Toys

I was – am – a doll person.  Not baby dolls so much but dolls.  The first one I have memories of is a blonde, blue eyed Patty Play Pal doll.   I got her for Christmas when I was five.  She was as big as I was and could wear my clothes.  There were others.  Chatty Cathy.  Tressy.  A Shirley Temple doll whose curls were matted beyond relief and so I cut them off.  She looked cuter with that shorter, more manageable bob….I thought.  I still get occasional flak for  ‘Little Miss No Name.’

She had huge brown eyes and lanky blonde hair.  She wore a burlap dress, no shoes and had a plastic tear that could be removed from her cheek.  She came in VERY handy when I would play ‘lost in the Siberian wilderness.’  Okay…so I was a history nut and a very weird child.  And the doll’s flat, out stretched palm made her a perfect complement to our neighborhood ‘spook houses’ in the garage.  A Barbie doll head and a puddle of ketchup on that palm was totally gross out material.

While I still have a trunk full of hand made porcelain dolls and a couple of AG dolls I have had for years, I have not been able to transfer the doll love to my daughter.  Dolls freak her out because they stare at her.  Always have.  Heh.

We DID get into the doll house thing for a while though.  Her big gift for her first Christmas with us was a Fisher Price Loving Family doll house.  We had it wrapped up and under the tree for about two weeks before Christmas.  Her favorite part of our days at home alone were dragging that box out, opening the gift, setting up the doll house and playing with it, wrapping it up again and putting it back under the tree before Daddy got home.  Shhh.  He still doesn’t understand how she understood where all of the pieces went when she opened it on Christmas morning. : )

My niece was – is – a doll lover.  She is in college now and has grown up several states away so our times together were pretty infrequent.  There was a shopping trip once when she was about three.  I remember a little bitty Libby standing up in the cart as we searched through a toy department killing time while her parents shopped.  We were looking through the ‘new’ Cabbage Patch doll collection and picked up one with the name ‘Libby Kitty’  on it’s adoption certificate  My husband and I looked at one another and then just grinned.  How could we resist?  We slipped the box on the shelf under the cart – secretly we thought – and went on with our shopping.  My sister walked up, saw the box and asked ‘Whose Cabbage Patch is that?”  Without missing a beat, little bitty Libby looked up from the shopping cart and said, ‘It’s mine!’  And it was…..her constant companion for a great many years after. LOL

Prince was into Brio trains, Playmobile communities and…..Star Wars.  He was 2 and a half when he wrapped his fingers around his first Luke Skywalker action figure and he never let go of it.  Never.  He also loved stuffed animals.  When he turned three, ‘Tickle Me Elmo’ was all the rage.  With a February birthdate we were able to by pass the scarcity of it at Christmas and give it to him then.  Someone had told me to save my mylar balloons and use them for spectacular shiny wrapping paper and I did.  When he woke up on his birthday, Prince had a small pile of silvery presents in the middle of the livingroom floor.  He was so excited that he accidentally stepped on one.  To his absolute delight, the package starting cackling and then skittered across the carpeting as ‘Tickle Me Elmo’ vibrated inside.  We had so much fun with that that he almost didn’t want to unwrap it!

My sister did not grow up a doll lover.  She was more into Hot Wheels and Tonka trucks.  She did own a pair of twin baby dolls that I was jealous of – Karen and Kenny.  They came with their very own – very cool – double stroller and matching outfits.  I had her SO convinced that I could look at a doll and ‘know’ their name.  She hated the names ‘Karen and Kenny’ but she could never call them anything else.  Made her furious!    She also had the entire set of Johnny West dolls.  She had Johnny, Jane, Jay, Josie, Jamie, Janice, Geronimo, a couple of horses and all of their gear.  They were her most prized possessions. Until junior high.  In a spate of ‘maturity’ she gave the entire box to the little sister of a friend and has regretted it ever since. 

My sister had another toy that she held very dear to her heart. 

Thimble City.

You may have seen one or something like it.  It was a cardboard ‘city’ mounted on short legs.  It had tiny cars and people that could be moved around with long sticks that had magnets on them.  You maneuvered items by sliding the magnet sticks under the ‘streets’ of the city.

Gosh…she loved that thing.  She would play with it for hours.

It was kept in its box under our trundle bed in our bedroom.  We thought it was a safe place.  The box was big and bulky.  Sometimes it didn’t quite make it completely under the bed.  A corner would stick out.  And one night when I was about 10 and she was six, I sat up in bed and lost my cookies.

Seriously.

All over the bed.  All over the floor and….unfortunately….inside the sticking out corner of the open box of her Thimble City.

I still remember being in a flu fugue and seeing my mother holding my panicking little sister in her lap,  trying to divert her attention, as my dad carried the sloppy, stinky box from under our bed to the trash can.

It was a very sad day.  For all of us.

But especially me.

Because ever since that day, whenever we’d get into a fight or an argument in which disappointments were bantered back and forth, the argument would always….ALWAYS….end with….

“And you puked on my Thimble City.”

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