I Think I May Be In Trouble – The Story of Jennifer the Doll

As I mentioned in my last post, my sister Betsy brought me a little “giftie” last night. Technically, this post is right in line with my genealogy theme for the year, “Our Stuff.” Hopefully, it will also signal my return to writing after a few months absence. This is a rather long post, but I hope you stick with it. It’s a pretty good story!

If you follow me on Facebook, you may be aware of one of my family’s “prized” (I hope you can hear the sarcasm in my voice here.) possessions, Jennifer the Doll.

If not, here’s the backstory:

Following my mother’s death in 2011, no one wanted the responsiblity of deciding what to do with Jennifer, the doll which sat atop our mother’s bed for years. Granted, she was a little worse for wear. Her head was a bit wobbly, having been hot-glued on several times. Her hair was… how to explain it…matted like a dog with mange. And her eyes. Considering she probably was only “born” no earlier than the 1960s, it was surprising to see she had cataracts!

It wasn’t her looks that caused us to be unable to make a decision of what to do with her. It was her spirit. Or at least my mother’s. For whatever reason, we, all 5 of my mother’s children, were afraid of what might happen to us if we unceremoniously tossed Jennifer into the trash or cast her away to the Goodwill. (Stories about our Mom’s “powers” would make a great post in the future!)

So we did nothing. Well, most of us did nothing. I made Jennifer a Facebook page in March of 2012.

As the Executrix of my mother’s estate, the task of deciding Jennifer’s fate fell to me. Having witnessed a few things , such as my 40 year-old wooden keychain suddenly breaking, after I made a snarky comment about my Mom, I was leery of doing the “wrong thing.” So I did nothing. Jennifer lay in her sleeping bag (made by my Mom) on top of an antique child’s desk for 8 years.

On the occasion of her birthday, Facebook was kind enough to remind us.

Something must have happenend towards the end of 2018 to prompt this FB post:

Things were pretty quiet after that. Occasionally, while moving stuff around in the basement, I’d bump into Jennifer. I’d carefully place her head next to her neck, always careful to keep her inside the litle sleep sack, with her hat on. Just like Mom did.

Fast forward to March 2019. Meghan and her husband, Andy had purchased our mother’s house several years ago. It was time to move on (literally.) The house sold in three days with a closing date of May 17. A flurry of texts, emails, and bizarre conversations sensued. This might be our last chance to reunite Jennifer with her homestead. I asked everyone I knew (just ask everyone I know – they’ll verify!) Should I bury her in the backyard of her former home? As an inveterate procrastinator, I let that opportuntity slip away. (In my defense I was very busy with wrapping up the school year and getting ready for a three-week vacation.)

Here are a few other rejected suggestions:

  • Mail her to a sibling – rejected because it could cause said person to have a heart attack
  • Cremate her and bury the ashes along with the few ashes we have left of our mother – rejected because 1) gross 2) the burning plastic could be carcinogenic
  • Do nothing – This option always tends to be my “go-to.”

I did nothing.

Just before Scott and I left on our trip, I was watching the kids while Meg and Andy went out for a well-deserved dinner. They were staying with us while waiting to move into their new home in July. Paisley was having a little trouble getting to sleep. After about 45 minutes, she said she needed something to help her “feel safe.” I gave her Jennifer’s sleep sack, telling her it was made by her “Great Omi.” That precious little girl placed both hands on her heart and exclaimed ” Great Omi will keep me safe!” She stuck her feet into the sack and was asleep within minutes.

Her mother is not quite as precious. About a week later, upon arriving at our daughter Caitlin’s home to start our vacation, I opened my suitcase to find this:

Reason #6422 for why you shouldn’t leave your suitcase unattended when
your daughter is living with you!

I suppose she thought she was doing me a favor. At least Jennifer was out of the house. I had to do something! I knew with certainty I couldn’t leave her to languish at Caitlin’s. Although her head did provide some entertainment for the boys!

The solution to the “Jennifer Problem” suddenly came to me. We were having dinner with my sister Betsy and her husband Mike in just a few days. I’d sneak Jennifer into her house!!

On June 6, Jennifer found a new home – hidden behind the pillows in Betsy’s guest room.

I figured it would be weeks, maybe months before Jennifer was discovered.

The next morning I received this text from Betsy. (Sorry about the language!)

Ahhhh…..sweet relief. Jennifer was now Betsy’s problem. Her 8-year reign of power of me was over. Or so I thought. (I don’t know why I wrote 11 years in the text!)

Last night Betsy came to Boulder for a little visit. After she left, Caitlin told me there was an Amazon box on the porch with my name it. As soon as I saw the box wasn’t sealed I got nervous. Then I saw Betsy’s handwriting “To be opened by Debbie.” I assumed the worst. Hence, the inappropriate language in this video:

No Jennifer. Just delicious jams and breads made by Betsy. And this little note:

As it turns out, Meghan had knowledge of this little prank.

Apparently, Betsy took Jennifer to the Doll Hospital to have her head put back on and her hair restyled. A day at the Spa does wonders!!

Maybe cataract surgery will be next!!

Speaking of wonders, a little phone convo with sister Betsy left me wondering what she has in store for me. I have a feeling this story is not over yet…

2 thoughts on “I Think I May Be In Trouble – The Story of Jennifer the Doll

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