Monday, 1 December 2008

My Christmas Horror


This is a re-posting from my AOL journal but as we are now in Christmas month, it seems appropriate.

Are your sitting comfortably, then I will begin.

I had not long turned six years old. I guess the reason that my Dad chose this present was that I had been badgering my parents for a baby sister. I had no way of knowing that this request was impossible as my Mum was in her forties when she had me!

Well, although my father was a "city gent" he had hobbies that he could turn his hand to, hobbies that surprised most people. For instance, it was my Dad and not my Mum who taught me to knit. My Dad was an excellent knitter. During the war he was an Ack Ack gunner and was stationed up in the Orkneys and Shetland Islands at one time. To pass the long, lonely hours when there was no action, he taught himself to knit and was a dab hand at making socks.

As he did not earn a large salary and times were very tight when I was young, he also tried his hand at woodworking and furniture upholstery. He had recently re-covered an old sofa and two large armchairs in a beautiful dark red, heavy-duty material. I loved this and the pattern it had. So, he came up with the idea of making me a present. My own little armchair to match. He must have spent long hours at it and only when I was asleep in bed because I never saw or heard anything.

I suppose he had thought that just giving me an empty chair was not much of a present. I guess that between them they came up with the idea of putting a doll in the chair.

Now, this was not any ordinary doll. It was the size of a one year old child and was dressed in proper clothes for a child of that age. I remember it well, a pale lemon dress with white net frills around the neck, hem and sleeves.

So, came Christmas morning. I always used to wake up in the early hours. This particular morning I woke when the sky was just turning to grey instead of dark blue. I woke in the gloom so to speak. Realizing it was Christmas day and I had missed Santa yet again, I eagerly rolled onto my left side (my bed was positioned so you had to get out on the left).
I froze in absolute horror. There was this face looking at me. Staring glassy eyes, arms reaching out towards me as a real child would reach out to its mother, but the worse thing was its mouth. It had bright red lips that were parted in what was supposed to be a smile and it had teeth!!!!! Upper teeth and lower teeth that gleamed white in the dim light. It seemed that it was reaching out to devour me! It was the most frightening thing I had ever seen.

I let out a scream that must have woken the neighbourhood. My parents came running. All I could say, between sobs, was "take it away, take it away". It took them some time to realize what I was talking about. They assumed that I had experienced a nightmare. The doll was duly removed and my Dad sat and talked to me and got me to try my little armchair which was a perfect fit. I loved that armchair which was placed in the lounge between my Dad's chair and the sofa. I was to spend many happy hours sitting in that chair reading my books.

The doll was another story. Later in the day they brought it out again. I burst into tears. This was not a pretty, huggable doll that I would have loved. This was not a baby sister. This was a monster. A thing of terror.
It must have cost them a good deal of money and looking back through the mists of time, they must have been hurt and upset by the whole thing.
Every time it was placed in my bedroom I would drag it to the toy cupboard, pull everything else out, place the doll in the very back and pile everything else on top of it. I wanted to bury it, I wanted to kill it, I wanted it to disappear. Even the knowledge that it was in the toy cupboard gave me the horrors at night. I imagined that it would open the door when I was asleep, crawl out and bite me.

My Mum kept getting the damned thing out again. Give them their due, they did try to win me over. They did explain time and time again that it was harmless, that it was just a doll. I would have none of it. I wanted this ugly evil thing gone. In the end, it was gone. They gave up and I believe gave it away.

After that, I always had a horror of store mannequins. I was alright approaching them but if I had to walk past one, I immediately felt light headed and sick. I feel the same way about waxworks. We have taken our own daughter to Madame Tassauds and I had to steal myself to do that.
Who knows what goes through the mind of a child? Things that parents would think of as harmless can leave lasting trauma. I can still see that hideous (to me) face to this day.

My Dad never made the same mistake again. The following Christmas he gave me the most beautiful doll I had ever seen (he must have saved for months). She was dressed in victorian clothes, silk clothes, all in beautiful blues and pinks. She had long brown ringlets, beautiful dark eyes with long lashes and if I held her hands she "walked" for me. I named her Angela and she was my pride and joy for several years.



  1. Jeanette
    I love to hear recollections like this of Christmases past. I can understand your reaction to the lifesize doll. I was glad to hear your dad got you a really pretty doll the next year that you loved. Great story, thanks for sharing it with us.

  2. What a scare you had...Thankfully there are no Christmas horror stories at my house. That would have quite spoilt Christmas. I'm back at work and eating lunch at my desk today. Snowing and cold here. 'On Ya'-ma

  3. I can imagine how frightened you were with that doll. I am glad that you got a pretty one later. Your Cristmas graphics are so pretty. Hugs, Helen

  4. I had a chatty cathy that used to give me the willies...LOL

  5. First of all let me say I love you Blog's Christmas look! Beautiful! I also was given a little overstuffed rocking chair as a child & the original material was a red oil cloth type material. In later years it was recovered and used by my daughter, my son and both of my grandkids. I think it finally fell apart and was disposed of. I also had a life size doll but I really loved mine. It had painted on hair so mom made both boy's & girl's clothes for it. I guess it was a "trans-gendered" doll & way before it's time. Your Blog is so festive~I love it! Linda in Washington state

  6. I dont rememeber this story ,oh poor little Jeannette ,isnt it funny the things that scared us when we were little ,Mine was a studio photograph of a Grandfather complete with whiskers ,I would scream ,,how I wish I had it now Jan xx

  7. Thanks Jeanette for sharing this story with us of a Christmas past. I can just see the doll and the lemon dress... the teeth too... I can see why that could be a frightening experience. That is wonderful about the Victorian doll that came the next year. A great title for a great entry!

  8. I loved reading this story. I can imagine your fright after reading the description of the doll, especially with teeth!! The armchair on the other hand sounds like a wonderful gift. I imagined you cherished that airchair.

    Your picture in the header looks awesome!

  9. Hi Jeannette, Reading your story I remembered a movie where a doll would come alive a became a devilish instrument!!! Fortunately your doll was not so bad. In any case it is not a good memory. Love your festive look, especially the snowman with your signature. Ciao. Antonella

  10. Your poor dad Jeannette! He must have been horror struck at your reaction. So glad your next doll was so loved and not scary. Eileen x

  11. I can certainly understand your terror of that doll. It would have done the same thing to me especially since you didn't expect anything like that. At least your chair was nice :)........

  12. Jeannette I can't remember reading this entry before ~ I really did enjoy it and the memory of that Doll must have been awful ~ so glad you got a beautiful one the following year :o) ~ Ally x

  13. i can't recall ever having something like that happening to me.
    i can imagine it frightened you a lot, happy you got the pretty dolly next time.
    have a good week.

  14. I can relate to this story. I got a lifesize doll, that I swear to this day came to life when everybody went to sleep at night.

    Love the christmas feel and graphics.

  15. Perhaps if it wasn't staring at you when you first woke up you might of liked it. I had a doll once that I loved up until the day I accidently pulled its head off and all these horrid wires were sticking up out of its neck. I was so scared and threw it down and cried and screamed. My mother fixed it but I would not play with it again!

  16. Jeannette you painted that story so perfectly I feel as though I was "watching" the whole thing. I love that your father made you your own little chair! How sweet!!!

    Sorry the doll was such a terror to you. Isn't it so funny how things "hit" us sometimes? And even stranger how those things affect us in so many wasy for the rest of our lives.

    I loved this entry...but then I love anything you write!


  17. One year my nan bought me and my sister black dolls which she had knitted clothes for, we had never seen a black doll before and they soon became our favorite.She also bought me a baby boy that actually had 'parts'! My nan always spoiled us but found the most rememberable presents.

  18. Silly me i almost forget, Wishing you and mike and your family a wonderfull christmas If I dont pop back before the big day, also best of health for 2009 x take care x

  19. Oh Jeannette, you must have been so frightened by that doll. I am sure there is a name for being afraid of manikins and the likes. I had not read this story before really enjoyed it, Love Joan

  20. You have done a beautiful job of decorating in your all the pretty Christmas decorations. I can only imagine how you felt with the happy you got another one..much nicer, hugs and love,

  21. You and I are of a same age. My parents gave me a "walker" doll that looked like Shirley was almost as big as I was. When I had it outside playing some adults came over they thought it was a live child with But I think if I woke up and saw her next to my bed I'd probably be scared's funny how a child reacts to, Sandi

  22. Hi Jeannette, Isn`t it funny how these things affect a child like that. I suppose being gifted with a good imagination didn`t help Putting myself in your shoes I can easily imagine how frightened you must have been, I would have been terrified. I`m so glad you got a lovely doll the following year.

    Love Sandra xxxx

  23. Jeannette your stories are wonderful. I can see how a doll like that can scare a small child, but girlfriend I am sorry but I found it so funny. I was laughing so much I was crying. You need to write a book about your life. I find it so interesting. (((hugs)))
    Love ya,
    Cindy xoxoxo


Thank you for leaving a comment, it means a lot.