Two Gifts As we get older there are certain gifts which, given or received as a child, stand out in our memories for a variety reasons. The gift I was given and treasured most was a doll named Patsy. She wasn’t originally mine but was my younger sister’s Christmas gift, but on holding Patsy I immediately fell in love with her and couldn’t bear to part with her. Luckily, my sister was quite happy to exchange dolls. From then on Patsy was defiantly my baby and I continued to love her dearly and would have died for her ... that was until I received a real live baby in the form of a little sister. Overnight, Patsy mysteriously turned into being just a doll. I was on my way to the Children’s Saturday matinee at the local cinema when I happened to stop to look in the window of the gift shop at the corner of our street. There were lovely fair-isle knitted gloves, pretty flowered handkerchiefs, rose patterned teacups and saucers, and fancy padded coat hangers, all in pretty boxes. Seeing all these lovely gifts reminded me that it would soon be my Mother’s Day and my mother’s birthday. Wouldn’t it be nice, I thought, if I could give my mother something really special, something I’d bought myself? So I ventured inside and asked about one item I was sure my mother would love. The lady must have seen my disappointment when she told me the price. But she had a suggestion which immediately lifted my spirits. She pulled out a large book from under the shop counter and wrote my name in it and the item I wanted to buy, and in return I paid her a penny from my sixpence pocket money. It meant no sweets (lollies) that day but I didn’t care. At the age of nine, I’d made my very first lay-by ... and felt like a grown up. From then on, every Saturday, on my way to the cinema, I called into the shop and paid a penny which the lady dutifully recorded in her big book. The day before Mother’s Day I paid the last twopence. As the lady wrapped the gift in brown paper and tied it with string, I attentively signed the book to say I had collected my lay-by. I thanked her and excitedly left the shop. "Be careful you don’t drop it." she called after me. Once outside, the gift tucked securely under my arm, I skipped the short distance home. Too excited to wait till Sunday, I excitedly thrust the parcel on my mother’s lap and I stood by her side, hopping from one foot to the other, as she painstakingly untied every single knot in the string and slowly peeled away the brown paper as if she were unfolding butterfly wings, to reveal the box. My heart was racing. Then, as I bit into my bottom lip, she carefully began to lift the lid. “Do you like it, do you like it?” I asked excitedly, before the contents were even revealed. Set in the box was a green, cut glass; ornamental tray and several matching pieces, one being a ring holder, which would stand on the tray. It was a dressing table set. Was my mother delighted? Well that dressing table set travelled from England to Australia and back four times. It survived many house moves, a cyclone in Townsville and the Cyclone Tracy in Darwin. The last time I saw it, it was still sitting on my mother’s dressing table.