SPANISH DANCER

As I read Georgene’s story, “My Ballerina Doll” (June ’11) a suppressed memory percolated up through a protective padding of years. A Technicolor image of my grandmother’s flamenco doll materialized, her skirts flowing, proud head thrown back, castanets clacking. I haven’t thought of that doll in a while.

Oh my senorita! She stood tall. In my child’s memory she is at least two feet high from her delicately pointed toes to her upswept bouffant hair. She was rigid and stuffed, a doll of the collectible variety. Senorita’s evenly toned skin was a gauzy fabric which was firm, probably filled with fine sawdust.

The train of her scarlet, polka-dotted dress brushed the floor. One of the doll’s legs was thrust from beneath a saucily raised hemline. The dancer’s shoulders were bared by the lowered neckline of her gown. She held both castanets and a fan.

I picture elaborate combs that tame her bountiful black hair — the texture of soft horse hair. How she captured my imagination! Passionate and exotic, she was everything my English schoolgirl self wasn’t.

I was perhaps eight or nine when I last saw the beloved doll. It was the year my grandmother died. Grandma had promised the doll to me. She knew how much I loved Senorita and what the doll meant to me. (Continued on the next page.)

However, after Grandma’s death, through my mother’s maneuverings, Senorita went to a second cousin. Even now I can’t write the details. At this long remove, it is still too emotional. It was a crushing disappointment which followed close on the heels of Grandma’s passing.

I wish I could say this experience taught me not to trust in promises, but my history would prove me a liar. Perhaps ownership of the actual doll was not — in the long run — that important. My dancer’s lasting gifts have been an affinity for warmth, brightness, and intense passion in multifaceted forms.

 

Liz/Moascar (June’11) adds, “I had another name for Senorita. It hasn’t returned to me yet, bit it will.”

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