I wanted to give my older sister a special gift this year. Her tenth birthday was nearing quickly, and I knew we had to make it a special day. We were the closest in age in the family, being only one year apart, but we were also the closest in spirit. Our little brother and sister were nice, but my sister and I shared a special bond that no one could understand, nor break.
Pa had just settled new land out West, and our homestead was still being built. The process was slow, since most of us were still too small to help Pa much. He didn't mind, though. He was a hard worker, and we yelled encouragement and brought water to him, as we watched him place each log securely in place with his strong arms. The cabin was coming together nicely, but there was still much work to be done.
I had asked Pa for money to buy my sister a gift, but he shook his head. He was saving his extra money to buy windows for the cabin, he told me, so we would be safe from anything that may try to get in. He said that we needed to make this birthday special without money.
My sister's birthday arrived, and she was brimming with excitement. Pa had made a small cake for us, and a fresh loaf of bread with cheese to enjoy. He also gave her two small wooden dogs, carved on a piece of oak. My sister laughed and played with her new treasures.
I reached into my pocket and presented her with a gift of my own. She grew quiet as she looked at the small object in my hands. Tears filled her eyes as she reached out and took the gift. It was a small doll, made from a handkerchief. A simple gift: a gift that I had made that very morning. She turned the doll around gently in her hands. Upon the doll's dress was embroidered a lacy red and white border -- Mama's handiwork. Mama had given me this hanky the year she passed away of the fever, for my own birthday. The handkerchief held many memories for us; from sitting on Mama's lap by the fire and watching her embroider onto the plain hanky, to crying together into it at her funeral. My sister thanked me for the gift in a whisper and tucked it safely into her pocket. We smiled at each other, and Pa gave us a hug. We all knew that when we saw the doll, memories of our time with Mama would follow, and it would be like having a little bit of her back with us.
©2020 by LEAHZ
PHOTO: What makes this doll especially lovely is the wide red and white embroidered border around the otherwise ordinary white cloth handkerchief. I imagine that it took some lady many, many hours to complete this detailed work; she did such a professional job! And all these years later, it still holds up to perfection! This doll sold on Facebook Marketplace as a special Valentine gift to someone's loved one!
My daughter "LEAHZ" and I write these short heirloom doll stories. The idea came from my daughter when, one day, she told me that I should use my creative writing skills to write a unique, one-page historical fiction story for each handkerchief doll. And, so, we joined up together and started writing! We hope you enjoy these sweet little tales! Angela Free