Tuesday, April 8, 2008

MY DOLLIES AND ME.....

Say, say, oh playmate,
Come out and play with me
And bring your dollies three
Climb up my apple tree

Slide down my rainbow
onto my cellar door
And we'll be jolly friends
Forever more more more more more!
Lori of Faerie Window is hosting a fun event today, My Dolls, to show off your favorite dolls and tell why you love them so! So come and join the fun!

Dollies were my playmates when I was young and I did have a few favorites. Unfortunately my all time favorite doll, Bare Skin Baby, manufactured by the Uneeda Doll Co. in 1968, could not join us today as he seems to still be sleeping in my mothers attic where I must have left him after our last play date when I was young. You can read a bit about him here.(You will need to scroll down in the post to the picture of the blue and white dishes in the cupboard for his story.)
Try as I might I could find no pictures of he and I but I did find a picture of his brother on the internet! For some reason this doll was a boy doll to me. This dolls face seems a little different in expression than I remember mine being, but it still gives you an idea of my dear doll.
Look, you can tell I was his mommy, don't we look alike at birth?
I loved his sweet little expression and perfect rose petal lips and tiny dimpled fingers and real looking toes. He had a chubby little tummy with a belly button. His head and tummy section swiveled and to me he was a very real baby. He always wore a tiny soft white triangle shaped cotton diaper with a real diaper pin fastened in front, and a tiny white infant shirt just like the ones real babies wore. He had a soft yellow blanket that was one of my own castoff receiving blankets and a tiny pair of baby booties. I don't remember where I got it but I had a tiny red baseball like cap that he wore when it was cold outside. He napped in my hard rock maple doll cradle with its fancy spindles, dust ruffle, padded mattress, and cushy matching pillow. I sat in a matching rocker and pretended to read him stories from a story book while I gently rocked him to sleep with my little foot pumping the rocker of the cradle. Sometimes he needed to be fed and I would use one of those disappearing bottles of milk or orange juice. He was the very best of babies and I loved him so! (Still do!)

This is a picture of me and another dolly friend when I turned four years old.
I have to be honest I don't remember much about this particular doll I am holding but if you look closely at the cake on the table, now that doll I remember well! You may very well be looking at Miss Sandy's very first formal entertainment. See those place settings? I did that and was so proud of it! This was my only real birthday party, well, except the one I threw myself much to the surprise of my mother! But, that is a story for another day. I was visiting my grandmother, who worked for a bakery, where she purchased the cake. I thought the doll on top of that cake was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen! She had what seemed to be miles of ruffles frilled out all over the top of the cake and she had curling brown hair topped with a pretty pink bonnet. Four pink candles burned in the middle of four white frosting roses.

I remember it like it was yesterday, my party for three, just my grandmother, my aunt, and me! I used Granny's coasters and her milk glass tumblers, white saucer, napkins, and forks. By each place setting I put three pieces of candy. I could hardly wait to blow out the candles and get that doll off that cake. I remember thinking it was funny to have her legs sticking down in the middle of my cake and was a bit stunned to find out that she didn't have any legs!!! She looked like a complete beautiful doll but underneath all her ruffles was a pink pick which balanced her in the middle of the cake! My grandmother made quite the joke of it and we just laughed and laughed over it.

As it turned out she was much more fun as a doll on a stick! I could hold her in my hand over my shoulder and pretend she was a fancy parasol. I could place her pick between my little palms and by rubbing my hands together make her twirl back and forth like the best of ballerinas doing pirouettes across an imaginary stage. She could also preform the best of ballons (ba-lawn) or bounces in which a dancer bounds up from the floor, pauses a moment in the air and descends lightly and softly, only to rebound in the air like the smooth bouncing of a ball. This quick movement made the flounces of her tutu like dress flutter up and down just like a real ballerina. Ironic isn't it that my doll could dance the best of dances and yet she had no legs.


Here I am on the Christmas that I turned five with my big walking doll.
I wanted one of these dolls in the worst way. I would stand in the store and look at them through the cellophane window of their box and wish and wish and wish for one. I so wanted a dark haired doll. This one had dark hair and white gauze like dress with a red velvet ribbon and bow. She had little white socks, shiny black patten leather shoes, and a white satin hair bow. When you held her hands and walked backwards she took steps with you. I named her Rose-red after the character in a fairy tale as she had the same raven hair, milky white skin, and ruby red lips just like the picture in my fairy tale book. Rose-red liked to run about in the meadows and fields seeking flowers and catching butterflies while her sister, Snow-white sat at home with her mother and and helped her with her housework, or read to her when there was nothing to do. (You can read their story here.) My other grandmother gave her to me and she is resting beside Baby Bear Skin keeping him company at this very moment.

This little bitty baby dolly in her christening gown was purchased by me one summer at a five and dime store in the small town my grandmother lives in.
Every summer I would spend a week or two with her and my mom would always give me a bit of spending money, usually a dollar or two. While I was visiting there would always be a trip to town with an aunt or two and the boy cousins. We would wiggle and squirm with excitement in the back of the old pickup truck as we peeked through the slats of the cattle guards waiting for a glimpse of town.

Town was one square block with a courthouse in the middle and all the stores ringing it. On one corner was our desired destination, Ben Franklin's. They had the most wonderful merchandise. I loved their toy isle the best. The shelves had thick green glass dividers that created long narrow bins that were filled with penny candy and an assortment of toys. All the candy and toys in the bins were usually priced at several pieces for fifty cents up to a dollar. On the shelf above the bins were toys in boxes. Now here is where the decision making came in. You could get one big toy or a lot of smaller toys for the same amount of money. The boy cousins and I stood clutching our dollars agonizing over our decision.

This particular day they were set on buying penny candy and plastic toy soldiers or cowboys and Indians. I usually went along with the plan and I would have if I had not seen the doll! They tried to no avail to get me to purchase the boy toys and to play with them but I refused to budge. I bought the doll. Here is the funny thing, I never ever played with this doll, I only looked at her.
Part of the proof lies under her little cap. Look very closely and you will see that she still has the protective band around her hair to keep it from getting mussed up in the packaging. I did take her out of the box but that was it. I was totally content just to own her and to look at her and to occasionally rock her cradle back and forth.When we got back to our grandmothers house that day the boy cousins ran outside to play. I carefully unpackaged my doll and set her cradle and all on the floor. I lay on my stomach, chin resting on the back of hands and just looked at her. I blew out small puffs of air to watch the sheer fabric move under the power of my breath. I rocked the cradle with the poke of one finger and I imagined what it would be like to be that tiny and to lay and sway in that satin and sheer canopied bed, thinking it must be magical.

Time has faded her bedding which used to be the palest of pink sheer fabric with a pattern of pale pink flowers on it and white lace trim. Her christening gown and bonnet used to be snow white but have yellowed a bit with age. Her cradle is molded brown plastic. I think she represented a romantic girlhood fantasy of owning or sleeping under a canopy bed. She mostly resides in a keepsake box along with some other childhood friends and on occasion, like today, I take her out and look at her, but she is still not meant for play.

These little dollies are named Laura and Mary. They belong to my darling daughter. They are part of her adopted doll collection. Adopted dolls once belonged to someone else and found themselves sitting on shelves among dusty treasures of yesteryear, waiting and hopeful, for that right someone to come along and carry them home. These are not dolls that were gifted but special dolls that were chosen.
We found them in a flea market at the time when we were reading through the Little House on the Prairie books. When she saw them she thought they must be the kind of dolls Laura and Mary would have played with if they had them. Notice that Mary, the blond one, is dressed all prim and proper in her pink and white embroidered gown, while Laura, with the brown hair, has on a dress covered in a frog print! Darling daughter thought this so appropriate as Laura was a tomboy and Mary the little lady! I love their little black painted china boots! Laura and Mary usually rest in a special box of keepsakes but every once in a while they get to come out for a tea party or two, here they are enjoying cupcakes! Sometimes they even make mud pies too!

Here are two more of her adopted dolls. These darling dolls were also flea market finds and had a special appeal to her. She loved their satin dresses and fancy hats.
The larger of the dolls eyes open and close while the smaller one has painted on features. Their expressions are solemn, serious, and yet serene. Both have movable arms and heads but stationary legs with tiny painted on black slippers. I love the curls and swirls of the styled hair as well as the detailing on their gowns.Atop each little head rests a unique little creation. This one wears a bonnet of pink felt trimmed with the palest of blue feathers.This one has a pink netted veil with pale green picot trim.
They each have on tiny bloomers and underskirts to fluff out their dresses. Age has taken the fluff out of the underskirts so they don't stand out as they once did. Both have solid heavy little bodies and stand quite well upon their little slippered feet and one even carries a bouquet vintage velvet posies. They were both well loved and cherished by her and stood in a place of honor on a shelf above her bed. They too now spend most of their days resting alongside Laura and Mary in the keepsake box but decided to join in the with their dolly friends.

One last favorite baby is a little paper picture of one.
This is a pretty common print but someone lovingly crafted it into a precious piece of altered art. Tiny slits were strategically cut around the baby to lift and tuck fabric in, around, and under to make it appear as if this little darling is sleeping on a pink satin pillow edged in white lace and garnished with silk rosettes and pretty pink bows. A tiny white flannel diaper has been added as well as a pleated pink and blue floral flannel print dress. The piece is topped of with delicate crochet booties and sweater with pink satin bows. The background is quite aged and stained but I love her just the same!I look at these dolls and wonder who they belonged to originally and what stories could they tell were they to speak? What secrets did they share with their owners and what lovely times did they have at play? Were they gifts for special occasions like some of my dollies were or were they bought by little girls who saved their pennies until they had enough for the purchase? Were they just for looking at dolls or real playmates? I will never know their stories or hear their wondrous tales but I will always remember my dollies who were so dear to me!

Blessings,
Miss Sandy

41 comments:

Amy at Bunny Rose Cottage said...

What fabulous dolls you have! Really enjoyed this post and all the wonderful stories! Thank you so much for sharing with us!
hugs,
Amy

KaReN EiLeeN said...

What lovely dollies Miss Sandy. I am sure they were well loved as well!
Warm Regards,
Karen Eileen

Scrappy Jessi said...

o my gosh sandy!!! what fabulous dolls, and pictures of you when you were little . you were a doll yourself. thanks for sharing all of these today!
oxoox,
jessi

sheila said...

Wonderful dolls and stories. I also had a walking dollwhen I was little. I used to tease Dad and leave her in the hall. He would tell her to "time for bed!" and I would laugh and laugh that Daddy thought that doll was me.
My grandma Mary would make those doll cakes for my birthday. She always made everything so special. I sure miss her.

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

My you've taken such good care of your dollies! I have one left; the others have long since bitten the dust.

We share some similar memories...I, too, had one of those legless dollies stuck in a birthday cake, but I wasn't allowed to play with her. That's another common dolly story for me...no play dollies. I had two such ones stuck up on my bedroom wall by their big old Southern Belle skirts. I wasn't terribly impressed with their beautiful crocheted skirts if that's all they were there for, just a decoration. LOL!

I also loved the walking dolls. The first time I ever saw one there were boxes and boxes of them over the dairy shelves in the local grocery store. How I loved them!

What a great post. I enjoyed walking down Memory Lane with you. (I'll have to check out your friend's party later today!)

Du Buh Du Designs said...

I'm going through each persons web blog and I just think how wonderful it is to have been able to carry your dolls with you into your adult life I only have two left and they arent in the greatest shape. I especially like the life size doll. My mother had a bride doll like and I use to play with her. Thanks for sharing your stories as well.They added so much to your photos :)
~Christine

bluemuf said...

Miss Sandy, Another beautiful post and some very special dolls and memories. I have so enjoyed spending some time with you.

Hugs Karen

Fete et Fleur said...

Beautiful memories Sandy! I have one very special doll from my childhood. She is away in storage and difficult to get to. Reading your lovely memories brought back all the wonderful play times I had with her. Thank you as always for bring such lovely feelings to the surface of my heart.

Your package will be going out to you soon. :~)

Hugs! Nancy

cherished*vintage said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful stories. Your doll cake was the best! I feel like I was right there with you - beautiful memories!
-Karoline

Lori said...

Miss Sandy, a wonderful thing happened while i was reading your post...the headache i told you about in my email has disappeared...perhaps it was the tylenol i took a while ago but i prefer to think it was the charming tales you told of your's and your daughter's wonderful dolls:) thanks so much for playing with me today and sharing your sweet memories...i just love the wee dolly that you got at the Ben Franklin store, she is a treasure!

vivian said...

love those old pictures! how wonderful that you have them. also love your story book beautys! great collection of dolls!
vivian

Linda said...

Wow what a fabulous collection of dolls you have and I love all the stories that go along with your childhood favourites. Thank you for sharing.
Cheers Linda

Stephanie said...

Wonderful dolls, adorable pics of you as a little girl, & especially precious memories! Thanks so much for sharing all with us!

Please visit my dollies!

Stephanie
Angelic Accents

Laurie said...

I love those flea market dolls too!They're hair is so soft and pretty and their faces so sweet! Thanks for sharing! :)

dollybelle said...

Lovely blog! You win the biggest variety of dolls in your collection! The best part is the sweet memories that goes with each!
xoxo
Dollybelle

Pinkie Denise said...

Oh Miss Sandy I love coming and reading your stories, this was a most
wonderful doll post, thanks for sharing Pinkie

Julie - Pink Paris Match said...

Miss Sandy,

I can't tell you what fun I had reading your stories today! Thanks for sharing your wonderful pictures and dollies!

Julie

Betzie said...

Hi,
What sweet memories you have and how vividly you can tell them!I wish I could remember tiny details like that. You have a gift!
Love your daughter's dolls too and all your pics.
Blessings to you as well!

Donna O. said...

Each and everyone is wonderful but that picture of you standing at the table with your dolly is precious!!
D.

Mica said...

all beautiful. i think the baby and your picture was adorable. I love the Nancy anns. Thanks for sharing.

Mica

zUzU said...

oh Sandy! =^..^=

Wanna hear something funny?
I had one of those doll cakes too!!

AND ...

I had a big walker doll! Um ... but mine was blonde.

A walk back in time this was ...
What fun! =^..^= love, zU

Cami said...

The blonde doll... I think her name was Thumbelina. Maybe??? I had one EXACTLY like her, but mine came w/ a stroller that had a canopy top. I still have her, but haven't seen her since we moved two years ago. Poor thing. Loved, love, loved walking down memory's garden path with you. One of my VERY favorite posts of the day. Heartfelt and genuine. Blessings to you and yours.

The Rose Room said...

Beautiful, beautiful post and beautiful dollies:) Rachael

girl_gone_thread_wild said...

Wow..wow, wow! Taking it all in... loving the stories and childhood pics. What a journey Miss Lori has given us to discover new friends and doll addicts. I'm in heaven! ~Monica :)

angelasweby said...

Miss Sandy, I loved looking at all your pretty dolls and reading about your happy childhood. About a week ago I visited the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood in London and saw the most beautiful dolls houses and dolls. There were Victorian dolls dressed as brides, with wonderful long frothy gowns and veils and their delicate bisque faces painted with astonished looks and there were little cloth dolls with threadbare frocks and comfy little stitched on expressions. The saddest examples were of little baby dolls made to look like a little babe that had, sadly, passed away. My cousin and I spent hours wandering around reminding ourselves of the many toys and games we enjoyed as young children back in the 50's.
warm hugs, Angela
www.picturetrail.com/angelasweby

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

I love that your words have the power to heal headaches! That's a great story.

But, you know why I'm here today, Milady! How'd things go?

Treasure Barn said...

Your dolls are lovely. I love the altered picture of the baby.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving the nice comment . Yep, that is nail polish on the bride dolls toes. She had painted fingernails too and a french roll hair do. I should have posted her french roll.

Treasure Barn said...

Your dolls are lovely. I love the altered picture of the baby.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving the nice comment . Yep, that is nail polish on the bride dolls toes. She had painted fingernails too and a french roll hair do. I should have posted her french roll.

Lori said...

Sandy, Thank you so much fo r the beautiful stories you've shared from your childhood. I love the one about the bitty doll in the cradle. All were precious, I will vist again! Lori

Judy said...

Wonderful memories...beautiful dolls! You must not have had younger sisters...my dolls never survived the 'mommies' who came after me.

Thanks also for stopping by and leaving your kind words when our little 'visitor from heaven' went on to be with her Maker. I have felt so at peace through it all.

Knitting Mania said...

I was a "dollie" little girl too!!! I just loved this post, it brought back so many old memories of all my dolls and I how I would play with them for hours upon hours...

Great photo's too!

Arleen ~ The Tea Room said...

What a priceless collection you have! And how very generous of you to introduce us . . .

Elly said...

Oh my, what a beautiful post!!! Lovely memories and very pretty dolls!
Your daughter's dolls are also very beautiful!

Sophie Rose Designs said...

Hi Miss Sandy!
Thanks so much for your visit! I just loved seeing all of your lovely dolls and the memories behind them! I, too, would love to hear the stories our dolls could tell!

*hugs* Dara

Judy said...

Oh! your dolls are amazing and you have a wonderful way with words. I so enjoyed your stories.

The Feathered Nest said...

Oh Sandy, your posts are always like reading a sweet story to me. They way you decribed laying in the floor, just staring at the baby doll in her cradle and gently blowing the fabric...makes me feel like a little girl again! I did the same kinds of things with my little dolls. Such sweet memories! xxoo, Dawn

beth said...

thanks so much for stopping by my blog !! i just love all your dollies too , dolls are amazing with the pasts they carry with them!!
xo,
beth
www.bethquinndesigns.com

Sandy said...

I love all the stories that went with your dollies! I wish I had thought of including pix of me and my dolls. My sister got that tall walking doll as well. Thanks for visiting my place!

Sandy

Chi Chi La La Designs said...

Hi Sandy, thanks so much for popping by my blog. I have just has a lovely time reading your stories about your sweet dolls. What a beautiful collection! Thanks so much for sharing them and your memories. Nikki :)

3rdEyeMuse said...

thank you for sharing your most wonderful dolls - and singing say, say oh playmate! loved it. :)

I was a few days late, but did post my own favorites ... if you are interested, feel free to stop by: http://3rdeyemuse.blogspot.com/2008/04/doll-party-worse-than-fashionably-late.html

Cheers! ~M~

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

My grandmother, Becky Ingalls, was a nurse during WWII. Her caring nature soon transfered into a hobby, nursing "sick" dolls back to health. She would search flea markets for old clothing that she would make into period appropriate costumes for the newly restored doll. With such an influence in my life, I too have a deep immense love for dolls.
Thanks for the warm memory.

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