dolls on display in Madonna House's Small (gift) Shop

A Gift from a Stranger

by Pat Probst

In early fall, after the summer cottagers have gone, we turn The Small Shop (a shop near the main gift shop) into a Christmas Shop.

One time, on the last Thursday-Friday-Saturday before Christmas, I threw a half-price sale on everything.

Many local people came and had a wonderful time finding treasures they could afford. Especially the children.

I was surprised to see all the dolls go, as they had been languishing on the shelves for ages. I suppose, though, that beautiful dolls at ten dollars are hard to resist if you are a grandmother or a mother.

One little girl, named Rosanna (not her real name), came with her mother. Rosanna gravitated almost immediately to a lovely doll, very huggable, which she picked up and hugged.

A friend of Madonna House, not Rosanna’s mother, saw this; and said to me, “I’m going to buy her that doll.” And she did, on the spot.

Rosanna did not let the doll go.

When she and her mother were getting ready to leave, my assistant Gloria asked Rosanna, “Does your doll have a name?”

“Her name is Gloria,” she replied.

Then she turned to me. “And what is your name?”

I told her that my name is Pat.

Rosanna announced, “My doll’s name is Gloria Pat!”

I had never had a doll named after me, and I was thrilled.

Rosanna had been given a wonderful Christmas gift, and now she gave one to Gloria and me.