Just Recently a dear friend of mine was reunited with her childhood doll. The doll has a lot of sentimental value to it as it has been in the family for many years. Today I would like to share Marie’s story with you. Marie has been through a lot in her long life and had been badly damaged twice. It is amazing that she is still here today in one piece. Here is Marie’s story.
Many many years ago a German gentleman settled in the town of Parattah just outside of Oatlands. His name was Mr Baumann He brought with him his family and became the hotel keeper of the Parattah Hotel. He had several daughters and they all attended the Parattah school. One Christmas the school put on a nativity play. One of his daughters had a small part in the play much to the delight of Mr Baumann. In fact he was so proud of his daughter he decided to buy her a gift. The gift was Marie a beautiful German made doll. He made a special trip to Hobart in order to buy the doll for his daughter. The young girl was very lucky as she had received this large composition made doll while most of the other children received much small gifts.
Several years later after the children had grown up the doll still had a home with it’s original owner. My friend Violet’s aunty the eldest of Violet’s mother’s family came to be visiting Marie’s now grown up owner. She saw Marie sitting in a chair and wondered if she could be bought for her younger sister. Her sister Cindy was the youngest in the family and had been quite ill with diabetes. Evelyn knew the doll would make her very happy so she asked if she could buy her. Her owner however was happy to give her away so Evelyn brought her home for Cindy. Marie brought Cindy much happiness but very sadly she passed away at the tender age of only seventeen. The family was broken hearted and it was very difficult for them to recover from their terrible loss. Cindy had brought so much love and sunshine into the family.
Marie all this time had pride and place in the living room where she sat in a special chair of her very own. The family were now living in Grandmother’s home at Parratah. This is where a rather amusing incident took place involving Marie. The resident Father had come to call on the family and he was shown into the living room. He of course greeted everyone including the little girl sitting quietly on her chair. “Hello little girl” smiled the Father. “It’s a doll Father” returned Grandmother. He was so embarrassed he just did not know what to say. I think that story would have stayed with him for a very long time. Some time after this Marie was boxed up and sent to live with another branch of the family who lived in St Helens. They had a little girl named Marjory. Marjory became Marie’s new owner.
Meanwhile my lovely friend and her family moved to Ross when she was about eight years of age. This would have been around the late thirties by now. Violet’s mother was often thinking about Marie who was now Marjory’s doll. She talked about Marie so very often as she dearly wanted her back for Violet to play with. Violet’s mother would recall her lovely long blonde waist length hair, her pretty blue eyes. One day it was decided that Violet’s mother would contact Marjory’s family to see if she could have the doll back for Violet. They said yes and packed her up into a box to be sent back to Ross.Violet’s mother was shocked when she received the parcel from the post office. It was far too small to contain such a large doll. Unfortunately she had been broken and she was in several pieces. Violet’s mother took her to the doll hospital in Hobart for repair work to be carried out. On her return to the family home Violet’s mother lovingly knitted her some beautiful new clothes. She was all in blue except for a pink singlet. Violet just loved playing with her. She had a pram and enjoyed pushing her around the garden in it. She thought she was a very lucky little girl to have her doll and pram. Violet had Marie for some five years or more and she was very much loved by her.
Around 1941 the family moved back to Grandmother’s home in Parattah. It was a large family home with a front foyer and stairs leading up to the bedrooms. Marie had pride and place in the foyer where she sat in a little chair. One day tragedy struck when the cleaning lady was mopping the foyer floor. Margret being very hard working wanted to get the floor clean and shiney so she set about her work. Quite by accident she got the mop caught on Marie’s rocking chair. The action of the mop getting caught on the chair’s rocker propelled the chair forward and poor Marie was thrown out. Now Marie was a very fragile doll. She was composition made and very easily broken. Once she hit the floor she was simply smashed to pieces. The cleaning lady was beside herself and so upset about what she had done. Of course the whole family was upset as Marie was a treasured doll and family heirloom. Violet’s mother saved all the pieces of Marie and carefully placed them in a box where they could not be lost. She then started to enquire about getting Marie repaired. It was very difficult to find anyone who would be able to repair the doll. The war was on and the bits and pieces necessary for the repairs were in short supply. Marie ended up being stored in a shed for many many years.
Decades later When Violet herself had returned to Parattah to live after living in Hobart for several years she began buying doll magazines. She had never lost her love of dolls and she very much enjoyed reading about them. It was now around 1980 and Violet had moved back to the family home where she lived on her own. One day Violet was reading one of her doll magazines when she came across the name of a lady who repaired dolls. She lived in Queensland in a place called Airlie Beach. Violet wondered if she would be able to do anything for Marie who was still packed away in the shed. The woman said she would be able to make Marie a new head as she had the moulds for the older composition dolls. Violet packed up Marie very carefully and her trip to Airlie Beach Queensland was arranged. She was finally put back together with a new head and sent pack to Parattah. She was duly charged about $40.00 for the repairs. It might have seemed a lot in 1980 but the repairs were well done. Marie was parcelled up again and sent home. A friend of Violet’s kindly collected her from the Airways office in Hobart. He kindly drove out to her house so she could have her straight away rather than waiting until they met at work the following day. After he had left Violet opened her parcel in great anticipation. What an exciting moment to see this beautiful doll repaired after so many years. In her lifetime she had been broken twice and had her beautiful long blonde hair cut off. It was thought she was broken beyond repair when she had been thrown from the rocking chair. Now here she was back in one piece with a beautiful new face and lovely soft brown hair styled in ringlets.
Violet was so happy. Marie was given a little wicker chair to sit in and once again she had pride and place in the family home. Violet just cried with joy. Later that week she went to Mancy’s store and bought her some white socks and shoes. Marie needed a new dress so Violet went through her things and found an old velvet dress that had once been her best going out dress. The material would be perfect for a dress for Marie. Violet found a dressmaker to make Marie a dress from the lovely old velvet dress of Violet’s. She also had a silk dressing gown made from another of Violet’s old dresses.
Violet is now in her nineties. She still has Marie with her and Marie still sits in a little wicker chair in her bedroom. Violet says Marie is a wonderful companion and she loves her dearly. When her now cleaning lady comes in the room she is on her guard. Marie is moved before any sweeping and mopping is done. There is no way Violet will put Marie’s life in danger so she will be kept well away from the cleaners.
I hope you have enjoyed Marie’s story. Here is what is known about Marie.
- German Made doll
- Once had very long blonde hair
- Possibly made at the beginning of the 20th century.
- Brand unknown.
- The head mould is the correct one for this doll.