The past is the present for future generations who do not know their history

Here is a doll…

as the photograph clearly shows.

This is a photograph of a doll.

This is a photograph of a doll.

Most of the time a doll for my mother and her sisters were sticks from a tree that had a fork to them. There would be no head or arms, just two legs. But that was enough to spark Mother’s and Ellen’s and Preston’s imaginations. Since their dresses and drawers were made of the hard to come by flour sack material that Mama would fashion into pretty little things for the girls from pictures in the Sears & Roebuck catalogs (that served a dual purpose), there were no scraps of materials to use to clothe the dolls. So, they improvised with whatever was available to ‘dress’ their dolls. I wish I had asked if they were pretend baby dolls or pretend fashion dolls, but I think I know the answer to that for they always lived out in the boonies and likely never saw fashion in anything. I do recall that mother said once that when Mama told her it was her fourth birthday and Mother asked if her birthday could walk because she equated birthdays with the calendar on the wall. The calendar always had a picture of a pretty girl on it. So she figured birthdays could walk, unlike her stick doll.

Mother and her siblings grew up during the first great depression. Times were hard. Very hard. When the girls were lucky enough to come across a passion-flower they would create the most beautiful colorful doll in the world. Mother always loved purple, so I am quite sure this was very pleasing for her. The siblings would pluck the flower with as long a stem as possible as those were the doll’s legs. Then they would pluck off certain parts until there was a head and two arms. The purple fluffy and flowy part was the skirt. They pretended the doll was a dancing doll. I always called them a ballerina, but I did not remember to ask them if they thought that – likely not as Mother never had a hamburger until she was grown and they had moved to town so it is just as likely that they never saw a ballerina until grown either.

To this day, I have never witnessed anyone who could play a game of Jacks as well as mother. My jaw dropped to the floor at her skill level and dexterity when she played with us when we were little. No doubt they played this game when they were little, too. But not with store-bought Jacks, just rocks and whatever they could use for a bouncy ball.

Didn’t we have it good when we were growing up compared to most of them in that generation?

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4 responses

  1. Kenneth Bratcher

    This article solves a mystery I have been trying to figure out for several years. Susan Colbert was said to be my GR GR GR Grandmother. She was married to David Pistole. The only daughter of George Colbert,named Susan that I have been able to find was married to someone else. So there were 2 Susans. The first one had to be the mother of my GR GR Grandmother. Julia Pistole who married Josiah Fowler, of Lauderdale County. Julia died young as did her mother, Susan. It has been very hard to find any information on Susan or David Pistole. I know that they had two daughters and I suspect Susan may have died during the birth of Julia. But I do not know who raised Julia or what happened to David Pistole. Maybe someone out ther does.

    September 24, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    • There is so much conflicting information found. But you might check this out: Susan Sukey Colbert born 1810 (according to one source). Chief James Logan Colbert, Chief George Colbert had children and may have had children called Susan by their accepted white name. And either the name of your Julia was just Julia and she had a sister named Elizabeth Ludean, and it is my considered opinion that your Julia was named Ludean Julian and there is a marriage record where she married Josiah D Fowler in Lauderdale County 16 Dec 1834. On David Pistole there is a marriage record as follows: Virginia, Marriages, 1740-1850 about Susanna Mills
      Name: Susanna Mills
      Gender: Female
      Spouse Name: David Pistole
      Spouse Gender: Male
      Marriage Date: 16 Dec 1809
      County: Halifax
      State: Virginia

      I hope this helps.

      September 27, 2013 at 6:01 am

      • Kenneth Bratcher

        Thank you for the information. I am afraid David Pistole will remain a mystry. The David Pistole who was buried in Arkansas seems the most likely one I have found. Josiah had 3 wives and I know my Great Grandmother was raised by a step mother. Julia was wife number 2. I have seen the name Ludian but I thought that was due to someone not writing Julia legibly. It would be easy to mistake a J for an L if written in cursive. Someday I plan to travel to that part of the country. Many of my ancestors came from there. We are mostly in Texas and New Mexico today. Thanks again

        September 27, 2013 at 4:15 pm

      • Kenneth Bratcher

        Hello, The comment I had posted the other day concerning Susan Colbert was posted in reference to an article from your archives; August 2011. You listed Geo. Colbert’s 14 children. There was a Susan born 1798 and died 1818. Susan ‘Sukey’ was born to late to be my ancestor and was married to someone else. The first Susan is the one I have been searching for. I was wondering if you remember where you found the names of the children. I have never found a complete list of them. Thanks
        Kenneth Bratcher

        September 30, 2013 at 8:41 pm

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