Two weeks ago on this blog, an old, old, OLD friend (ducking under desk!) mentioned our paper doll world that we created when we were little girls. Being next-door neighbors and the same age, we did everything together, Nancy and I. The kids at our school were sure we were joined at the hip and although we shared many like interests, we were different in a few ways. She was a brunette. I was blonde. She was very, very good at math. I was not and still, am not! She tanned easily. I burned easily.
However…we both loved music, and singing and playing the piano. We could, in an instant start singing the same song in the same key and one would take the harmony…whichever! Yeah, we were super talented. But Ed Sullivan never called us??? We loved climbing trees. We loved French Fries at the Dairy Maid and Buster Browns at the Dairy Queen. Both of us had long, straight hair in high school and took turns ironing each other’s hair. Does that makes us weird? On the other hand, when we were in grade school, we suffered at the hands of mothers who tried to make our hair curly via perms. ICCCK!!!
I would venture to say that during our early childhood days, we practically lived together. And spent many, many hours playing with dolls and paper dolls. Since Nancy had no little brother but a sister instead, we usually did the paper doll thing in her living room. Paper dolls and little brothers DO NOT go together in small houses! (I do LOVE you, little brother!!) 🙂
While I had a neat collection of Katy Keene comic books and paper dolls and a wonderful “Little Women” set from the June Allyson movie version and the Betsy McCall paper dolls from the McCall’s magazine that my mother subscribed to, my favorite paper dolls were from the Monkey Wards catalog. And JC Penney and Sears. I’m serious. This is how it worked:
You went to the women’s clothing section for the Mother Doll and cut her out. Then moved on to the men’s section and cut out the dad. The children’s section provided all of their offspring. I think I ended with about 6 offspring, absolutely NOT understanding that Mother Doll was tired. And yes, we hit the maternity clothing section for a PG Mother! And, of course, the infant pages gave us our darling baby offspring/s. A complete family!!?
Not quite. We then went to the living room furniture at the back of the catalog (BTW, we were using last year’s catalogs! Our mothers would’ve skinned us alive if we’d used the current ones!!!). From there we found bathrooms, bedrooms, swing sets, kitchens…the whole nine yards. We proceeded to line all of this “collection” up on the hardwood floors and spent hours playing….paper doll house.
I remember my mother well…the paper doll one…she wore a lovely lavender dress and the daddy wore a beige western suit w/a Stetson hat. I had a set of twins…a girl and a boy and they were dressed in sailor outfits. From there, it all gets fuzzy. Somehow, my paper dolls disappeared…the catalog ones, the store-bought ones…all of them. Makes me sad. But I’ve compensated by buying
me granddaughters Shirley Temple paper dolls and Fairy paper dolls and baby doll paper dolls.
And maybe, if I can get my hands on an actual Penney’s or Sears catalog…do they even print any now?…we’ll spend a rainy day cutting out a family. Or two.
Note: my paper doll stash consists of these from Mary Englebreit’s now defunct magazine, Home Companion…much to my dismay. I was able to find some old mags at eBay a while back but don’t have those cut out yet. If you EVER run across that magazine, they are excellent!
More paper doll frenzy coming…