Autobiographical Essays

Beate Caspari-Rosen, MD (1910 - 1995)

My Doll

I had a doll named Lilly. I don't remember why I called her by that name, for I do not know if I had known anybody by that name. She had a body of a baby and a china [porcelain] head with a slightly open mouth, eyes that opened and closed, long dark lashes, and brown hair. As best as I can remember I never played much with dolls: I had paper dolls for whom I made paper dresses; small dolls who fitted into my doll house whom I put to sleep in the evening and dressed again in the morning; but I never played with Lilly. However, she would sleep in my bed and she would lie on my right side while my teddy bear was on my left side. When I was seven years old I became very sick. I had chronic nephritis, a nearly incurable disease at that time. I was kept in bed for months and had to keep a very I strict diet; eggs and salt were forbidden. As I recovered, I occasionally would receive one slice of egg, which I carefully divided into minute pieces to cover a slice of bread, or a small piece of bologna which I also divided up to cover a slice of bread. Each time I got such a delicacy I put a small piece into my doll Lily’s mouth. One day Lilly fell out of my bed and her head broke into many pieces. I will not describe what my mother found inside her head. It must have been a mess. She immediately went to a doll hospital. When she returned a few days later Lilly had new head. I no longer cared for this stranger and I don't know what became of her.


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