Christmas 2013 Newsletter


About FMTM

Newsletter Index           






Merry Christmas Happy Holidays Banner
Freddie MarshDear Freddie,

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 Christmas Doll" with 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 season.

Freddie Marsh, CTC
The Christmas Doll
Mom at Age 4
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 small 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 myself. 

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 thing.

Sally Pic

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 the park. 

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 Pic
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 several years. 

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. 

Kids Pic
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 dresser. 


Mom and Sally Pic
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 blotches. 

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 Christmas doll.

Sheila Marsh (Freddie's Mom) 

Marsh Family 2013 Pic
Marsh Family 2013 - Kamloops, BC
Dad, Greg, Mom, Kelly, Laurel & Freddie 
FMTM is an abbreviation for Freddie Marsh Travel Marketing. 
We are a Vancouver-area based company, providing travel industry representation in Canada .

Our current clients include Real Resorts, Hyatt Zilara & Hyatt Ziva, Honua Kai Resort & Spa, El Cid Resorts, Acacia Holidays, Krystal Resorts and the Hilton Puerto Vallarta.





CONTACT US (click here)

    (Return to top)


This site was last updated 12/16/13