Thursday, July 05, 2007

I Want to Have a Paper Dolly

My mother sent off to a company to create a paper doll that looked exactly like me (using my photo) for my 9th birthday. My hair was down to the middle of my back, but when the doll came back, they had cut my hair to fit my photo onto the doll cardboard. I absolutely loved it! From then on, I hoped to someday be able to cut my hair. I wasn't able to do it until I went away to college (and my dad threw a fit!) but I adored short hair.

But back to the paper doll. I loved above all my toys, even my Johnny West set of dolls and ranch and horses, my paper dolls. I got Little Women paper dolls when I was very ill with pneumonia and sinus infection and was out of school for a month.(Those were my most favorite set.) I designed my own paper dolls by the truckload. I cut them from magazines and old catalogs, and saved my money(ha, back then I got a book of paper dolls for 29 cents!)to purchase them. I loved paper dolls. I even had a record that I played where the singer crooned, "I want to have a paper dolly I can call my own, a doll that I can carry everywhere." (Anyone remember paper dolls, much less this song??)

But that paper doll of myself--that was my favorite. It came with pre-drawn clothes, but I got to choose the colors and color them myself. I think I test-colored (by drawing my own clothes) first, and finally came up with the color schemes for each outfit. I signed the back of the doll with my signature (I had just learned cursive.) In my school photo, I was wearing a burgundy dress with a pale aqua stripe and so my headband was aqua. They hand-painted my face, so they went ahead and colored the band the aqua color. I colored one bead of the pearl necklace to match the headband. I did think about changing the color of the headband, but I never did.
The doll itself was skin matched to my face and a camisole and underwear in white. It is very thick cardboard.

My scanner isn't working so great, or I would show you the other outfits (yes, I've saved these for 40 years!ha) This dress is green-striped and yellow, but I have a purple and white plaid coat, a blue and dark blue bridesmaid gown/party dress, and a yellow and blue coat dress, too. My favorite colors were periwinkle, purple, yellow and dark true blue, but for some reason, I have two yellow dresses. I wish I could tell you how much this doll cost, but mom is gone, and I don't remember.

But when I was just a kid, I thought paper dolls, making up stories, and designing the colors and outfits were the best things ever to occupy my time. (This kind of thing still holds my interest today.) So, I these things translate into any sort of career or job??

(Oh, and I still want short, chic hair.)


Anonymous said...


I remember paper dolls, too. I think I had one in a dress-up blue coat and matching hat. It is soo neat that you saved yours and I, for one, hope you get that scanner working. I'd like to see those other outfits.
I've looked for paper dolls for my daughter but this is one of those things where it may be a cliche, but it's true. "They don't make them like they used to."

Crystal Laine said...

Oh, Cathy, that's so cool that you liked them and remember specific ones.

Yes, I agree that paper dolls are not only difficult to find but aren't "as good" as in the old days. I did buy a book of American Girls' paper dolls and each month I look at the ones in my Home Companion magazine. Maybe you should subscribe to HC so you can get the paper dolls by Mary Engelbreit? (LOL) Here's a link:

But of all the nostalgia for me, paper dolls are my favorite. I used to play paper dolls with my best friend and cousin, Mary Beth.

Sheryl said...

I love your paper doll :-) I can't remember really playing with paper dolls, but I definitely had a very active imagination. I was always directing my play time with friends to act out stories. I remember playing characters from "Partridge Family," "Wild Wild West," and "Bonanza." :-)

And I think our imaginations as children have quite a bit to do with our desires as an adult to be writers. Some people leave those "make-believe" stories behind in childhood. Writers are those that don't want to leave the stories behind. :-)


Delia said...

I used to love paper dolls! I got some for my girls a while back, but like ya'll already said, they just weren't made like they used to be. And they just didn't hold the magic for my girls the way they did for me when I was a kid.