Truth, As Strange As Fiction: Betsy Wetsy - The Back story for Simple Things

The year my brother Ike crawled around the house barking was a trying one in many ways.

"What do you want to be when you grow up?" Dad asking with a chuckle to my 3-year-old sibling on all fours in front of the now antiquated tube tv. Ike told everyone in that toddle outlook the job he wanted was being a dog. The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, the law and order dog with this orphan friend, Rusty racing to help the troops at Fort Apache on the twelve-inch screen similar in size and shape to the very first Apple 1 monitor created years later.
The Christmas in 1956 a truck delivering gifts from the Spiegel catalog company caught fire on route to New Jersey the week before the holiday. My parents ordered the toys from it that year. Once informed by mail that the accident occurred my parents must have been in a panic. After all, they spent all the money they had alotted for Christmas on that order. But Spiegel, one of an America's direct order catalog company at that time founded in 1865, assured them they would make good on their delivery, even if some of the items would not be exactly what was ordered.
 The Spiegel along with the Sears catalogs consisted of numerous pages devoted to toys for the Christmas season which us kids poured over from the time the catalogs arrived in the mail through the Christmas season until that wonderful Christmas morning. My parents, to make the excitement last for us, or maybe them, they liked sharing the season's enthusiastic passion with us. For the whole month of November up until my parent acquire the expected toys would take us to the 2 or 3 local toy stores several times to observe the items we fancied. They would either go back and buy what we liked or
order from either the or SEARS catalogs. I wanted the Betsy Wetsy doll that drink and wet, bottle and diapers included! The Betsy Wetsy dolls were originally issued by the Ideal Toy Company of New York in 1934. It "drink-and-wet," and was one of the most popular dolls of its kind in the Post World War II baby boom era.
We were about to get ready for bed Christmas eve when commotion began outside the single-family home we rented in Totowa, New Jersey on the same block as the town cemetery. The surprise of this intrusion changed the nightly routine. The family was sitting around our living room as people did in the 1950s just to watch the beauty of our decorated and lit tree. The doorbell rang to the front porch of the house. My father got up and went to look. “No one look out the window,” he commanded.
He was clearly expecting something to happen. We would learn much later that he and my mother were not so sure the toys would actually make it by truck from the companies headquarters in Chicago.
My father closed the door behind him as he went out onto the porch where muffled voices began followed by a lot of bumping and crashing sounds.
Our mother scurried to get us upstairs to our rooms and into bed leaving us children unsure of what was occurring.
Christmas morning, I was thrilled to see all the wonderful looking packages under the tree. That is until I ripped open the box to see my Betsy Wetsy doll. But it wasn't her. It was a doll I haven't seen before. I received a knockoff.
I cried throwing the baby doll to the floor, “It's not her!”
But she's a baby,” my father said, with a sympathetic facial expression for the rubber baby. He bent down and picked up the doll and rocked it while holding it tenderly.
I don't want her. I want Betsy,” I told him.
But look. I think the baby's hurt,” he said, mocking more sadness.
I looked over his arms to see the baby's face. She didn't seem to be hurt, but just so cute. I took her from him and hugged her. My Betsy. I was five.
© J.D. Holiday
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