Dolly was in bad shape. Dolly needed fixing. We explained carefully to Zazzie that Dolly was broken (“Bébéééé ? Cassééee ?”*). Great-Grandma pitched in with a helpful “It might work or it might not. We’ll try to fix her. If we can’t, she’ll die.”
Dolly arrived in our family when I was about a year and a half old, just before my baby sister was born. She has been mine, then Hannah’s, then Joe’s, then Calum’s, and now Zazzie’s. And she has been loved, fiercely loved. She just about held it together for about 30 years, but things were getting out of hand. She has developed a sleepy eyelid, and looks permanently grimy. There’s not much we could do about that, but we could try and fix the dangling limbs.
I called a doll fixer in Toulouse who said the case was hopeless. She didn’t have the machine necessary to sew a new body onto Dolly’s thick arms and legs. She suggested buying a long sleeved outfit from the premature baby department and gluing it all together. This wasn’t a bad idea, but my Mom the superhero said we could do better than that (unless it didn’t work, and then Dolly would die).
First we cut off the arms and legs. I performed the first amputation with Zaz in the privacy of the kitchen. I was wary of her reaction, but she took it all in her stride (we had done A LOT of explaining prior to the operation).
Great-Ma made sure all the old stitches were out. Great-Pa drilled minute holes along the edge of the limbs so we could fit a needle through the thick plastic. Grandma took apart the body and made a pattern for the new one. She sewed it up in a beautiful blue (Zazzie’s favourite colour). It took a few days and one mistake, but the outcome was successful.
Here’s to many more years of love and wear and tear for Dolly.
Happy Easter, everyone!
*As you can see, in spite of all my best efforts, the girl still speaks French. She’s been in an English-language-only household (with the odd word of Italian) for 2 weeks now and it’s till more “Ouaaais” than “Yeah”.