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When living on an island, which the Hollyhock Hideaway sometimes tends to be, we become more and more of a family. Looking at Sally today I was reminded of something that happened when I lived on another little island long ago: Oahu.
There, especially in the small town in which I lived, we all became like family, and when part of our family decided it was time to move back to “the mainland” as we called it, there was always a big to-do.
On the leaving family’s last Sunday in church they would stand at the front of the chapel and the whole congregation would rise and sing, “Aloha Oe,” complete with plenty of tears. Sometimes the leaving family was so beloved it was a wonder there was anyone left to sing at all.
And all the time we were singing this distinctive song in half Hawaiian, half English, church members would walk up to the leaving family one by one with flower leis they made by hand and put them over the family members necks with kisses and good wishes. By the time we were done, more often than not the people with the leis couldn’t see for all the flowers piled ‘round their necks!
Well, this one time the goodbye was especially poignant. The leaving family was especially beloved and the stay behind people were even more reluctant than usual to leave the church building. So imagine the leaving family’s chagrin when there was an unexpected delay in their departure. The next Sunday, there they were.
Which brings me to dear Sally Silver. I’ve looked and looked at her this morning, and I’ve decided: why wait?
Aloha ‘oe, aloha ‘oe
E ke onaona noho I ka lipo
One fond embrace
A ho ‘I a‘e au
Until we meet again
I’ve been blessed. I’ve been blessed! So far.
And as a leap of faith, I’ve told Sweet Sophie that she no longer needs to watch over me, that it’s time for her find a new home. As a refresher, Sophie happened to arrive just as my bat extravaganza was going full force. Due to her kind nature she decided that I was the one who needed her most so she vowed to stay with me until I was one season Free of Bats.
But I am tired of being afraid! Therefore I’ve been urging Sophie to go. She is still reluctant. Remember her friend? The one who was hiding with her under the blanket? She stayed by Sophie and my’s side this whole time as well. Now she is leading the way for Sophie: she is going to leave the bat’s lair – er, the Hideaway – first.
Meet Sally Silver. While she is much smaller than Sophie and not quite as showy, she is every bit as sweet. If Poor Edith from Downton Abbey had been a poor American child of the depression era, an American middle child, never quite out of the shadow of her older and younger siblings, Sally Silver would have been her doll.
You can see that Sally was never an expensive doll. Her tin eyes don’t have eyelashes, and she’s been crudely carved at her limb and body seams and her teeth are only painted on. But like many of her simple sisters, her composition has held up better than some of the best!
The back of her mohair wig has been worn away, probably from the countless nights she spent laying beside her little human at night, sharing secrets and whispering into the dark, her sweet dimples never leaving her face even as she soothed fears and broken hearts.
But little girls don’t stay little girls forever. The human little girls, at least! Little composition dolls do. It’s the way of the world. Somehow over the years Sally was forgotten; she was Lost. It speaks volumes for her that on the brink of finding a new home, of being loved by a little girl again, she opted to stay by Sophie and therefore my side. She’s become comfortable here. It speaks volumes more that she’s now ready to take that first big step back into the world.
So here she comes! Sally Silver is emerging from the shadows! Her clothing, complete with a satin-lined coat and hat (to protect her remaining mohair curls) and red dress with matching leather shoes were made for her by me and have been carefully preserved. She is donning them again!