by Angela L. Nydegger -
There once was a girl named Helen. A beautiful child, she had porcelain skin, long natural raven curls, and blue eyes. She grew up during The Great Depression, which is a time in history where the stock market crashed and a lot of people lost a lot of money. Nearly everyone was jobless and destitute. Her parents were kindhearted generous people. They owned a grocery store and it had been struggling for years. With so many close neighbors and friends down on their luck, her father allowed them to purchase groceries on credit, knowing they might not be able to ever repay him. He had done this for so many people, now he was down on his own luck and had to close his store. Because their family business had been struggling for years, they were only able to purchase the bare necessities. Toys were not considered part of the bare necessities, so the only ones Helen had were a couple of toys her parents had made for her, and a few she was able to create herself.
One day a soda company announced they would give a beautiful porcelain doll to the first 50 people who collected 1,500 soda bottle caps. Helen's eyes gleamed with delight when she heard about this giveaway. She intensely imagined holding the beautiful doll in her arms and fixing her hair. She vowed she would always take good care of her doll and never let it leave her sight. She set her goal of collecting the 1,500 bottle caps and went off to work. Every day after school she would go by the local pub and rummage through the garbage cans looking for soda caps. She would go to local restaurants and diners as well. Pretty soon all the staff at the pubs, restaurants and diners were excited for her quest and willing to help her out. They soon began saving the soda caps for Helen as customers would dispose of them. It took her two months, but she finally achieved her goal and collected all of the 1,500 soda caps she needed to get her doll. She boxed all of the bottle caps up, filled out the request form and excitedly dropped the package off at the post office. It was the beginning of May and it would take six to eight weeks for the prized doll to arrive. Since her birthday was in July, just a few short weeks after the doll would arrive, Helen's mother made her promise she would not open or see the doll until her birthday. Warily Helen agreed.
The months of May and June seemed to creep by. Helen was so excited for the arrival of her precious toy that time could not pass by fast enough. At the beginning of July she knew the doll would arrive any day. Every day after school she would check the mail box to see if the package had arrived. One Tuesday afternoon, she quickly walked home from school and checked the rusty old mail box perched outside her family home. She peered inside and saw a brown boxed package addressed to herself with the soda company's return address stamped on it. Sweet elation rushed throughout her entire body. She screamed with intense delight! Her treasured doll had finally arrived! Then suddenly her excitement turned into gloom. ..