Saying Goodbye to Cry Baby

Sep 23, 2011 | 4 comments

Cry Baby, 2011

     Yesterday it rained and, again, we stuck to the new House Rule and cleaned out a box from the storage room.  It was hard.  Really hard.  The box contained three dolls, all in various stages of disintegration.   I hadn’t seen them for years and, truth to tell, they should have been discarded eons ago but…
     One was my “Czechoslovakian Doll” given to me by my Uncle Ed for the collection he had started for me in the 1930s.  Years ago (in one of my past incarnations), when all the dolls were in storage, she had fallen off a shelf and had been run over by a car.  She was not reparable, but I had never had the heart to throw her out.  Yesterday, I did.
     The second doll was a small celluloid doll with “real hair” that could be washed.  She was one of a set of twins, given to me in 1942 on the Christmas after my twin cousins, Freddy and Mona, were born.  The dolls were identical but one was dressed as a boy, one as a girl.  Predictably, I named them after my New York cousins.  This one was unclothed with legs unstrung and hair a bit patchy.  Mona or Freddy?  I don’t know.  I bit the bullet and that doll went the way of the previous one.
     But it was the third doll that caused me the most angst.  Cry Baby.  I remember the Christmas I got her.  It was 1939 and I was two and a half and Cry Baby was as big as I was.  She was dressed in a little outfit identical to one of my own, down to the “fur” trimmed bonnet.  I loved Cry Baby.  Her head had come off long ago and was cleverly reattached by string wound round and round her neck.  Her crying mechanism had ceased to work and her celluloid hair was flaking off like great shards of dandruff.  I really thought I might cry.
     But I bit the proverbial bullet, and out she went.  I kept telling myself that I was saving my son (or someone even less interested) the trouble and it was “the right thing to do.”  But it was hard.  Really hard.


  1. Nancy

    I felt a bit weepy as I read about Cry Baby. She reminded me of “Biggy” my doll from just about the same time. Difference is that my Baby Sister, Suze, demolished my big doll when she herself was a mere babe. Ah, the memories. What did you do with the remains? The trash or garbage cans feel disrespectful. Alas, alas.

    • sydney

      Nyel took care of the final disposal — or is going to. I think it hasn’t happened yet. I don’t really have any feelings one way or another about how it’s done. Once I decided to part with her, my sentimental attachment was over. She is, after all, only a doll…

  2. Stephanie Frieze

    Sydney, Cry Baby looks to be in pretty good shape. Had you thought of selling her to a collector? I have a nearly identical doll that belonged to my mother except that she’s in pieces. This week Dave was cleaning out the garage and came across the plastic tub that is the doll’s current home. I drug it back in. It just seems like someone more knowledgeable than I could do something with her. Maybe I will get Josh to put her on eBay.

    • sydney

      I certainly wouldn’t refuse money for Cry Baby if someone offered but I simply don’t have the time, energy or interest to pursue such a transaction myself! If you know of a collector with an offer, steer them in my direction!


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