Friday, 11 July 2008

The Face That Spoilt Everything.

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek


When I was nine years old I was friendly with April, a girl from the same school that I went to. We had recently moved house and I didn't know many people, so April was one of the first friends who I saw out of school. We started to see each other in the evenings and at weekends. She told me she had a baby sister called Suzie. It turned out that Suzie was a life sized doll and that April's father had died young, so there were no other siblings.

Suzie must have been the envy of every girl for miles around. She had a porcelain face and was dressed in real intricately knitted baby clothes. She had fair curly hair and was pushed around in a pale blue "carry cot on wheels" type of pram, that was very unusual in that era and I would have given my eye teeth for one like that. Girls in those days seemed to play with dolls much longer than children do today and on the whole they seemed much younger in comparison to the same aged children today. The above photo obviously does not do justice to the real Suzie and this doll is just a cheap one belonging to my grand daughters.
Apart from the fact that she was a much loved doll, Suzie must have been valuable. She was April's most treasured possession, so much so, that she thought of her as her own sister.

One day after playing at our house, April ran home for her tea, leaving Suzie in her pram with me. She was supposed to come straight back for her after her meal but as the time ticked by, I realized she had not been allowed to do this.
I took Suzie out of her pram to play with her. I cuddled her and carried her around with me like a baby. I then made a crucial mistake of sitting her on the dining room chair next to the table and pretended to give her a meal. Crash...... Suzie fell sideways to the floor and her face cracked in half!

To say that I was mortified was the understatement of a life time. It might just as well have been the end of the world. How could I tell April that Suzie was dead!

After I'd cried and was almost sick with fear, my mum, who was very matter of fact, said, "Well if she was so precious, then why did she leave her here in the first place?" She then went on to tell me that I must give April one of my own dolls to make up for it.
I took my doll, Elizabeth, with the cheap pottery face and the bald head. Although she was much loved, she wasn't a patch on Suzie.

"Come on then, better face the music," said Mum as we pushed the pram towards the road where April lived. I could hardly walk.
The bell rang and a look of pleasure fell upon April and her mother's face when they saw the pram.
Then they noticed the face! Tears welled up in both their eyes, though politely they took Elizabeth and closed the door. Mum had done the talking, but what could be said?

Things were never the same after that. Mum said that the friendship would have cooled anyway, as April passed a scholarship into a boarding school so we wouldn't get the opportunity to see much of each other from then on. However, I knew the real reason why we didn't stay in touch. It was because of Suzie and what I had done.
I still squirm with embarrassment and remorse at the memory and April if you happen to be reading this, then I am truly sorry!

This is my true story written for Photo Story Friday which is hosted by Cecily and Mama Geek

34 comments:

Cecily R said...

Maggie! How awful for you both!

I have a memory like that only not quite as traumatic. I still wince when I think of it though.

Great PSF!! Thanks for playing again this week!

Lindsay said...

How dreadful - but brave and calm of your mother! I think my mother would have been very angry with me. You and your mother did a brave thing and your friend was not a true friend if she could not come to terms with the problem albeit at a later date.

Indrani said...

That is touching, I hope your friend April reads this. After all you didn't mean it.

Working mum said...

How terrible and how brave to own up to it. I hope she grew out of it and didn't hold a grudge.

btw your granddaughter's doll is a bit scary!

Peter said...

Oh Maggie, what a story! I'm not surprised you felt so bad - but well done to your mum (and to you) for owning up to it, even if it ruined the friendship.

And yes, the doll in the photo is freaky me out a bit!

take care
Peter

imbeingheldhostage said...

Oh, this made me tear up. For both of you. How sad that these feelings manage to stay so long. What a moving story, Maggie!

Lavinia Ladyslipper said...

Oh dear oh dear oh dear. What a childhood memory...

I *do* hope April has gotten over it by now ( one never knows!).

YOu are quite right, girls of years gone by cherished and played with their dolls alot longer than the girls of today. I was crazy about my dolls and passed many hours happily absorbed in them. I have been thinking to do my 'dentist doll' post for a while now......hmmm, you've inspired me.

This is a very interesting post. I congratulate your mother for handling the whole situation with aplomb.

Momma said...

That's a very powerful childhood memory. I wonder if April still remembers it, too? It sounds as though she and her mother had seen their share of tragedy and sadness so that so much of their lives were wrapped up in an inanimate object. I hope that they moved on and were able to find another "Suzie" to fill the voids in their lives.

And Maggie? It happens. You didn't mean to do it. Stuff just happens. Blame gravity.

Peace - D

Irene said...

That must have been very hard on you. I sympathize with your young girl's feelings of mortification. It takes some doing to get over something like that. No matter how well your mom handled it. You always feel a bit tainted afterwards. Cheer up, it is long ago and forgotten by all involved but you. You are to kind for your own good.

Robyn said...

Oh that's one of those life defining moments isn't it. It takes a little bit more to own up to a good friend doesn't it. Great post!!

April said...

Oh you are too, too sweet. Great story.

Tiaras & Tantrums said...

oh, this is so sad!!

Jacki said...

Oh I hope you find your friend some day and that you can be friends again. Such a sad story!

aims said...

Oh Maggie! My heart clenched when I read about the fall.

And to read that both of them had tears in their eyes. Oh dear!

Isn't it (not) funny how these things haunt us for the rest of our lives. Do you think April thinks of that doll even now or has she forgotten about it all?

Wouldn't it be nice to know!

Sniz said...

Wow, what a story. I had tears in my eyes...

Enjoy your Friday - Sniz

Bunny Trails said...

Oh my! What a difficult story. I sure hope that April was able to forgive you. I hope there was cathartic for you to write the story.

Mean Mom said...

Oh, how dreadful, for all concerned. Even at that age, I wouldn't have left anything behind, though, if it was that precious. You were both just children, however, and these unfortunate things happen.

I am sure that this incident would have stayed in your memory for much longer than it stayed in your friend's and I am also sure that you were forgiven many, many years ago.

MamaGeek said...

Oh no, say it ain't so. This was so incredibly touching Maggie! I so hope your friend reads this...

Jeni said...

I always enjoy reading your trips down memory lane -whether the story be a funny one, educational or as in this case, a rather sad one. The doll though reminded me in many ways of a doll one of my aunts gave me when I was probably only 1-2 years old. It had been a mannequin in a children's shop and my aunt felt it looked very much like me then. It too had a porcelain face, legs and arms from the elbow down and a cloth body. It also had a wig when it was given to me but the wig was probably among the first parts of this doll to disappear. The face and head cracked, as did the arms and legs and one leg eventually broke at the knee but "warts and all" that doll was still one of my most favorite, treasured dolls and I kept it on my bed, long after I stopped playing with dolls.

LingoVise Says... said...

What a truly sad event. Accidents happen to us all, but to lose a friendship while so young over one is very sad indeed.

It's tragic that April (& her mum) didn't see the sisterhood she could have shared with You!

® ♫ The Brit ♪ ® said...

What a truly emotional and heartbreaking story maggie!
That poor child must have had some heavy traumatic issues to have a doll that she called her Sister!
Great true-life story! and thankfully you wasn't imprisoned for "DollSlaughter"!

carrie & troy keiser said...

*sniff sniff * That was a sad story.

CrazyCath said...

Oh Maggie what a sad memory! You didn't mean to do that but how hard when you are little...
I really hope actually that she reads it somehow, and one day the two of you might meet up and laugh about it...

I can hope can't I?
You are a great writer you know. I really enjoy your stories - even the sad ones!

Golightly said...

What a heartbreaking photo story. Sad in so many ways. Funny how those childhood moments can haunt us late into adulthood.

Eileen said...

This is such a sad story. How painful it must have been for you! It was an accident, an innocent and very typical for a child, yet the memories are still so powerful for you.

I'm sure April moved on. On some level I just know she understood. It would be so nice if she did read your blog.

Your such a kind person. Thanks for sharing this.

Rinkly Rimes said...

I once had a 'Dutch doll' called, of course, Gretchen, and my sister knitted her a swimsuit. I took Gretchen to the park and left her on a seat. When I went back to look for her she'd gone. That was my first experience of loss and, I think, one of the greatest.

Your story is a memory-inspirer!

Mae said...

I have a tag you.

http://www.precious-maeday.blogspot.com/best-gift-tag.html

Valleys Mam said...

Maggie your blog is a joy I love it

Maggie May said...

EVERYONE! When I was a child there was no question of not owning up to it. That's the way we were brought up!
Thank you all for your interesting comments. Some of you were jogged into remembering similar experiences. Look forward to reading about them!
Jeni & Rinkly Rimes...... interesting stories!
That is just one of many memories I have of different events. I will get round to writing about them eventually!

Suburbia said...

You poor thing! so sad to have lost a friend that way, and to have to give away your doll too. Isn't it funny how the feelings stay so sharp after years have gone by?!

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Jules said...

Oh Maggie: This was a story wonderfully written. And yet so very heart-wrenching for you, poor thing. It's amazing how we remember moments like these and they shape our lives and who we are, isn't it?
You are such a warm and wonderful person and thank you for sharing this special memory.

Flowerpot said...

It's amazing how these things stay with us, isnt it? Ihope April reads and understands.

Retiredandcrazy said...

That was such a poignant story Maggie. Maybe the start of your wonderful streak of empathy?