The toy I’ll never forget
When I was little, wherever I went, there Tilly went too. She was more than a doll, she was my friend.

I was 6 months old when we first met. After going back to work, my mother bought me an ice cream doll at Namso(sic) in Main Road, Woodstock, Cape Town, with her first week’s wages.

Tilly never left my side. She went everywhere and did everything with me. She was my friend.

For every new outfit I got, Tilly had to get a matching outfit too, especially at Christmas. She had her own suitcase full of clothing. My mother and grandmother were the seamstresses at Tilly’s beck and call.

Every evening we’d both put on our pajamas and get ready for bed. My hair was brushed, Tilly’s hair was brushed. I couldn’t sleep if she wasn’t next to me.

Where’s Tilly?

On a few occasions, she was accidentally left in the car. I was wracked with guilt at forgetting her and then refused to go to bed until she was returned to my arms, much to my parents irritation.

I was 6 or 7 when I wanted to be a hairdresser. Tilly’s pink hair was neatly snipped into a pixie cut. My mother obviously didn’t approve because Tilly started wearing bonnets at her insistence.

Tilly had an accident one day. She fell from the chair and her head split open. I was in tears. She was in desperate need of a band-aid. A band-aid that was changed regularly because that’s what Mommy always did.

It was after this that Tilly got a “weave”. She lost all her pink hair and got brown mousy hair instead. I’m not sure Tilly liked it much, but we weren’t allowed to cut it again.

Tilly had to take a trip to the washing machine once. I was very worried. Rightly so too, she came out with a gash in her back. After some time under the surgery light Dr. Mommy fixed her up. Tilly took a week to recover, and a whole box of band-aids.

Tilly is alive!

When the first Toy Story movie was released, I watched in awe as my suspicions were confirmed. I remember thinking that Tilly was most definitely the ring leader.

At night I would say good night to my toys on their shelf and tell them to have fun playing while I slept.

I entered the feng shui era in my late teens and decided that if I was ever going to have a boy in my room, the toys are going to have to go. Tilly, along with the rest of the gang moved into a box, which then moved with us to our new house and now resides in the loft.

When I asked my mom about the origin of Tilly, she said ‘I think there’s still a photo with you and Tilly.’ I asked ‘Is there a photo without Tilly?’

Is there a toy you remember above all others, or one your child is deeply attached to?

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