She sat waiting in the Woolworth’s store, sharing a shelf with other dolls. Her body was shaped from soft pink cloth right down her legs, ending in socks of red cloth and stitched -on shoes of black.
Her hair was made of black yarn twisted in ringlets. She had black eyes painted on her fabric face, and a small red smile with rosy pink cheeks. Her dress was made of red cotton.
It was the most beautiful doll she had ever seen. Every day after school, she walked downtown justto gaze at her. It was Little Lulu all right, her favourite comic book character.
Christmas was coming and she hoped her parents would buy the doll for her, but knowing they were always short of money, the doll seemed unlikely. She was too young to get a job and too old for a Santa wish list. She would just have to be content with visiting and viewing at the store.
Then one day she entered the store and Lulu was gone! She looked around the toy department to see where else Lulu could be. A nice lady asked to help her. She said she was looking for the Lulu doll. The lady said it had been sold. Oh no! Tears filled her eyes and she ran from the store.
She didn’t venture downtown again, but kept busy after school making Christmas decorations and helping out with the baking, which consisted mainly of licking spoons.
Finally, it was Christmas morning. She was quite excited to see all the gifts that had appeared overnight. She had to pretend it was Santa’s work, as her parents thought she didn’t know otherwise.
Also, her younger sister was still a believer. First, it was get dressed and eat breakfast. Her parents thought it best to eat a decent meal before the onslaught of candies, cookies and cake.
Then it was present opening time.
Yes, there were the Barbara Ann Scott ice skates, a Nancy Drew book, new comic books, assorted articles of uninteresting clothing, a new ring and necklace which she put on right away, plus two books of cut-out dolls. She and her sister got to playing cut-outs right away.
Meanwhile, the parents oohed and aahed over everything and drank coffee. Father started folding up tissue from around the tree. Suddenly, “What’s this?” he said to Mother. It was an unwrapped box from Santa. He slowly removed the lid. There was – Lulu! It was the most beautiful doll she had ever seen.
“How are you today?” the uniformed woman asked. “It’s time for your lunch”.
She found herself being wheeled into the dining room. Someone had planted a tree in the middle of the room. The flashing lights were very bright and cast confusing shadows. Lunch was served, and she was glad she wasn’t one of the ones being hand fed but could manage on her own.
Later, back in her room, she was informed that a visitor was coming especially to see her. She waited. A knock. The door opened.
“Hi, Aunty. It’s me, Lila, your niece. Remember me? I’ve brought you some cookies and a present for Christmas.”
Christmas? Was that what the tree was about? She opened the shortbread.
“I made it myself,” Lila said. “Hope you like it!”
Then the wrapped box. Lila untied the bow. “I found this Aunty, at the old house. Mom said it belonged to you, when you were kids together.” The lid was off. There lay an old cloth doll. “Lulu!” she heard herself cry out. The tears came. It was the most beautiful doll she had ever seen or would see again.