Bye-Bye Betty Bride

When I was born my maternal grandmother started a porcelain doll collection for me. Every year on my birthday and Christmas I would receive a new doll. When I was four years old I still had a bad thumb-sucking habit. I used to rub something silky, like the edging of a blanket, between my fingers and suck my thumb. I’d been known to reach up my paternal grandma’s skirt at church and grab on to her slip and suck my thumb. I had a habit that needed to be broken. I don’t remember how far into the “let’s break Jenny of her thumb-sucking habit” process we were when my aunt came up with an idea. My aunt told me that if I stopped sucking my thumb she would buy me a porcelain doll. I don’t recall whether or not I had seen the particular doll that I wanted before the offer was made or if she took me to the store afterwards to pick out my “goal doll”. All I remember is that before I had completely broken the habit I already had a specific bride doll in mind. I think that it was on display in a Hallmark store and little 4-year-old me thought that she was so pretty. I remember lying in my bed at night thinking, “I could suck my thumb and no one would see me!” and then my mom would call from downstairs, “Get that thumb out of your mouth!” (How did she know?!) I knew that I was going to have to do this honestly if I wanted to get my doll. I successfully quit sucking my thumb and the doll became mine. I named her Betty… Betty the Bride (I know, I’m so creative, right?! Don’t be jealous of my sweet, sweet naming skills.).

After years passed by I realized that Betty wasn’t as pretty as I thought she was. She was, in fact, pretty creepy. She looked like she could be the main character in a thriller about a doll that was possessed. Still, I kept her and had no plans of ever getting rid of her…4 year old me would’ve been so sad. I’d had her so long that despite her creepiness, she never gave me any nightmares 🙂

Now, I’m going to show you the only picture I have of Betty and I while I was child and I’m going to need you to focus. Remember, this is about Betty. It’s not about the Grand Ole Opry hair-do that is trying to eat my face or the giant red bow embellishing it, nor is it about the Pepto Bismal pink bedroom walls. It’s all about me holding Betty.

Have you regained your composure? Good, we can move on.

Last Saturday my mom was all like, “Hey, get over here and clean all of your crap out of my attic! Mmkay?!” asked me if I could help her clean out her attic. My mom is a thrower-outer and I’m a hoarder of memories saver. When we came across darling old Betty in a box my mom asked if I was still going to keep that ugly creepy doll. Naturally I told her “yes!”. We were going to move her into a different box and my mom picked her up horizontally with one hand under her head to hand her to me. Then we heard a crack…Betty’s face popped off!

While no tears were shed and I knew that it gave me a reason to part with her, I was still mildly upset that my mom broke her. She said that she barely touched her and naturally I responded with, “You don’t pick a doll up by the porcelain! You should’ve grabbed her torso!” (duh!) and my mom apologized although she mostly found it funny. I knew that I was going to get rid of Betty. There was no point, despite the sentiment, to attempt to glue her back together just to stick her back into storage. So I did what any weird sane person would do and took a bunch photos so that I could preserve my memory of Betty the Bride.

If she didn’t appear creepy and possessed before…check her out now with her head detached!

My mom clearly snapped her neck on purpose, what with her hands as hot as the blazing surface of the sun and her crazy herculean kung fu grip, she could’ve done it subconsciously with very little effort. I was certain that she was the one to blame.

But then…

When I was looking through the photos that I’d taken of Betty I noticed something. I came across Betty in a box with another doll while my mom wasn’t even in the attic. I snapped a picture of her lying in the box and then moved on to other things. If you look closely (okay, you don’t even need to look that closely) at the photo you can see a white crack on the right side of Betty’s face (left in the photo). I didn’t notice it when I had seen her in the box, but I noticed it in the picture. Betty’s face had already snapped off at some point while in storage. Whether it was from age, heat, or other boxes carelessly being stacked on top…her face was broken before my mom ever touched her.

Well. I guess I owe my mom an apology.
Mom, I’m sorry that I accused you of ruthlessly killing Betty in cold porcelain. I know that you didn’t do it right then and I hope that you can forgive me.

To be honest, I’m a little glad that I can get rid of her without any guilt or regret (Betty, not my mom ;)).

Goodbye, Betty! You were dearly loved and you will be dearly missed. Thank you for inspiring me to stop sucking my thumb (I tried it again in Middle School just for kicks and hated it!). Thank you for watching over me all of those years with your eerie, blinkless stare. Your memory will now live on in the blogosphere forever.

Do you have an ugly or creepy item from your childhood that you can’t part with?
Tell me in the comments!

*Please stop by and read this guest post by Amanda from Gratefully Growing in Grace, leave her some comments, and visit her blog! Thanks!

For more posts about my childhood check out my “Mommy’s Piggy Tales”!

This post is linked to Wordful Wednesday at…

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Posted on June 8, 2011, in Flashbacks, Jenn and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. I had a creepy doll! I was fine with her until a friend came over and told a scarey story about a doll that came to life and went around stabbing people. After that, I couldn’t look at the doll at night.

    I never played with dolls very much, though, and I’m definitely not a saver, so I had no problems getting rid of her. 🙂


    • I wasn’t allowed to play with my porcelain dolls, they just sat on the shelf looking pretty (or creepy as it were). Yeah, I think I’d be a little freaked out about the knife-wielding doll…and it’s totally believable about poor Betty 😉

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your creepy doll story!


  2. HaHaHaHa….I have a doll named ‘ugly baby’ . My two year old self named her that. She (or he, whatever) really was ugly and I carried her with her head sticking out from under my arm and her body behind it. My mom sewed her head on countless times. My grandma was all excited because she found me a new one on vacation (the EXACT same) but I never carried it. It wasn’t ‘ugly baby’. I knew she was around, but wasn’t exactly sure where, but when I cleaned my room the other day, I found her in the top of my closet, where she is currently residing. Pretty sure she’ll have to be buried with me :o)


    • haha, I love “ugly baby” 🙂 I like that you knew he/she was ugly but still loved him anyway. Now you have to take a picture of ugly baby and share it with us on your blog 🙂


  3. =( so sad that post, I remember Betty, and the excitement you had finally being able to get her as yours, and YES she sure was pretty creepy, but that’s besides the point, how about that sweet side pony your sister is sporting there on the bed beside you? LOVE IT.

    but in all seriousness now, (head bowed) dear Betty, your memory will live forever in our minds, even though your time here on earth is finished, the impact you made on many lives will always be appreciated and thought of, often. Amen. She is with Jesus now, where she belongs.


    • LOL 🙂

      Yeah, I don’t understand why you got the adorable side ponytail and I looked like I was just electrocuted! And you always thought I was the favorite!


  4. I have to admit that I laughed a lot at this post, but all in good fun. Betty looks like she was a great companion to you.
    I also had a porcelain doll when I was younger. My grandma had it made especially for me. I didn’t play with her much, but she held a place of honor in the homemade doll cradle in my room. One day, while the cradle was under a window, one of the crank handles for opening the window fell right on her face and cracked the porcelain. I was horrified. To this day I have never, never told my grandmother (even though I don’t think she would have minded – it was an accident)… and this happened way back when I, too, sported electrocuted hair! I think it’s the longest secret I’ve ever kept.


    • I’m glad you got a laugh out of it 🙂 I always hope to bring a smile to others through my pain 😉

      Awww, I would’ve freaked out if my dolly broke like that! I actually took another of my dolls to show and tell in 2nd grade…and her arm fell off and shattered on the floor! We glued it back together and my grandma didn’t mind, but I was still so upset because I was so careful with my dolls. That doll is now in my basement with her arm inside of her purse!

      I’m so glad that you shared your secret with us…you must feel better to finally get that off your chest! 😉


  5. Glad you got to see Betty again…..and that your mother didn’t actually murder her. 🙂 And, I’m thinking you spend some time with sponge rollers in your hair? 🙂


    • I can’t recall exactly what they did to my hair but I know that I was primped by 2 or more people as if I were a prize show pony. My lucky sister was smart enough to stick gum in her hair when she was a few years old and no one attempted to mess with her hair ever since. Either way I certainly didn’t choose the giant hair!


  6. lisa pollard


    First of all that doll is insanely creepy! LOL I’m surprised it didn’t attack you as a child. 😉

    I also just wanted to let you know that I’ve chosen your blog for the Versatile Blogger Award! 🙂 This hysterical post is exactly why I chose you! Love it! Please stop by my blog to find out more info!



  7. My mom collects those still. And she has a toddler sized one that stands up next to her piano. My baby and my puppy are both scared to death of it. I once found my middle son in there trying to look up her skirt. I guess it takes a special kind of person to love a porcelain doll!


  8. Jenn. You definately have your Father’s talent for writing. I love reading your blogs and remember when. Yes I remember your hair like that! And I remember you sticking your hand up Grandma’s dress to feel her slip! And I remember Grandma getting you that bunny blanket with the silky ears that started it all.

    Aunt Julie


  9. This is so funny. I am grateful for VB for letting me find such an awesome blog and post! I sucked my thumb too, but nothing could make me quit. In fact, I sucked my thumb until I was EIGHT! Terrible. What got me was an agreement between my dad and me. He’d have to quit smoking if I quit sucking my thumb. Done.


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