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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Say It's Only A Paper Doll!

When I was a kid we played with paper dolls. Didn't everybody? The kind we liked best were the kind you could buy at Kresge's. They probably cost less than a dollar or we wouldn't have been able to buy them. They were on the same rack as the coloring books. Whitman made those coloring books. They probably made the paper dolls too. I think the Little Golden Books were on the same rack.

The paper dolls were the punch out kind. I think you had to cut the clothes out with scissors, though. The clothes had those obnoxious tabs all around, the dolls had a half-moon thing that you had to insert into the feet to make the dolls stand up. The deluxe models even had a pocket in the back of the book to stick all the clothes so they wouldn't get lost. Right.

In Kindergarten and possibly first grade, there was a very high tech "paper" doll that had a velour surface. Her clothes were felt and would just stick to her without tabs. I think there was a wooden "paper" doll too. her clothes were like folded cards, joined at the shoulder, and slipped over her head. Look, Ma! No tabs! Those dolls were awesome.

I also liked the paper dolls that were published by Dover. Jackie Onassis paper dolls, Marilyn Monroe paper dolls, Princess Di paper dolls. Complete with replicas of famous clothing by Oleg Cassini and other designers. Awesome.

I went over to Chris's house to play sometimes. Playing at her house was like going to Disney World (I've never been to an amusement park, not even Edgewater in Detroit. I don't think Bob-lo Island counts). She had books that did not exist in my world - An Old Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott. Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield. Her dad painted pictures and these were stacked up against the walls in the basement. She played different games than we did in my neighborhood.

One day, Chris said we could play with her paper dolls. Fine, I love paper dolls. But I had never seen paper dolls like these. They didn't come from any book or any store. Chris and her sisters drew them themselves. These were charming dolls, hand drawn and hand tinted with colored pencils. Rosy cheeks, rosebud lips, flirtatious eyes, hair bows and clothes drawn on (no tabs). Chris and her sisters drew dolls in nightgowns, dolls in school clothes, dolls in play clothes, dolls in their Sunday best.

Then Chris showed me her doll house. Imagine if you will a Montgomery Ward catalog. Flip to the furniture section - beds, sofas, tables and chairs, desks, etc. Imagine a slit cut in each page. On the beds, a slit under the pillows. On the sofas and chairs, a slit where the seat joins the back. Chris would slip the paper doll into the slit and voila! Paper doll in bed; paper doll sitting in a chair; paper doll working at a desk. I was intrigued and amazed, as I was at just about anything Chris did.

Chris's mom's cookies were better than ours. Her school lunches were better than ours. Her bedroom was better than ours. Her books and even her paper dolls were betters than ours. Was I jealous? I was not! I went home and immediately tried to create exact replicas of Chris's paper dolls. Did I succeed? I did not!

I contented myself with my crummy 79 cent Whitman paper dolls and my "Portrait of Skipper" story book. Cuz I knew that next time I went over to Chris's house, I would get to see her awesome paper dolls again, and all her other awesome stuff. Life is good sometimes.

Quotable Quotes; in the category What She Said . . .

"I enjoy getting dressed as a Barbie doll."
Vanna White


Fortuna said...

Even better than playing at Chris's house was going to her grandmother's house once a week after school to sew quilt blocks. She'd make pink lemonade and gingerbread for a snack and supervise a basement full of little girls piecing fabric together. I don't remember any actual quilt being produced from all that sewing, but the gingerbread was delicious.

madMad said...

I actually did make a quilt from those patches - it went through several permutations and still lives in my house somewhere - probably as a moving blanket or cat bed. That is a whole blog in itself!