My name is Nellie and I am 50+ years old. I am one inch tall. I was created as a party favor to sit on top of a cake for a baby shower. I wonder if that makes me a party doll? I am called Nellie Baby.
I am created out of peach-colored plastic. I look like a baby. My arms are outstretched and my molded body has the imprint of a diaper. I wonder if this means I have been sitting in the same diaper all my life?
I wonder about a lot of things, like where Nanny’s brother is at this moment? He is brother number two of three, aka Brothers Grimm Number 2, aka BG2. I have nightmares about BG2. Did you know he destroyed an entire package of Nelly Babies? Also Nanny’s doll, Mary Ann, was found down in the bottom of a two-holer outhouse! But those are stories for a later time. This story is about how Nanny and I met.
Every weekday morning, from the age of four until she started kindergarten, Nanny would go to Catholic Mass with her grandmother Florida Gregoirre Lemire. She doesn’t remember much of it, except being bored and restless, with all the standing up, sitting down and kneeling. The hardest part was communion where she had to kneel the entire time. To entertain herself, she would see how close to the edge of the kneeling pads she could get and still be on it. Grandma Flora put the kibosh on that when one time she got too close to the edge, and with a lot of noise, she fell off right during the quietest time of the Mass.
“Now you behave yourself, now you kneel quietly, now stop that wiggling, now shame on you,” grandma yipped and niggled in, her French Canadian accent. Mon Dieu! After that, going to Mass was something Nanny laboriously endured.
That’s when I came into her life. I don’t know why I was lying on my back near a garbage can in a back alley. As usual, my arms are outstretched and my legs are in the air like I’m waiting for my diaper to be changed. I don’t remember how long I had been lying like that, with the endless Portland rain falling on me. It was cold, but good thing I’m just plastic, because I didn’t feel it and I didn’t melt.
Nanny said when she spied me in the dirt, she let go of her grandmother’s hand and dashed across the alley and picked me of. “Now don’t you go running off! Now what did you pick up? Now throw that dirty thing away!” But Nanny didn’t, she kept me tight in her hand, not even daring to take a look at her treasure.
After that day, Nanny was a quiet girl in Mass. She and her Nellie Baby (me) quietly walked every ledge Nanny could reach and that I could stand upright on, without having to be held. We two had such adventures and travelled many horizons. We were inseparable for many years, until BG2 found me and I don’t really know what happened after that.
I was found again, fifty years later. We have talked over old times and those we will share with you. Nanny said I was the reason she began collecting miniatures. I still wonder about things, like if my arms will ever relax at my sides or if BG2 will ever find out Nanny found me again or ….