At this special time of the year we would like to wish
you and your family the best of the season, and a
peaceful and prosperous New Year.
Thank you for your business in 2013 and we look forward
to working with you in 2014.
My Mom recently shared her story of Sally "The
us, and with her permission I am sharing it with you
below. It's a beautiful story and I hope you enjoy it.
Wishing you and your family all the best this holiday
Freddie Marsh, CTC
The Christmas Doll
Mom at Age 4
I was four and a half the Christmas of 1940. It was
the year I received my Christmas Doll.
I had never cared much for dolls, but when I saw this
particular doll, I knew she was my special doll. Her
name was Sally, which is the best name in the world for
a doll. She had dark brown curls, eyes that opened and
closed, and a beautiful face with a little red mouth
that had a s
mall opening for a baby bottle.
Although her body was of soft fabric, her face, arms,
and legs were made of a hard composition-type material
that was popular in those pre-plastic days. When I found
Sally under our tree that Christmas morning, I was the
happiest child in all of Swift Current.
From the very beginning Sally and I were
inseparable. I carted her along wherever I went. We
had great tea parties with a Pinocchio tea set made
of pink and green painted tin that I probably
received that same Christmas.
The next year, my mother gave birth to my sister
Joan on December 17th, which meant they were in the
hospital over Christmas - back then new mothers and
their babies were kept in the hospital for ten days.
So it was that my dad and I spent Christmas on our
own. I don't think it was too much of a problem at
first - I may even have enjoyed having him all to
The trouble didn't begin until Christmas morning. I
had asked Santa Claus to bring me a cradle for
Sally. That and a pair of slippers! I really wanted
the cradle for Sally and a pair of slippers, but Dad
must have thought my mom, the practical one in the
family, had convinced me that I wanted slippers.
Instead, he had Santa Claus surprise me with a
beautiful, blonde nurse doll complete with a navy
blue cape and white nurse's cap (far more expensive
than slippers, and more than they could afford). It
surprised me all right, but not the way he intended.
My poor dad didn't realize how much I loved Sally. I
didn't want another doll. In fact, I very distinctly
remember taking one look at the doll in Sally's new
cradle and declaring, "I don't want a doll. I want
slippers!" How disappointing it must have been for
my poor dad as he stood waiting to get my gleeful
reaction to the new doll. I never did play with that
doll and have no idea what happened to the poor
I continued to play with Sally even when her face
started to crack and pieces of the plaster-like
finish chipped away -- I guess I wasn't as careful
as I should have been. I regretted hurting her and
became more and more distressed when I saw what I
had done, so I painted her face with a clear nail
polish. It didn't help - if anything, it made the
blotches darker. I painted her lips and finger nails
cherry red, but my clumsy little fingers couldn't
keep the polish where it was supposed to go. I
brushed her hair every day until pretty soon the
shiny curls were gone and a sparse thatch of dull
brown remained. I was sorry for Sally, but I never
stopped loving her.
When spring came that year I had my first taste of
independence. Mom was busy taking care of baby Joan,
and I was able to explore the new and exciting world
of downtown Moose Jaw, where we had recently moved.
We lived in the Hughes Block on Main Street and only
a block away from Crescent Park, an incredibly
beautiful place full of bridges that criss-crossed
the Serpentine, winding paths along the water's
edge, ducks and swans that were always waiting for
bread crumbs, and snails that lined the stone walls
of the small pools that were scattered throughout
I had a human best friend now - Allison, a little
girl who sat next to me in Kindergarten at the old
Victoria School. Allison's father owned a picture
framing shop on Fairford Street behind the post
office. There was another small park (now a parking
lot) on the corner of Fairford and First Avenue
North West, and our kingdom stretched from one park
to the other, including all the back alleys. Our
days were filled with exploring our kingdom. In the
evenings I played with Sally and told her about our
adventures, but I spent less and less time with her
as I discovered the wonderful world around me.
We lived in Moose Jaw for about a year before moving
back to Swift Current - my dad was a fireman for the
Canadian Pacific Railway, so we had to go where the
work was. Sally was still an important part of my
life during those years, but more as a confident
than as a playmate. I was more interested in playing
with friends and putting on "shows" based on the
musicals of the day.
Mom and Maxine
We returned to
Moose Jaw again when I was eleven and Sally came with
us. I had come down with pneumonia two weeks before
the move and had slept most of the next month - it was
before penicillin had been discovered and rest was the
only cure. I don't remember much about the move
at all, except how sad Joan and I were to leave Swift
Current. I think that's when Mom wrapped Sally up and
packed her away in her cedar chest. And that's where
she stayed for a long, long time.
The years passed and life was too exciting to think
about an old doll in the bottom of a cedar chest. My
sister Maxine was born the year I was fifteen, and
what an embarrassment that was! Mothers didn't get
pregnant at that age (she was only forty-two, but
that was ancient in my eyes). How could my mother do
that to me? Yes, I was a selfish twit - having
sisters seemed to bring out the worst in me, so it's
just as well I didn't have any more. The moment I
saw Maxine in the hospital, however, I thought she
was the most beautiful baby in the whole world. I
was as proud of her as could be and took her
everywhere I could..
Dad (Fred Sr)
My high school
years passed in a blur of fun: school lits (literary
assemblies - monthly musical productions by students),
dances, roller-skating, and dating. And most
importantly, I met and fell in love with Fred. I knew
the moment I saw him that he was the one I would
marry, even though it would be two years before we had
our first date and even longer before he realized we
were soul mates.
After I finished Teachers' College, Fred and I were
married and Mom gave me the cedar
chest with Sally in it. Our four children were born
and I didn't look at Sally very often over the next
When I was expecting Laurel, our second child, I
secretly worried whether I'd be able to love another
baby as much as I loved Greg, our first child. I
remembered how much I had loved Sally and wasn't
able to love the new doll in the cradle. I was
afraid that I loved Greg so much that I wouldn't
have enough love for another baby.
That's when I discovered how amazing a mother's love
really is. The love inside of me spread out to
enfold each new baby -- Laurel, then Kelly, and
finally, Freddie -- never lessening in strength one
little bit while the love I felt for Greg remained
as strong as ever. It was like the little porridge
pot in the fairy tale: no matter how much love was
given out, more kept bubbling up. It fills me with
wonder still when I think of how well God worked
that out. Even more amazing is that it happened the
same way with our grandchildren. As soon as I
cradled each one in my arms, each child so different
and yet so precious, love came bubbling up again.
Greg, Freddie, Kelly & Laurel
We moved several times over the years, and Sally
came along every time. With each move I would unwrap
Sally, feel a pang of guilt and sadness at her sorry
state, and wrap her up again. In 1968, we moved from
Moose Jaw to Saskatoon, followed five years later by
a move to Kitimat and, after twenty-five years, a
move to Kamloops. I had given the cedar chest to my
sister several years before, but Sally came with us
in the bottom drawer of an old dresser.
Every once in a while I would take Sally out of the
drawer, unwrap her, and wonder if there wasn't
something I could do to make her look a bit better.
I even phoned a doll hospital in Edmonton, but they
told me there wasn't anything they could do to
repair that type of doll. It was sad that Sally had
to be hidden away.
By the time we moved to Kamloops I had accumulated a
small collection of toys: bears and bunnies and
dolls, even the big engine from Greg's first
electric train, and a smaller one of Freddie's. It
began when our Marg, Kelly's wife, made me a
beautiful, plush, brown bear that played my
favourite song, Over the Rainbow, when you pressed
its paw, and it grew from there.
That first Kamloops Christmas in our new house I set
all the toys in front of the fireplace facing the
Christmas tree. By the second Christmas I had found
a few more old toys: some wooden blocks, a pair of
bob skates, a small sled, and even a few pieces of
the Pinocchio tea set. I thought about Sally and how
sad it was that she wasn't upstairs in front of the
fireplace with the other old-fashioned toys, but I
left her wrapped up in the bottom drawer of the old
Mom and Sally
In the year 2000, just before Christmas when I
was sixty-four and a half, I looked at Sally again.
Her face was cracked and the bare patches were just
as unpleasant as they always had been. That's when I
realized something. I wasn't so very different! My
face had become wrinkled over the years, and my
sun-spots reminded me of the patches on Sally's
face. I was definitely showing my age, but I didn't
have to hide my face. I knew that I was still the
same person with or without my wrinkles and
I decided it was time for Sally to come out of the
drawer. I brought her out, bought her a new, curly
brown wig, and washed and mended her gown and cap.
Her new shiny curls made her look a little better,
but she still wasn't pretty. It didn't matter. I sat
her in a little rocker and placed her in front of
the fireplace. I didn't mind when my children and
grandchildren good naturedly made jokes about how
ugly she was. I could see more than an old doll.
When I looked at her, sixty years slipped away and I
could see her the way she used to be, the times we
shared together, and the comfort she gave me when I
was sad. She was still my Sally.
After Christmas, I wrapped Sally up again and put
her back in the bottom drawer of the old dresser.
That's where she stays for most of the year. From
now on, however, and for as long as I live, Sally
will come out for Christmas. After all, she is my
Sheila Marsh (Freddie's Mom)
Marsh Family 2013 - Kamloops, BC
Dad, Greg, Mom, Kelly, Laurel &
FMTM is an abbreviation for Freddie Marsh
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