After a suitable interlude, I have resumed my memorabilia winnowing. A few months ago I sorted through and discarded about nine boxes of miscellaneous documents. Most recently, I abandoned an attempt to sort out “The Box” and my eldest son relieved me of it in its entirety.
You might have thought this would have cured me of my need to throw things out, but no. I’m still reducing my hoard of sentimental bric-à-brac. I am now down to the last four boxes; a box of file folders I can’t quite bring myself to read, a box of photo negatives (negatives! Remember those?), a box of teddy bears, and Nurse Nan.
The teddy bears have been lovingly washed and now await drying out and a determination about their fate. The lion was a gift at K’s birth, one of the little white bears was a gift at J’s birth, and the rest were acquired within a year or so of my children’s entrance into the world.
I also carefully laundered, on the “silk” setting, Nurse Nan’s clothes. She has her original uniform, a replica uniform made by one of my sisters, and several knitted outfits that I think were made by my mother, but I could be wrong about that.
This doll has survived a lot. She was my doll when I was a child and so she dates from the 1950s. She is a hard plastic 19″ Pedigree brand doll that was sold in England. I haven’t seen her in any online images from Canada or the US, so she may be one of the few that have emigrated.
I had left her in my parents’ home when I moved out, and she was subsequently enjoyed by several of my nieces and nephews. Somehow, miraculously, she survived all that. Later, one of my sisters gathered up Nurse Nan and her wardrobe, created a replica uniform for her, and sent all of that to me in Canada. Yes, my sister is a sweetheart. All my sisters are sweethearts!
At one point Nurse Nan suffered a back injury which I had healed at a dolls’ hospital in Calgary. I doubt if that place still exists, but I am charmed by just the memory of it. It amazes me that we used to have people with such expertise and places called dolls’ hospitals.
Because of all those memories, I still have Nurse Nan. The problem is, I really don’t need to keep her in a box in a storage space any more. As lovely as she is, and as fond as I am of the memories she gave me, the thought of continuing to keep her around makes me groan, and today I decided she has to go.
She is not for sale, so I can’t put her on eBay or Kijiji, and I don’t know anyone who wants her, so I am left with the choice of either putting her in the trash, taking her to a thrift store, or finding a home for her. It’s a bit like trying to find a home for an old dog or a chipped tea set.
Here she is, in all her glory, with some lovingly-made clothes and a couple of doll cot blankets. If you know anyone who might value her, please tell them where they can find her. Otherwise, I will probably take her to the thrift store with a note explaining why she is a bit special.
Edit to add:
I am happy to report that Nurse Nan now has a new home with a collector of vintage dolls. It is very reassuring for me to know that she will be valued and kept safely.
After I had published this post and linked to Facebook, I learned from family members that she had been repaired in the UK once or twice before being returned to me in Canada. In addition, as I mentioned, she was repaired again after she got here. Because of this, I thought that she might not fare well as a toy for a child, especially since her body is easily broken. That is largely what prompted my decision about her adoption.
Thank you to everyone who offered her a home. I appreciate the kind thoughts and the good wishes for Nurse Nan’s future. I have been amazed at the number of family members who remember her fondly and my heart is warmed by all those who thought of children who would enjoy her. I am glad to have triggered some good memories and maybe a smile or two.
It is very satisfying t to know how many people enjoyed seeing her, and I can rest easy now knowing that my old doll is in good hands.