She’s just over one inch tall, with fading yellow hair of yarn that has become matted and tangled over the years. Her pink-and-white polka-dotted, painted dress has some scratches. But the red heart she holds exudes as much love as she had over three decades ago.
She sits on a ledge, among perfume bottles and creams, too tiny to be considered an actual doll, really no more than a knick-knack, a carved wooden tchotchke, something that others less sentimental than I would have long ago discarded. Or, at the very least, disregarded.
I don’t even recall the name of the woman who gave me the doll. (“Her name was Morah Chaya,” my mother answers my text, “didn’t realize how traumatic that was for you….”). Some teachers leave their imprint on their students through fiery inspiration, some through heartwarming lessons, and others, with a tiny, wooden figurine.