There are so many times in my day to day life that my childhood flashes before my eyes. So much more now that I have little phia, she does all the girly things I remember about myself, trying to exaggerate her words so she sounds like an adult, pursing her lips and acquainting herself with the signature adult hand movements that suggests she knows exactly what she is talking about.
Well, little girl if you only you knew how very cute you looked with all those hand gestures, pursed lips, and silly conversations. Yesterday you told me how you decided to go to your friends house last week and do the gangnem style dance, and that your boyfriend came over and brought you dinner for breakfast, which was potatoes and bread. How very romantic and thoughtful of him! You never fail to make me laugh and make me happy.
You with your dolls and pram, talking to me trying to be an adult, one hand on the handle and one leg crossed over the other reminds me of the four walls that I grew up in. I had many different homes growing up always flitting too and fro with my parents from one home to the next. But spending long enough in each house that firm memories were embedded in my mind.
The particular walls I am talking about were blue walls, I had a single pine bed squashed up in the corner of my room, a side table a small mirror and a wardrobe. Not many toys as I was 10 and preferred to sit on the computer and play snake or pac-man. Do you remember those ancient computers with a huge modem, the screen was so big it stuck out almost 10 inches behind it? Now I have a MacBook Pro thinner than a book! How times have changed.
Under my bed I had one box, it was a box full of baby clothes that my mum had taken me to purchase. I loved most when mum took me to our local charity shops and let me browse through all the baby clothes. I picked my favourites and brought them home for my doll. I only had one, which I had waited over a year for.
When we arrived in England when I was 10 back in 1999, I had seen baby Annabelle all over the telly, and in every shop. I was still so much a little girl and I loved nothing more than playing dolls and had been begging my mum for baby Annabelle since we first arrived in England. Mum surprised me one day after school. When I jumped in the car she said: “look in the back”. I was so happy to see an Argos bag with a rather large box inside of it. A smile as wide as ever spread across my face. Although I was so happy to have her and couldn’t wait to play with her part of me didn’t want her either, because I remember feeling like I was too big for her in a sense. I didn’t want anyone at school to know. I kept her a secret and only played with her at home. I loved dressing her and gently moving her plastic limbs as I put her into her outfits. If I remember rightly I think I called her Gemma, which is funny because that is my sister in laws name. But of course coincidences aside I think Gemma is quite a popular name.
I loved pretending she was real and I would lay her to sleep on my bed. But then I would become annoyed sometimes, I remember feeling that dolls were boring and pointless because they didn’t do anything. But I still loved her, the amount of time I had spent arranging her clothes and packing them into the plastic box that went under my bed would have been wasted.
I had looked after baby Annabelle so well she didn’t even look used. All her clothes washed and neatly folded in my box. I have blurry pictures in my mind of moments spent in my room playing with her. What I would do to see that box and the clothes in it and her again. To just see if it was all like I remembered it. I think our childhood eyes have a way of making everything special and meaningful, nothing is damaged or too small or not good enough. It is all just right and perfect. That’s how I remember it.
I have many memories of my time in that bedroom. It was a huge turning point for my parents and us girls as a family because it was our first family home here in England. I will always remember how happy my parents were that we had finally moved into our own house where we could be a family, we had previously been staying with some family friends while mum and dad saved rent and deposit together. I remember the garden outside and the garage. The small box kitchen were there was hardly room to move and the three bedrooms upstairs. I could take you through every detail the pictures are that clear in my mind.
But it’s just one of the many house we have lived in and it was the doll that really was my biggest memory in that house, baby Annabelle that I had daren’t tell any of my friends at school about, because at 10 years old I was still just a little girl at heart.