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Hello Dolly

I loved my dolls as a kid and had several over the years. They tended to fall into two categories: the “look, but don’t touch” variety and the “everyday play” type.

The first I remember was a doll I received for my fifth birthday. She was called a Storybook Doll and stood only 6 inches high. Since my birthday happened near Valentine’s Day, she wore a pretty red dress festooned with hearts and a heart-shaped hat. I can’t remember which friend gave her to me, but I was aware it was a lavish gift, because it cost five dollars and the typical birthday gift at that time cost a dollar. I never played with her much, because she was far too pretty, but I DID set her on my dresser for all my friends to envy.

As I grew older I added to my display collection when we made a cross-country trip to visit my married sister in California. During a day trip to Tijuana my parents bought me a doll wearing a fabulous Mexican skirt. She still has her pigtails, tied with red ribbons, but like many of us these days, has thinning hair on top.

My favorite doll was the last one I received, for Christmas, at age 12. She was known as the “Littlest Angel” doll and came with a whopping wardrobe, thanks to my industrious mom. The girl had more clothes than Paris Hilton. Some of her costumes had obviously been purchased: her ice skating dress with matching silver skates or her fringed cowboy outfit, complete with a felt cowboy hat, a holster with two little guns and cowboy boots. Mom must have spent weeks making additional clothes for her: sunsuits trimmed in small ric-rac with matching sunbonnets; a purple evening gown trimmed with pale green netting, and even a white satin wedding dress. The poor girl got serious play action. She was dressed and undressed more times than any runway model and it shows today. She is missing an arm and her hair is a bit of a mess in the front, but her eyes open and close like tiny shutters, and she still has much of her fabulous wardrobe.

I’d like to say that I loved her in a maternal way, but actually I played with her more in the “fashion show” mode. Time has not been kind to the Old School doll or her owner, but we’ve both survived, even if a little the worse for wear.


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