Sunday, February 24, 2008

Child's Play

"Oma, did you have any toys when you were little?"

Yes, they had invented toys! When I was six I got a Tiny Tears Doll. She could drink a bottle, wet her pants, open and close her eyes, and she cried real tears.
Her name was Peggy.

I collected Madame Alexander Storybook Dolls.
I had Heidi, Dorothy, Snow White and Scarlet O'Hara,
plus others in costumes from Wales, Holland, Scotland, Ireland and France.
My Grama B. crocheted little clothes for them so I dressed them in pajamas, a blue ice skating dress, a yellow coat and hat, and a variety of pretty outfits.

For Christmas when I was eight I got a Madame Alexander Bride Doll with a pink steamer trunk. I named her Peggy, too. We both got matching clothes made by my mom, including gray poodle skirts with coordinating vests. The poodles were made with pink pom-poms.

I idolized Annie Oakley so my mom created a designer cowgirl outfit in blue denim with white fringe. I had a hat that hung around my neck, white cowboy boots, and a white holster with two cap guns. She couldn't provide me with blond braids.

Mom also made me a hula girl skirt, sewn on the machine out of green crepe paper which she shredded to look like grass. It had a bikini top, and she made leis from crepe paper flowers for my ankles, wrists, head and neck. I loved putting on plays under the carport with my friends. We sold tickets to our parents and performed on the redwood picnic table.

Another costume was an Indian Princess dress, with lots of fringe, and mom embellished the skirt with turquoise beads. She used real feathers to make me a headband! I, of course, had no appreciation for her skills at the time. (I actually hated standing still for the fittings.)

For my 4th grade May Day festival she made me a peasant blouse that sat down on my shoulders in a very sexy way. The full, gathered skirt was made of a flowered fabric and had lots of colorful, layered petticoats underneath. She embroidered flowers on the blouse to match the pattern on the skirt and I wore long streamers attached to a headband, that floated around when I danced.

My grandpa won a giant pink teddy bear for me at the Liberty Park shooting gallery. The bear felt like he was stuffed with sawdust, mixed with shredded newspaper. He made a rustling sound when he was hugged. I imaginatively named him Pinkie. In spite of his name and color, he was definitely a boy. I used to kiss him.

I was very skilled with roller skates that hooked onto my shoes. I got them when I was eight
and wore the key around my neck on a shoelace. The skates could grow with my feet when the screw underneath was loosened.

Nurse Nancy was one of my favorite books. My mom made me an outfit just like hers, with a navy blue cape lined with red. I had a sign on my bedroom door which read
Nurse Marty and Doctor Joey.
(I met Joey in a motel swimming pool in Los Angeles when I was seven. He was an older man of ten. We had a one-day stand. He was my boyfriend for years after that.)

I had my own supply of band aids in my room, and a dishtowel which I knew how to fold into a sling. Luckily my younger siblings enjoyed being patients.

I didn't get a two-wheeler until I was ten. It looked just like this, with a basket on the front, and a bell on the handlebars. There was also a buzzer on the girl-type bar. The low bar was designed so it would be easier to wear dresses, (which I had to wear to school everyday.)

The metal platform on the back had a strap so I could clip my books to it. The wheels were pretty fat, and I endured some teasing. I've never learned to ride a bike with hand brakes, or gears, and I never learned to stop when I rode a boys bike. I couldn't reach to drag my feet with the boys bar in the way, so I just tipped over.

There were only three channels on our TV, and only a couple of kids programs a day. They hadn't invented VCRs or DVDs so there wasn't much to watch. Mickey Mouse Club was on at 5:00 and that was my favorite. I still remember most of the Mouseketeers names.

My mother made my play dough from cornstarch and salt. My dad's shirts came back from the laundry folded with a cardboard picture inside that I could color, and my grandmas had Chinese Checkers and Pick-Up Sticks. There were no voices or musical tones emerging from toys to annoy the adults. I think we learned to do that on our own. It seemed like child's play!


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Sheri said...

Thanks for the review of my toys and activities in the 1950s! I think we lived identical parallel childhoods.

gab said...

I wish I wish I wish I still had that doll with the trunkful of clothes. I loved getting your old treasure!

Bonnie B. said...

How fun are those toys!!! And your Mother was fabulous. If only they had blogs back then, she could have taken pictures of you in the cute outfits, and shared them with the world! She sounds crafty.

mama jo said...

gee, i can't remember any toys from my childhood...didn't i even get your hand-me-downs? i do remember hearing ALOT about the madame alexander dolls....

MissKris said...

What a trip down memory lane! I could relate to them all!

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Connie said...

Hey, I had a tiny tears doll! I haven't seen her in more than forty years, but looking at the picture you posted brings her right back to me. Thanks. She never did look like a new doll. She always kinda looked funny with her foggy eyes and kinkly hair. I loved her.