The First Christmas of the American Doll

The first gift Soul Fry opened on Christmas morning was wrapped in red shiny paper with a white satin ribbon. It was an American Doll, the 1774 American Patriot Elizabeth Cole. She was wearing a floor-length pink taffeta gown, diamond earrings, and white patent shoes, her long blonde locks tied at the nape of her neck. A little curl over each ear framed her face. A beautiful 18-incher, she is. Embraced immediately.

Also in the packages was a handmade dollie bunk bed, lovingly crafted over three days by Papa Carpenter in the basement of the Lindsay Lodge. In other bags: doll clothes meticulously handmade by the lady who runs the antique shop on Main Street, and a hand-knit sweater ordered from the church lady at the Church of the Pilgrimage, who played a little Christmas poker with us at the Harvest Fair. That is, she took our order, saw our 15 and raised us 10, deciding that what we really needed was an Irish knit sweater and matching tam. We saw it, agreed, and joyfully forked over the extra money.

Christmas morning, Soul Fry was over the moon. For about an hour. Then, while fidgeting with Elizabeth's hair, made it clear that she really needed Elizabeth's best friend, too, Felicity. 

Sure! The dolls are only $109, and why not get a friend for her, with outfits to match--only an additional $30 or so per outfit. We'll get right on that.

You think I'm kidding?

I know, I know. The "tsk-tsk" of my disapproving anti-materialist, liberal friends is rattling my windows. You stuffed your children's stockings with wooden toys, nuts, toothbrushes, and an orange that you all split after dinner. Your kids are now playing pickup sticks and Jenga on the living room floor. We don't want to disappoint you. We did do old fashioned gifts, too: markers, coloring books, a wooden Chinese fan, bath salts, and old-fashioned jacks. Soul Fry loved them. For about a second. Then went right back to her American Doll.

Soul Fry doesn't understand how much her American Doll cost, and that is most certainly not why she wants them. Oh, we tried to fool her with the cheap knock-off 18-incher a few months ago.  Guess what? Her hair looks like hell now, her eyes are a little crossed (not that there's anything wrong with that), and worse, they don't close when she sleeps. Frankly, we're finding that a little freaky.

But it's okay; Soul Fry dealt with it. She put her on the bottom bunk so we could sleep. It's hard to feel peaceful when you're sleeping beside something that looks like it came out of the third drawer  in the basement at the Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital.

Now, the day after Christmas, the three girls—Soul Fry, Elizabeth Cole, and the Freak—are all resting comfortably in an upper chamber under their handmade quilts. (Mommy sewed the bedding on Christmas morning; Mommy has issues.)

And Mommy is looking at the Christmas money from Nana, thinking it just might be enough to buy Felicity, so that our little Patriot Elizabeth can have a buddy who sleeps like a normal human being. Felicity's a Loyalist, by the way, but we think it's only fair to give Elizabeth someone English to beat up on.

The resident Irishman approves.