The best Christmas present I ever got was a beautiful doll with soft brown hair, dimples, and eyes that moved.

window-1892053_1920She was not porcelain but was made of some sort of unbreakable material. She also came with a little brown suitcase filled with several tiny outfits. The dresses were beautiful with lace and very intricate stitching exactly like little girls at that time wore to church or to other important events. I spent many happy days and years with Kathy, as I named her, and she became my best friend. I treated her just like a person, and I read to her and sometimes pretended to be her teacher.

I will never forget the time I realized that Kathy was not brought by Santa and that those doll clothes had been sewn with much love by my mother. Even as a child I thought she must love me a great deal to have made all of those clothes for just a doll. I thought too that she knew that I was lonely as an only child and needed someone to play with.

Eventually I grew up, went to college, got married, and moved from my childhood home. I don’t know what happened to Kathy, but the memory of her and of those beautiful dresses lingers in my heart.

CLICK HERE to read other poems and stories by Linda Barnette.