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Rock, Paper, Scissors

Back in my childhood, I didn’t need the rock, but sure needed paper and scissors for another favorite pastime of mine:  paper dolls. Keep in mind, those were not the fancy things so prevalent today, made of pliable, easy-peel-and-stick plastic.

Ours were in a paper book, usually bought at the dime store for a quarter.  Made of posterboard, the dolls were surrounded by perforations to free them from paper doll jail. Usually dressed in their underwear, I was embarrassed for them to be seen in public, but it never seemed to phase them.  Usually there were two of them, maybe a girl and her younger sister, or a couple of teenage friends, one blonde and one brunette. 

Their clothes ran the gamut:  bathing suits, shorts and tops, school clothes and evening gowns, or “formals,” as we called them. The most elaborate garment in their wardrobe was usually a wedding dress, included in many collections. 

Remember; this was the 1950’s and that was the ultimate for most little girls at the time. There were also shoes and hats to match the outfits.  I mean we couldn’t have the poor girls wear saddle oxfords to the prom, right? Sometimes they even had props to carry, like a tennis racket or beachball. 

Their outfits required careful cutting with those snub-nosed scissors I hated.  Clumsy and impatient, I ruined more than one outfit, in a hurry to make the girl on time for her date. Given my ham-fisted nature, I usually didn’t bother with the shoes of the hats.  I knew myself too well for that.

OK, so the doll and her friend needed to get ready for school.  How to get the clothes on them? Remember those little tabs at the shoulders of each dress and sometimes the sides too?  After I had carefully cut around them, I’d place the outfit on each doll, folding the tabs behind her. This worked for the first try-on of an outfit, but not always second or third ones.  I’d bent those tabs too many times. 

Now to make them upright.  Each girl came with a cardboard stand to be folded in the center for maximum support.  Then her feet fit in the slits of the stand.  Afterward, both girls were ready for school/play/dancing and were fully upright to do so, as they chatted away about boys, school and life.

Sound complicated?  It was, but we Old School types loved it.   


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