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Sunday, January 13, 2013

It All Started With the Jeans, The Art of Letting Go.

About a month ago I was in the process of tidying up my closet, purging myself of clothing and things I felt I no longer needed or that I no longer appreciated. I was getting ready for a fresh start in the new year I  guess. I came across a pair of jeans neatly folded and tucked way in on the top shelf. Size 12. I have not been this size in many years. I took those jeans down, held them up by the waist and let them fall in front of me. Examining them, Gawd, did I ever fit into these? The bigger question though, was why were these jeans still with me, still on my closet shelf. It had been at least six years since they fit me. Ah, I reason, these are the jeans that came to Paris with me, these are my roam around  Paris jeans, my "I can wear a belt and love how I  look jeans", that's why I  still have them. Such nice jeans. As I had started folding them again, and reached up to return them to their safe place, I looked at them one more time and decided, Liza, it is time, I flicked them in the give away pile, knowing I  will always enjoy my memories of Paris with our without these jeans.

I feel  good about letting the jeans go, but this post is not actually about my jeans or about Paris; however that decision to let go of my jeans started a whole other series of events...

As I  continued to dig in my closet.

I noticed a pretty pink box with flowers on it. There she was, just like new in her original box, Mrs. Beasley. (For those of you my age you will know she was a very popular doll in the 60-70's). Mrs. Beasley has been on my closet shelf in some form or other for at least 13 years. As a child, the original Mrs.Beasley came everywhere with me. She was unique in that she was not a baby doll, but an elderly woman doll. She was made popular by the TV show Family Affair.
Through the kerfuffle of life my original Mrs. Beasley got left behind, and well forgotten until a conversation happened many decades later in which I was asked if I could have a thing from childhood that was lost what would it be. My mind was immediately brought back to Mrs. Beasley (And of course I shared many many stories about my relationship with her and provided examples as to why I  chose her). That was my answer. Yes, I would not mind still having that doll I stated.

Much time had passed, I had forgotten about that wine-induced conversation, and it would soon become the year 2000. I had no idea that the original creators of Mrs. Beasley had re-released her as an exact duplicate of the original doll with all the  profits going towards organizations that helped children who had been sexually abused.

A very thoughtful woman who was a big part of my life at that time had ordered her, remembering our conversation from long ago. So on Christmas morning 1999 when I unsuspectingly opened the beautifully wrapped box I was passed, revealing a elderly woman doll in a blue polka dot dress, yes,  a Mrs, Beasley doll, I had a surge of emotion beyond description. So many happy memories all at once. Well, it is safe to say that I lost it, emotionally. I was moved , moved for a couple of reasons. First that  someone would be so thoughtful, and second so grateful for the lost memories that had just been magically restored it seemed.

So, Christmas 1999 came and went and Mrs. Beasley was carefully packed into the  little Sprint along with  many other packages for the  return to PEI voyage. For a while, Mrs. Beasley, still in her box,  had a revered place on a shelf in the living room, but after a while she was transferred to the closet and there she lived, always in the  closet, many homes, many closets later until my above described Purge stuff moment.

For some reason, throughout all the changes life had brought, I had not been able to part with this thoughtful gift. This, even though the person who gave it to me was no longer in my life on any level, and even though I had rid myself of all other remnants of that time in my life.

That day was different though. I  took her down from the  closet shelf, opened the  box, took the  twist ties off her neck, pulled her out of the  box, pulled on the string attached to her voice box heard Cheryl Ladd say , "Do you want to play with my glasses?" in a old woman's voice...and nothing. Nothing happened, (Not sure what I expected) except  I wondered what to do with her. So, I  immediately went to  my computer and placed an ad on Kijji.  under arts and collectibles, because I  didn't think she would qualify as a toy and you are only allowed one category I learned.

Mrs. Beasley doll in original box. Doll from 1960's made popular from TV show Family Affair. Perfect condition. Voice box functional.  Re-issued in 2000. Suitable for personal collection or gift giving. Help bring back someone's happy childhood memories.

Three weeks pass and I decided to  pull the ad and keep the doll. Then I noticed an email Subject: response to your Mrs. Beasley ad. 
So, I opened it expecting it to be a collector, a flea market vendor perhaps. I tell myself I  will not let her go for less than she is worth.

Through a series of phone calls and emails that follow I learn he is not a vendor at all, but a gentleman from NL of all places. (This is where I enjoyed my Mrs. Beasley as a child).
     "Me and me daughter have been searching for a this doll for the wife for a long while now", I  heard in that familiar comforting accent.

     "Yeah, she loved this doll when she was a youngster".

He continues.

     "She was so sad after having lost her when her grandmother died and the family home was sold".

     "Ah, I know the feeling". I say.

He further explains where his wife is from and as it turns out we are from around the same area and we are about the same age.

I am moved again, and know this is where my doll belongs now.

I offer to wrap the  doll before I send it off to the Rock because he has told me it is a Christmas gift.
      "No" he explains, "Me daughter and I are going to  wrap it in three big boxes."

He tells me also that I have made his daughter very happy and that his wife will  be so  excited.

At this point I just want to send the doll. I  no longer care about the money (I had already  gotten much more than she was "worth") but my aunt in NL who assists me in  completing the transaction reminds me I actually do care about that.

I magically found the exact right box, the exact packing and I  included a note for the  new owner (With the buyer's permission) 

So, next day off Mrs. Beasleywent to the Rock via Sameday, for some other woman to enjoy, for some other woman to open on Christmas morning, to be moved as she remembers her own doll, her beloved grandmother and as she appreciates her husband's thoughtfulness and sees the joy on her daughter's face.

I feel good about this one. And, even better...I myself, let go of so many things the moment I  sealed that box! 


Diana said...

Beautiful post 'Za...remnants of the past are so bittersweet. What a brave thing you did by letting go, in order to let something else come :).

Jeff said...

Great post, Liza, and so very you in the expression of emotions.

Beth said...

Hi Za - I love the way you write this story. Inspiring! I have also found that part of our relationship with objects is finding a good way to let them leave our lives when the time is right. --Beth

Dave Stewart said...

Glad to see this story here and documented! It's a great tale of the power of nostalgia, letting go, and pop culture!