A Doll From Bahia, Brazil

In Fun
My great grandmother's doll from Brazil
My great grandmother's doll from Brazil

My great grandmother collected this doll and others like it from South America when she and her husband were living there as Methodist missionaries, with their son in tow. My grandfather later settled down in New Orleans but he'd still tell my mother bedtime stories about growing up in Brazil. My great grandparents died before my mother was born, on the same day. My great grandfather was dying in hospital and his wife was on her way to see him when she had a heart attack. My grandfather was an only child, so had to pack all their things afterward. There were two trunks in the garage when my mother was growing up that her father wouldn't look at because they were the trunks in which he'd packed up all the remnants of his parents. But my mother would look at those trunks all the time. She found the doll collection and especially loved this one, with its real human fingernails and high heels. My mother became obsessed with these trunks and her father's stories of living in a foreign place. She decided that she wanted to live abroad too and settled on China, because it seemed like the most foreign place possible. She started studying Chinese, became an East Asian Studies major in college, met my father teaching in China, and moved to Hong Kong when I was two years old. My parents and my younger siblings still live there; I only left for college. But until I started talking about this doll with my mom, I'd never known the story of why we'd ended up so far from her hometown. 

Place(s): New Orleans,South America,China
Year: 1957

– Nathalie Ellis-Einhorn

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more