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"Sewing Circles of Herat"
by Christina Lamb

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by Orhan Pamuk

August 28, 2008

Patsy Lou Ann is gone

I was going through some boxes of toys and costumes and games that Kay had when she was a child and discovered, to my horror, that my favorite doll, when I was a child, has gone to where favorite toys go. My sister, Anita and I each received a wonderful rubber doll for Christmas one year when Anita was probably about 3 ˝ and I was about 6. We loved these dolls - and even though there were other dolls through the years, especially for my younger sisters, these were the favorites. I had an older doll named Lutie. She had a composition head and fabric arms and legs. She had a molded loop for a hair ribbon in her hair, but she wasn’t as cuddly as Patsy Lou Ann. I spoke to Anita this afternoon and we agreed that these dolls were our favorites. Even Kay’s little friends liked to play with Patsy Lou Ann and carry her around.

Anita’s doll was named Janny or Jannie. One reason we liked these dolls so much was because they had some heft. I just weighed Patsy Lou Ann’s remains and she weighed 2 pounds, 2.3 ounces. Now that is a heavy doll for a little girl to carry around. They felt like a real babies to us. They didn’t cry or sleep or close their eyes - their eyes were painted on. They didn’t wet or stand or walk, they were just very satisfying baby dolls. We diapered them and dressed them and carried them around and loved them and, I guess, learned how to mother as we did so.

Anita said that she thinks that she gave her doll to the Korean woman who worked for them in Korea. She had a daughter and I guess Anita surmised, after five boys, that girls weren’t going to be in her future. I was surprised at the sadness I felt as I reached into a box of dolls and doll clothes and found that 71 years and the heat of the mezzanine in the garage had taken their toll on her poor, much loved body. My mother would make doll clothes for our dolls and I still have some of those clothes. Which shall I have her wear for the services? The services won‘t be for Patsy Lou Ann, they will be for vestiges of my childhood.

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