Sybil Bruncheon's "Strange Tales From The Workplace: Lay-Off Day at The Doll Hospital"…

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........it was a tough time. The economy hadn't gotten better for most people, and lay-offs had continued in every business and industry... even at the Doll Hospital down at 113 Bank Street in Greenwich Village. Debra-Marie had been called to Miss Carrington's office to be given the news that "her services would no longer be required." She had tried so hard at bisque modeling, arm and leg stringing, eyelash gluing, wig-weaving, and finally at basic face-feature-painting. Sadly, she was not even particularly good at sewing the simple cotton gowns on the new-fangled electric sewing machines. Now she would have to go home to her tenement building on Mott Street, climb the six flights of stairs, and tell her parents that she would no longer be bringing home $1.65 a day to help the family out. And at 11 years of age and the oldest, she was the big bread-winner of the eight children.


How humiliating it had all been too... called into the reception area. Made to wait on the hard horse-hair sofa with the spring poking out of the center cushion that jabbed one's bottom if you didn't arrange your bustle just right...(and if it DID prick your bottom, you had to sit perfectly still and wait silently because that's what a "nice lady" should do until she was called into the office.) And then finally standing in front of Miss Carrington. And reading the pink slip. And Miss Carrington just sitting and staring. Staring and saying nothing.


Well, that's how most of them were at the Doll Hospital. Cold, and oh-so-superior. And those eyes... staring straight ahead and always saying nothing. Poor little Debra-Marie coughed awkwardly in the silence... and finally let herself out of the office. She looked back one more time. Nope. Miss Carrington hadn't moved a muscle. "Stuck-up little bitch", Debra-Marie whispered as she passed into the hall and down the stairs. She didn't hear Miss Carrington whisper the very same thing about her as she reapplied her lip paint!...."Dammit!", Miss Carrington spluttered as she looked down and realized she had chipped one of her little bisque fingers.

[Postscript: Many years later, Debra-Marie became a millionairess during WW II in her work with plastics and artificial limbs. Eventually she died of styrene-lung in 1959....just a few weeks after she created a doll named Barbara Millicent Roberts…styrene-lung is the doll-profession equivalent of Crisco-nose, the pie-baking disease that is always fatal. Interestingly... Miss Carrington continued on at the Doll Hospital in an administrative position for several years until her retirement at an undetermined age. She was eligible for a sizable pension, and received her traditional 12 karat gold-filled brooch-watch. Sadly, a week after her farewell party, while wearing a lovely bonnet with blue and green ribbons trailing behind her, a speeding trolley car passed by and happened to catch some of them in the spokes of its whirling wheels. It tore her head completely off!.... Miss Carrington, who had worked so diligently at the Greenwich Village Doll Hospital, was taken to that self-same emergency room. Her body was wheeled into the torsos-and-restringing ICU, and her head was rushed to "features-painting-and-reconstruction", but there was nothing to be done. She was pronounced BBR...(Broken Beyond Repair) and put into the RFP bin (Recycle For Parts)....]

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