Vick's View


It was 1964, and I was five years old. I had just enjoyed Christmas followed by a birthday in January. We were living in Buffalo, New York, at the time, and though we didn’t have much money, we had plenty of love in our house.

At that time, a new phenomenon spread across the country known as the “Troll Doll”. In 1963 President John F. Kennedy had even purchased one for the White House. These odd little dolls had come from Denmark and grew in popularity all across the United States. And of course, I wanted one.

I had been sent some birthday money from my grandparents and could not wait to spend it. And what did I want most of all in the whole world? A troll doll.

So mom and dad took me to the toy store and after much deliberation and searching, I found the perfect troll. The funny looking creature with the big eyes and big ears had long white hair and was as naked as a jaybird. I loved that thing.

I had only had it for a few weeks when our family made a trip into Buffalo to some stores. I don’t recall what we were looking for, but I do recall dad pulling the car over, parking, and all of us climbing out and going into a store. It was called the Salvation Army Thrift Store.

I had my trusty troll doll with me, and it was a good thing because the store was boring. It had a lot of furniture and a few odds and ends. But I will never forget my mother’s delight as dad talked her into purchasing a bracelet with what looked like brown oval stones topped with ivory cameos all around it.

She was tickled to death with it, and looking back, I realize that she did not have much jewelry at all because we could not afford it. So I was just as thrilled for her that she was able to buy this rather inexpensive but pretty bracelet.

After the purchase, I had to go to the restroom so I convinced Mama that I could go by myself. Before I left the restroom, I set my troll doll on the edge of the sink and washed my hands. I carefully dried them and then ran out of the restroom to my parents. We immediately got in the car and started to leave when, suddenly, I realized I had forgotten my troll doll left on the sink.

Horrified, I begged daddy to let me go back in to find my doll. My mom got out with me, and we ran to the restroom, but there was no doll. We quickly found the salesman and told him what had happened. He said he knew nothing about a doll found in the restroom and actually went around the room and in the back offices to ask any of the other volunteers if they knew anything about the troll doll. But everyone said they knew nothing about it.

That was the day I lost my childish innocence and trust in people.

I discovered that day that people do take things that do not belong to them, and will even lie about it….no one else had been in that store except my family.

I was absolutely crushed. I had just lost my favorite toy and to make matters worse, it had been stolen by an adult. We left and went home while my parents did what they could to console me, but it took a long time to recover from the theft. My parents could not afford to buy me another troll doll because those dolls were growing expensive due to their popularity. My mom wanted to return her bracelet to get money to buy me another troll doll, but dad wouldn’t let her. He knew that this was a hard lesson for me to learn, and an important one.

I am now 65 years old and still regret the loss of my troll doll. I could easily buy myself dozens if not hundreds, but that’s not the point. I want THAT one back. But more importantly I want back my trust in people and the belief that basically all people are good.

Recently, I was at a public park and saw a little mermaid doll lying on the ground. I picked it up and brushed it off, all the while thinking that my granddaughter would love the mermaid doll. I even sat it next to my chair on a table with the plans to take it to her when next I saw her. But then I remembered my troll doll and began to wonder. Would the little girl who was the owner of this doll desperately miss it? Would she perhaps come back to the park to retrieve it once she realized it was missing? And if it was gone, would she know it had been stolen and her faith in human nature be destroyed?

I smiled looking down at the doll, laid it on the table, gathered my things, and went home. No, that mermaid doll was not mine to take, and I would like to think that somewhere there’s a little girl who will find it again, smile, hug it to her chest, and enjoy one more day of childish innocence and trust.