Porcelain Doll

Relationship: Child of im/migrant

My grandmother and her parents lived through what is now named El Trujillato, which was an era of dictatorship under Rafael Trujillo. Trujillo destroyed any notion of civil liberties in the Dominican Republic, forcing everyone to join his party or suffer physical consequences through his army. He also had a personal execution list, in which he would send his secret police force to suppress rebels who spoke or acted against him. He has one of the bloodiest regimes in the Americas, with over 50,000 deaths attributed to him. However, in 1961, he was finally assassinated. The whole pueblo, or town, celebrated and many went to Trujillo’s houses and ransacked them for treasures. It was no secret that Trujillo had profited greatly from his time as dictator. My grandmother’s stepfather was a taxi driver, and went to Trujillo’s house to assist in a man's getaway. One of the items that made its way into the taxi was the porcelain doll in my living room. The man must have forgotten to take it with him, and so my grandma’s stepfather gifted it to her. So it became my grandmother’s, then my mother’s. One day it will be mine. Now, when I look at that doll, I imagine all that my family had to suffer on account of Trujillo’s regime. I imagine them in that moment when they knew that Trujillo was dead, and that there was hope that they could have their freedom back and no longer live in fear. The doll in my house may be expensive, but the history it holds is much more valuable to me.     

Place(s): Dominican Republic

– Melissa Lent

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant