I was in the Army (stationed in Georgia) when Maura was born. I found a really terrific in home daycare provider named Anne who was wonderfully willing to work around my schedule. She didn't mind having Maura in the evenings or on the weekends. She took care of Maura from the time she was 6 weeks until she was about three and a half. Maura made herself right at home at Anne's house. Anne's daughter doted on Maura. Anne's grandchildren were Maura's playmates. Maura called Anne "Nanny" just like her grandchildren. Neither of us gave the situation much thought, we were both busy being busy, until one afternoon when I was picking up Maura. Maura was about two years old. Anne asked me Maura had ever mentioned (at home) that Nanny was black. I said no, the subject had never come up. Anne relayed this story to me:
Anne was in the back of the house when Maura started crying about something.
Anne: What's the matter, Maura?
Maura (pushing a baby carriage): I can't find my baby, Nanny.
Anne (handing Maura a baby): Here you go. You can play with this baby.
Maura (throwing the baby down): Not that baby! That baby is white. I want the BLACK baby. My baby is black like you.
Anne and I had a good chuckle over this innocent, sweet child who just wanted her baby that looked like her Nanny. Neither Anne nor I had realized that Maura would eventually notice the difference in the colors of our skin. The next time we were shopping, I asked Maura if she'd like a black baby doll to play with at home. It quickly became her favorite baby. This story became our favorite Maura story. Anne told her daughter, her son in law, and the ladies from her church. I told my girlfriends and my mom....who told my Great Grandmother.
Later that summer, we were in Idaho and we went to visit my Great Grandma. The girls call her their Baby Doll Grandma because she had a collection of baby dolls. They were displayed around her house. Some of the dolls were expensive porcelain dolls. Others were old rag dolls that the grand kids were allowed to play with. We visited for awhile. On the way out the door, Baby Doll Grandma took me aside and said that she had a present for Maura. She went to the closet and brought back a little black baby doll.
Me: Oh, Grandma. Thank you. Maura will love that baby doll.
Baby Doll Grandma: Your mother told me how Maura wasn't allowed to have a black baby doll. I said to myself, if that sweet little child wants a black baby doll, well, then I was going to get her a black baby doll.
Me (knowing immediately what Grandma was talking about): Grandma, nobody told Maura she couldn't have a black baby doll. She just couldn't find her black baby doll.
Baby Doll Grandma (not to be dissuaded): Well, now she has an extra black baby doll. If Maura wants a black baby doll, her grandma is going to make sure she has a black baby doll.
Baby Doll Grandma passed away yesterday. She was 96 years old. We took this photo last summer. It shows five generations of women in my family. Grandma White Hair (my grandma), Baby Doll Grandma (my great grandma), Grandma Susie (my mom), me, and my girls.
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