty Kathy, Barbies and more. Once my first daughter was born Becky came to live with us. Chatty Kathy, no doubt, ended up at a Hadassah rummage sale. The Barbies fell apart and Betsy got stuffed in a closet.
Years later my middle daughter and I found her on a high shelf wrapped in plastic. My daughter was convinced her five-year-old sister would love to have Betsy. I agreed and proceeded to get the doll ready for our flights home.
Twenty years ago air travel was more pleasant than it is today. Everyone was allowed two checked bags, a carry-on, and a large purse. We decided Betsy would be one of our carry-ons. There was a problem though. From the distance, or close-up, if one was near-sighted, she looked like a real toddler. In the St. Louis airport I was asked for Betsy’s ticket. In JFK they wanted to see her passport. Worse than that, though, were the dirty looks my daughter and I received when we nonchalantly tossed Betsy into the overheard bin above our seats. I was compelled to announce to our neighbours that she was just a doll.
Thankfully we made it home safely with luggage and Betsy intact. My youngest daughter was thrilled with her present in the beginning. As time wore on, though, she grew tired of Betsy. Made of hard plastic she was not a cuddly doll and she took up a lot of room in the girls’ bedroom.
After a while my youngest had a minor, out-patient appointment at Shaare Zedek Hospital. It was a mutual decision that Betsy would be an excellent addition to the pediatric playroom. The staff was as happy to receive her as we were to leave her behind. And that was the end of Betsy.
I hadn’t thought about her in years, until last week when my new granddaughter was born on the Fourth of July. Her father declared they’d name her Betsy Ross in honor of America’s day of independence. Fortunately, her mother has a say in the matter and we’re waiting to hear a more fitting name. In the meantime, I’ve decided, I want to buy our new little girl a doll, a soft cuddly one that she can love as much as we already love her.
|Betsy Ross courtesy of Gazette 665|