keeping her calm
Over time, my mother began to play with baby dolls, and I loved this because it calmed her for long stretches. There were two dolls she loved the most. The first of these two dolls was Addie. Eventually, I felt that I had to take Addie away from my mother because she pulled Addie’s hair clean out of her skull while combing it. I had given Addie to my daughter as a Christmas gift when she was about seven or eight years old. Addie was from the American Doll series, and my mother loved her more than anything. She talked to her, sometimes for hours. She kissed Addie, tried to feed her, and generally took great care of her except for the hair-grooming part, which could take several days to untangle. Poor Addie. I felt bad about taking Addie away from my mother, especially during those moments when she would call to the doll when she saw her sitting across the room. “Come here, Addie,” she would coax. The doll would not go to her. “I just want to comb your hair,” my mother would add.
My mother’s second doll, Belinda, had several names including Baby-Rae, “that girl,” and Lola. But the name that stuck the longest was Belinda.