Sally and the gang

They were hidden for years in a blue plastic garbage bin in one closet or another. Moved with me more times than I can count over the years. Played with, cuddled with, cried on, loved.

Jan 12, 2010 005

I brought them out today without expectations. My children aren’t really into dolls. But I was.

These dolls, they were such a huge part of my childhood, of me. Of my imagination, and story telling. I lovingly toted them everywhere with me. Most were handmade by my mother. While I had Barbies (much to my mother’s chagrin… and now mine…) the soft hand crafted, made with more love and patience and occasionally blood and tears, were my favorite.

This afternoon I gingerly took each one out of the bin marked Dolls – Corinne’s Room, written in my mother’s handwriting. Thick black sharpie on yellowed masking tape. I smoothed doll hair and dresses. As my children watched closely, the names rattled off my tongue like I was five and playing with imaginary friends. Sally, Margaret, Raggedy Ann, Star, Sleepy, Holly….

Jan 12, 2010 027

Sally {above} was my favorite. She was beneath the tree on the Christmas of 1983. Whenever my mother made me a new dress, Sally had one as well. When I cried, or was lonely, or was the kind of mad that only a little girl can be, Sally was there. When I got my ears pierced, so did Sally. It never dawned on me until years later that Sally didn’t look like other baby dolls. She was made for me, nearly indestructible, and still soft. So full of love.

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I don’t know that I’d define myself as a normal child, or a normal adult for that matter. I know I made up worlds of my own, friends of my own, and lived happily among them. I was the child sitting on a swing set singing Somewhere Out There to my grandparents miles away. I penned stories that my mother bound for me. In my mind, my dolls had feelings, and I had to play with them all equally so no one would get upset. They were a part of me, of my childhood circle of friends. They were me. I need to pull them out every now and then, not only to share with my children, but so I never forget.

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19 Comments

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19 responses to “Sally and the gang

  1. Wow, so much of this resonates with me. I wasn’t a “normal” child either, I suppose, choosing to use Barbies to tell stories rather than dress up and thinking sincerely that my non-Barbie’s had feelings.

    I spent hours up at my dad’s computer typing my novels (about the wild and crazy world of those older kids – the eighth graders) while other kids played outside.

    And these dolls your mother made for you – make me want to craft some for my own little girl. She has been given hideous Mattel versions of Disney princesses lately – complete with glittering eye make up (what 3 year old needs a doll with glitter eye make up???)

    Maybe I’ll try. I love the idea of giving my children something worth passing on, as your mother gave you.

  2. Oh my. I love you for this post. This was such a short post, but such a TELLING one. I feel like I KNOW you after reading it. And I love this you. Maybe because I see Hannah in your words. She has so many dolls and like you, plays with them all equally because she doesn’t want to hurt their feelings. I was not a doll lover when I was little but watching Hannah play with hers makes me wish I had been.

    There’s a book called “Fanny”. It’s a children’s book that I think you’d love to read to your daughter when she’s a little older. Next time you’re at the bookstore, check it out.

    I pull out old photos, letters and other memories from the back of my closet often. I relive the memories as I sit and look at the pictures, movie stubs, cards and other scraps. Some make me smile, some cry but they make me remember.

    I really loved this Corinne. And the pictures made it that much more special.

  3. Oh, Corinne. Thank you for sharing this. I feel like I just got to know you so much better through this one story. Who you are – honestly.

    I had an imaginary friend, Beady (don’t ask) who was very real to me, and I spun tales myself.

    But this love and kindness you show here – playing with each one equally, your wistful imagination…I just love seeing this layer of you.

  4. This post is so sweet. I had lots of dolls and a couple Care Bears, too. My mom has them all at her house. I should have her send them to me.

  5. Nicki

    I love this post. I tried keeping all my younger stuff but not so much has survived my many moves.

  6. Booling

    I also had to play with stuffed animals equally or they would be sad! The all rotated who slept with me so they didn’t get lonely. Sadly, I still assign emotions to some inanimate objects!
    This was beautiful!

  7. I LOVE these pictures. What a lovely, lovely post.

    And I did that thing, too, where you have to give each stuffed (animal, in my case) equal attention. I’d forgotten that!

    Thank you.

  8. Lovely!
    I enjoyed my brother’s cars and trains more than my own (few) dolls. Stuffed animals pretty much scared me. My aunt, who really should have known better, made me a pillow with a clown’s head in it. What the heck was she thinking?!!! Scared me spitless. Eyeless, headless cars and trains were much less scary to me. ­čśë

  9. I had a Raggedy Ann and a Curious George doll. I loved dolls growing up. Totally relating!

  10. Oh my heart. This is so sweet. I have the same box. It has my blankie in it, too, made by my Mamaw. She made the dolls, too.

    I also have a box with Seth’s grandma’s dolls from the 1920’s. There’s something about those things and all the cuddling they got, all the role-playing and dreaming. So many imaginations are tucked in there.

  11. I was a kid just like you. I lived in my head.

    Thanks for sharing this part of you.

  12. Don’t you love how certain things can take you back to being that same child you knew so long ago but yet seems so far away? Some of mine (Hug Me was her name) do that for me too. It is good to remember.

  13. I still think my teddies used to come alive at night.

    lovely post x

  14. Corinne, this is beautiful. Really beautiful. And the hand-crafted dolls? Gems. Alive and real. And I can imagine your world as a little girl. I can imagine you sitting on a swing, singing to your grandparents, who are indeed “Out there, somewhere.”

    Beautiful.

  15. I actually wasn’t a big dolly girl myself, but I did have a few. One of which I still have, but she is terribly worn out and creepy. ­čśë Much like most of our old dolls are.

    Nell

  16. Pingback: Today « Drama For Mama

  17. Oh, I love this! I remember my dolls– my friend Carrie and I played Cabbage Patch Kids until we were waaaaaaay too old to play dolls. How awesome that you have yours to show your kids!!

  18. This is such a sweet post. It reminded me that I should start packing up some of the beloved, but not so remembered, dolls which belong to my girls. Thanks for that.

  19. How’d I manage to miss this post?! I love this ~ love the photos of the much beloved dolls, love the stories behind them. This post was such a wonderful glimpse into who you were — who you still are, at heart.

    I had a doll that my Grammy made me, my “Boo-Boo Baby.” My Grampy used to call me his Boo-Boo Bear (as in, he was Yogi and I was Boo-Boo) so I gave my precious dolly my precious nickname. I still have her. She’s so ragged now, so worn…but still so loved.

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