What happens to the stuff nobody wants?
I'll tell ya a story. It's true.
Little Susie buys a doll. Little Susie play with Dolly for a couple of days. Then Little Susie strips Dolly naked. Dolly feels cold and exposed.
Little Susie draws on Dolly's face with a red marker and cuts her hair off with toenail clippers.Dolly cries when the other dolls tease her. But Dolly forgives for Little Susie is Psycho Susie and knows not what she does.
Dolly is now too embarrassed to chat with other dolls in the playroom. She hides her face when G.I. Joe comes a flirtin'. Joe don't like damaged goods.
When Mama comes on cleaning day Dolly commits dolly suicide and hops in the big black donation bag.
Dolly is taken to The Goodwill. But The Sorters don't show Dolly Good Will. The Sorters toss Dolly in the No One Will Ever Want You Pile.
Dolly is thrown in a huge bin along with all the stained bed sheets, puzzles missing pieces and broken lamps and single socks. The bin is called a Hopper.
When I was a child growing up on Tucson's south side we waited at 5am on summer mornings. We waited for Hoppers. We waited at the back of The Goodwill Store with our hands grasping the chain link fence. My grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins waited for The Man to come and start the bidding.
My Mexican family called The Goodwill "goodwheels". As in, "vamos a la goodwheels".
My family would shout bids alongside hungry strangers and hope for a good Hopper. You never know what you're gonna get in a Hopper. Could be great. Could be nothing. You could get elbowed in the face if you're not careful. People get crazy when it comes to Hoppers.
Once the Hoppers were purchased each family would get to work sorting. We worked in piles. The Trash Pile. The Ready to Sell Pile. The Needs work Pile. The Keep For Ourselves Pile.
The fixable stuff would be sold at the Tanque Verde Swap Meet on Friday. The remainder would be sold at a Swap Meet in Nogales, Mexico on Saturday.
My job was to collect toys. Dolls mostly. And stuffed animals with missing limbs and eyes.
All week long I would sit alongside my mother and beautify my finds. I spoke gently to them as I worked.
"Don't worry, Dolly," I crooned. "We'll get you all pretty and find you a home. You'll be happy there. Here's a ruffly dress for you and a bonnet to hide your haircut."
I scrubbed plastic faces and hands. I brushed ratty hair. I sewed button eyes. I stuffed and stitched wounded animals.
They were grateful, those toys. And when I die they will be there at the Pearly Gates to welcome me. They will tell of my good deeds and we will live in peace with the lamb and the lion.
On those Fridays in my youth I sat at the Swap Meet with my family on big stacks of folded clothes.
"How much for this doll?" asked a fat man with a fat cigar.
"She's a dollar," I replied.
"How about 25 cents?" he scoffed.
I nodded, sad to see my new friends go but happy for a quarter.
Today when I saw a doll naked and face down on my playroom floor I shook my head.
"These girls know better. Don't they, Dolly? I can't believe they would treat you like this! I'm so sorry."
When my girls catch me talking to dolls they say it's creepy. Today they weren't home to hear. I was glad.
Dolly smiled at me.
"It's okay, Cryssy. They just don't understand where you've been."
PS My baby sister, Michelle, has a beautiful blog you should most definitely check out. She calls me a Star Gazer. So true. So very very true.