I was going through a box of very old photographs earlier today that have been locked away in a storage facility for quite a few years. I now have them back with me again and was enjoying a moment of nostalgia! Amongst the photographs I found this one - on the back is written 'Sharon 5 yrs (that's me on the left) and Mary 7 yrs on Christmas Day 64' . We are proudly displaying our new Tina Cassini dolls - the subject of yesterday's post. I was given the blonde Tina (as mentioned yesterday) and Mary was given the brunette - who I think resembles the real Tina Cassini more accurately.
Mary was an orphan - my mother saw her spending Christmas with us as an act of kindness. The area where we lived was relatively remote and sparsely populated. My own sister was a newborn baby and my mother was worried I was lonely so she arranged for a child from an orphanage in Durban to spend about a fortnight at Christmas with us for three consecutive years (63-65). In '64 Mary came to stay. My mother bought identical presents for each of us -Tina Cassini dolls on this occasion. She also always arranged extra presents for the orphaned girl that I was not given and explained to me that I benefited from regular treats during the course of the year but these children only had one chance to get presents like this at Christmas and so she went out of her way to spoil them.
At the end of the third Christmas my mother was thanked for her generosity but asked not to arrange another visit. The nuns explained that the children found it difficult to adapt back to life at the orphanage after having a taste of being with a family and in the long term coming to stay with us just upset them.
I don't know what happened to Mary after this Christmas. I hope after all she found happiness and contentment in her life.