The first magazine my mother took in the ’50s was McCalls. It’s arrival was anxiously awaited every month. It was full of fashions, crafts, homemaking tips, sewing….and yes, paper dolls.
When the magazine would arrive, I would quick go to the Table of Contents and find the paper doll page. And there she would be…Betsy McCall! Oh Betsy has the cutest outfits and best of all, many of her outfits were also in the McCall’s pattern books. And if they weren’t, Mother could easily copy it using her own patterns! Yay for me! I thought I was so lucky!
Once Betsy was found, out came the scissors that carefully and tediously cut out the entire page…of course, making sure that nothing important was on the back. Then off to my room I’d go where I’d begin to cut out Betsy and her outfits.
I’ve often wondered if I was a weird kid because I spent so much time with my dolls and paper dolls. But the paper dolls, especially, were fodder for my imagination. I could easily creat my own wardrobes as long as the Coloramas were at my side. And the paper dolls kept me busy in a time when television was in its infancy and the only programs we watched were Howdy Doody and The Loretta Young Show, and Dinah Shore. On hot days, primarily in the afternoons, everyone would stay inside. Mother would watch her stories while she ironed, my brother would mess around with his fish aquariums and I’d play with my dolls.
Plus, Betsy was FREE! Or so I thought. It never occurred to me that the magazine cost money…to me, there was no charge for my fun and entertainment.
I don’t remember us neighborhood kids playing with Betsy much like we did the catalog paper dolls. I kept the box of paper dolls in my bottom dresser drawer for years…until I married I guess. That’s when I lost track of them.
As soon as Big Boss and I returned from our 1 day honeymoon, (We had to be in school the next Monday. Big Boss didn’t believe in cutting classes for anything!) we stopped by my parent’s home and got my dolls. I’ve often wondered if BB considering ditching me at that point. I mean, who takes their doll with them to begin married life? Well, me. Like I said…I was a little weird!
And now a word from one of my neighborhood buddies…the little sister of my best friend. She was ALWAYS around it seemed. And that was OK because we all fit together like peas in a pod. And she had blonde hair like me. I liked that. It was almost like she was MY little sister!
She wrote this right after my first paper doll piece.
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Paper Dolls R Us!! It was so great having to use your imagination back in the good old days for our entertainment. My kids played outside when they were growing up and didn’t have to be entertained by computer games…and Steve & I were the “meanest parents in the world because our kids didn’t have a TV in their room” (when ALL their friends had TVs in their rooms). It is such a blessing now that Amber is a mother and says…”MOM..I LOVE YOU and now I understand why you raised me the way you did!” Growing up on Elizabeth Drive was such a GREAT place and I am the person I am today because of my wonderful family & neighbors back then. Nancy was so sweet to me when she started driving…she took me with her and her friends and they were all so nice to me! I will never forget my upbringing and I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for our wonderful parents & GREAT NEIGHBORHOOD!!! wish our kids could have experienced life back in the GOOD OLD DAYS!!!!!! love you OLD NEIGHBORS! Hard for me to believe that all of the “old neighborhood” are not here anymore! LOVE YOU Debbie!!