Distressed at the state of a neglected friend, rag dolls Elizabeth Anne and Jenny Marie decide a secret makeover is the solution. When Penny arrives with nothing but an old calico dress, Bear and the twin dolls begin a desperate search for a source of new clothing that takes them to a distant designer salon at the other side of the country, but their carefully planned operation comes unraveled when they tarry too long at the store leaving them stranded with no way to get back on time.
Excerpt from Chapter One ~ Return to Sender
In the beginning…
The plan was for Penny to become a little girl’s special playmate. But it didn’t work out that way. The minute she arrived, and while she was still brand new, her new mistress’s domineering sister took all her new clothes for her own doll.
“Real dolls look more like Barbie,” sniffed the older sister, “and look at the color of her skin.” So Penny’s new mistress was afraid to play with her and in time, they put her away in the bottom of a closet.
Years later when her mistress’s mother was downsizing and getting ready to move, she put Penny in a box, moved her into a storage unit, and soon forgot about her. Eleven months later when she came back to close out the storage unit, she found the box and remembered the bedraggled doll inside. Not quite able to bring herself to get rid of it, she decided to send her back where she came from.
But when the box arrived on the front porch of the house where she had been made, Penny’s long journey home wasn’t really over. It was only just beginning.
Excerpt from Chapter Two - Running Late
Inside the house Mistress Sarah was on the telephone. “Yes, I believe it just arrived.”
Her two rag dolls, Elizabeth Anne and Jenny Marie, turned immediately toward the front door. A moment later her little teddy bear, having heard the parcel delivery truck drive up, emerged from the study.
“Wait,” Mistress Sarah said to her toys, “I’ll get it.”
Disappointed the three toys stopped to turn and look at their mistress. They loved going to the door and dragging in packages, the bigger the better. Getting them in and unwrapping them was a challenge they always enjoyed.
“How could I forget?” said their Mistress Sarah. She shifted the telephone to her other ear. “Of course I remember Penny. Mother made her before she made Elizabeth Anne and Jenny Marie. She was their prototype.”
The surprised dolls stopped beside their mistress’s luggage and looked at Bear. Bear had been around forever. She would know.
“Not now,” whispered Bear, “she’s running late.” From a discreet distance the toys watched as their mistress went to the front door.
“Can’t we help her?” Jenny Marie asked as they watched their mistress open the door with one hand and push the box in with one foot.
The toys waited.
“I’m not sure what I’ll do with her,” their mistress said into the phone. “Right now I have a plane to catch and I’ll call you when I get back.” On the way in with the box, she set the phone on the hall table, and then with both hands free, picked up the box.
“Where are you going to do with it, Mistress Sarah?” Bear asked.
“For now I am going to...
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