Do you want to hear a secret?

I hadn’t thought about Mrs. Beasley in years – until I had a weird dream. In my foggy state of sleep, I was transported back to being a child.

I dreamed I was in my old bedroom in the folks’ trailer house. I was sitting on a patchwork quilt, on the bottom bunk, with my best friend . . . Mrs. Beasley, of course.

I don’t know when I received Mrs. Beasley – I was awfully young. As far as I recall, she was a hand-me-down doll from another girl who had outgrown such things.

How someone could outgrow Mrs. Beasley, I had no idea.

It’s been so many years, but I can still picture that wonderfully strange and perfect doll – with her cloth body covered by a polka-dotted dress.

Mrs. Beasley’s hair was weird – it wasn’t the long luxurious kind you would brush on a Barbie. It was short and choppy – but I remember, oh so soft, as you ran your cheek across her head.

She had an odd smile on her face – as if she was actually thinking of something sinister yet entertaining.

And there was her signature trademark – those beautiful wire-rimmed glasses. I loved her glasses so much, I would sometimes try to fool my mother into thinking I couldn’t see very well, in hopes I’d have to get a pair just like Mrs. Beasley’s.

The doll also had a rare talent for that time – she could talk. All a person had to do was pull the string from her back and she would speak. It was truly state-of-the-art for the early 1970s.

It’s my understanding that Mrs. Beasley had a repertoire of sayings – but by the time she arrived at my house, she could only recite one verse.

I didn’t care. I was thrilled by it.

Over and over, I pulled the string.

And Mrs. Beasley would say, “Want to hear a secret?”

I would respond that I did and then pull the string again. Of course, she just repeated the question, but it didn’t matter to me.

I, in turn, would tell her all my deepest secrets. I don’t remember how juicy the personally classified information was – it wasn’t like I was working for the CIA, after all. I was simply a young child. But for me, she was a sounding board of sorts.

She was my top notch confidant.

Seeing how Mrs. Beasley had already spent time in another household before she arrived at ours, she qualified as more-than-gently-used. Being in the Mueller household certainly created substantial wear and tear on the old girl over time.

I remember taking her with us when we explored the pasture – she would sometimes come back with puncture wounds. No worry. Mom would simply get out the sewing box and stitch her right up.

When Mrs. Beasley would lose some stuffing on the walk home, Mom would simply shove an old rag inside her before creating another seam. Although the practice made Mrs. Beasley appear to be suffering from horrific cysts or botched plastic surgery, it did keep her alive.

The younger siblings painted on her face (they thought she needed makeup) and she grew yellowed with age.

A trip through Mom’s cactus garden ended with Mrs. Beasley losing a foot. I reasoned that she didn’t need it anyway, because I carried her everywhere.

Her hair changed forever, after she was dropped on the way to the cellar during a midnight tornado warning. But no matter how matted or discolored, she was still beautiful . . . at least in my eyes.

And there was the horrific day when her cord snapped – she was rendered speechless forever. No matter how Mom tried, she couldn’t repair Mrs. Beasley’s talking component.

Mrs. Beasley may have become silent, but I still loved her so.

Mrs. Beasley may have started looking like the godmother of Chucky, but I still adored her.

Mrs. Beasley didn’t resemble other beautiful dolls – which is why I think I was drawn to her. She wasn’t perfect – she was just like normal people.

I don’t remember what happened to Mrs. Beasley . . . I truly don’t. I don’t remember any tragic moment or scarring displacement. Somewhere in the middle of me growing up, Mrs. Beasley quietly went away.

I only remember the sweetness of snuggling with that awesome doll and pulling her string when I wanted someone to talk to.

“Do you want to hear a secret?” she would ask.

I certainly told her mine.

 

 

 

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