We emigrated from Sicily in 1964, when I was 5 years old. After school I went back for 2 years, and my favourite great-aunt or “pro-zia” as we say in Italian, had a doll on the couch, nothing special just a toy. She told me that I had left it behind, and she’d kept it as a souvenir and given it my name -Grazia. Years later she died not having had any children.
One of my cousins inherited the house. Years later my nephew from Australia went to Italy, he visited the house with the intention of purchasing it to keep it in the family. He sent me photos and I asked if there was a doll, he said ‘’yes, but it was mouldy, dirty, naked and missing one leg’’. Nobody knew anything about it, so I told him the story. My cousin, who inherited the house decided to look for the leg, which she found.
My 93-year-old aunt in Sicily, which is my dad’s sister who moved to South Africa before us, made it her mission to fix, clean and clothe the doll in order to reunite it with me after all this time. Being a sentimental person with a heart of gold, she stopped at nothing less than making sure the leg functioned again like it did when I was a child. With the ordeal of the leg out the way, she even went as far as knitting an outfit for the doll. The doll is now ready to go and is awaiting my nephew’s next visit to Italy for it to be shipped back to me.
“Can’t go now”
Unfortunately, though, due to the current world-wide crisis that COVID-19 is causing, I may have to wait a while longer to see the doll in person again. The doll is waiting, and hopefully after everything settles, he’ll be able to go again, and my aunt will have the satisfaction of knowing I have received it. I would have totally understood if they had thrown it away, after all, it is just a toy…..expect for the sentimental value they attached to it, which makes me feel loved and special.
In short, this story proves that objects can be lost or misplaced, and memories can gradually grow faint, but sentimental value itself is timeless, and it has the ability to create comfort when least expected. The “doll”, well Grazia ‘’Junior’’ lives on.
Thanks for reading