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In which I remember being a little girl



I was a little girl of the kind that doesn’t seem to exist anymore. Either that or all the girls I know are exceptions, which is possible. I played with dolls. Barbie, yes, but baby dolls, little girl dolls. I had (okay, have) lots of them and a huge chunk of my time was spent in playing with them, dressing them up, taking them places, doing their hair, and so on.

Even better, I had my mom’s dolls from when she was little and one of my grandma’s dolls that she got when she was five. I have always been fascinated by old things, things that were different than what I saw every day. Also, the older things were prettier; remember, the seventies were an almost uniformly ugly decade.

Yesterday, as I was cleaning house, I realized that the two of my dolls I keep out of boxes, Elizabeth, my grandma’s doll, the larger one in the picture, and Rosamund, my mother’s Madame Alexander doll, were looking neglected. Elizabeth, because she is a composition doll, can’t be washed. I did look up what to do to clean her arms and legs (they were redone when I was little because they had shattered with time), but I don’t think I’m willing to try the process. Her face is still beautiful. She has real hair, but it can’t be combed any more. So I dusted her carefully and washed and mended her clothes.

Rosamund was, in some ways, a forerunner of American Girl dolls (and yes, I do lust after them, particularly Molly, whose glasses and braids enchant me). The dress she is wearing in the picture is her everyday dress. She also has a trunk of other clothes on miniature hangers: a satin nightgown and robe, a pink organza party dress, a brown felt coat and hat, a blue tulle ball gown and even a white rabbit stole. In the drawers of her trunk, she has four pairs of shoes, plus roller skates. She has curlers, undies, stockings, towels, and a fashion magazine. Because she is hard plastic, I could wash her. I read the directions for how to wash her hair, but I quailed. Once when I was little I got in trouble because my mom thought I had combed her hair and messed it up. I hadn’t, but it has given me hair fear. Also, the instructions included using the curlers and I am curler-challenged. I just smoothed her hair around a bit. Her dress also has been washed and ironed.

Both dolls look happier now. And I had fun playing with my dolls again.

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