Yesterday's Magazette

11 – My Tiny Tears Doll

My Tiny Tears Doll

By Sara Etgen-Baker

Since my parents had grown up during the Depression, they were frugal and modest folks. So, when they purchased their home in Garland, Texas, in 1952, they undoubtedly knew they would live in their home until the day they died. So for 52 years, they lived in that home until they passed away in 2004. Shortly after their passing, my brothers and I began the daunting and overwhelming task of disposing of a lifetime of their personal effects. 


After several days we eventually climbed into the attic and discovered three tightly sealed boxes onto which my mother had written each of our names. My box was entitled Sara’s Stuff; as I carefully wiped away the cobwebs, I savored the moment as I breathed in the musty attic smell. 

Time stood still; I held onto that moment; and I thought about my parents, our relationship, and growing up in Garland, Texas. Mother would have undoubtedly selected and thoughtfully stowed away things that were meaningful to both her and me. 

Curious, I finally removed the packing tape and examined the contents. Inside I found my carefully preserved wedding dress, a lock of my hair, my first school dress, and my Tiny Tears doll and her clothes that Santa magically delivered Christmas morning 1957. 

The moment I saw Tiny, I immediately remembered climbing on Santa’s lap and asking, “Santa, please bring me a Tiny Tears doll. I’ll take good care of her! Please!” 

Santa inquired, “Child, why do you want a Tiny Tears doll?” 

“Because, Santa, she cries … she wets … she blows bubbles!” 

Once my tears subsided, I examined my doll; she was not wearing her original pink and white checked romper. Rather, she was wearing the red gingham checked dress mother made for her. As I picked up the doll, her right arm came loose from the socket and fell to the floor. I laughed when I recalled that I always carried Tiny by her right arm; evidently, age and over use rendered her arm useless! Also, her small fingers were slightly chewed with my teeth marks. 

Adjacent to her was a smaller box in which I found Tiny’s original outfits, baby bottle, and pipe. I was fascinated, for she had the ability to shed tiny tears from two tiny holes on either side of her nose when her stomach was pressed after being filled with water from her baby bottle. Also, her pipe–once filled with soapy water-blew bubbles when placed in her open mouth. 


Unlike other dolls of the time period whose eyes snapped shut, Tiny’s most distinguishing characteristic was her rock-a-bye eyes that slowly closed when she was laid horizontally and gently rocked to sleep. 

I dug further into the box; beneath the original outfits, mother had placed the page from the Sears & Roebuck catalog from which she probably ordered the Tiny Tears doll for Santa. Tiny was an expensive doll for my frugal parents-she cost $7.98. 

As I fondly look back, I realize now, despite my parents’ frugal ways and modest means, they had saved every nickel, dime, and quarter they could just so I could have Tiny Tears – the doll of my childhood dreams. 

Vol. 38 No. 2 – Copyright © Yesterday’s Magazette


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