In Fun

 When I turned 13, my Grandfather gave me an unusual birthday present.  He gave me an old doll.  I remember unwrapping the gift and being so excited about the thought of what might be inside the shiny wrapping paper.  Grandpa Howie always gave the best presents and I was confident that this one would be no different.  Initially, I thought the doll was a joke.  Why would he give me an old, dirty doll? It made no sense but I tried to smile.  However, I’m sure that he saw my disappointment. I’m not sure if he expected my reaction but, he quickly handed me a photo.  He sat me down and explained that the girl in the photo was his mother, my Great Grandmother, when she was about 13.  It was around 1930 and my Great Grandmother lived in Germany with her family. Of course, 1930 was not a good time for a Jewish family to live in Germany.  Grandpa Howie went on to explain that the photo was taken as my Great Grandmother and her family were getting ready to leave Germany to move to the United States. It was going to be a long trip and they weren’t going to be able to bring a lot of possessions.  Therefore, Great Grandmother choose to bring this doll with her. She could have picked a lot of other things but, she choose this doll and now he was giving it to me. Even at the age of 13, I remember feeling proud that he trusted me to care for the doll. He told me to protect it and pass it down to my children.  I promised him I would.  Years after all my other childhood dolls are gone, this doll still sits on my shelf. To me, this doll isn’t a toy.  It is a part of my family.  It is a part of me.

Place(s): Germany

– Samantha Hall

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