Sunday, March 15, 2015

New Morning / Tree Change Dolls / My Rebel / Panda and the red horse

With gratitude to a distant cousin in Norway who posted this on her Facebook page. As a child, I had no interest in dolls. I played with my stuffed bears and lambs and my collection of horses. In 1959, I was just old enough to avoid being given a Barbie doll as a gift, but I remember both of my sisters having Barbie dolls. I'd love to see Barbie dolls transformed in this way. A Tree Change Doll would feel at home with my stuffed animals and my collection of horses.

Added thoughts: Thank you, Sabine, for giving me a different perspective on Barbie dolls. As someone who didn't play with dolls, I never understood what playing with dolls was all about, much less Barbie dolls. Not playing with dolls was one way that I rebelled against my mother from an early age. I have a vivid memory of my mother bringing me to a toy store and showing me shelves of dolls behind glass and suggesting that I choose one. I remember how angry I felt towards her that day. I refused to choose a doll.  Now I'm wondering what that was all about. She loved her dolls and wanted me to love a doll, too, but dolls were not soft and comforting like my stuffed animals. I felt alienated from dolls.

While my sisters were playing with Barbie dolls, I was watching American Bandstand on television and listening to rock and roll music and dreaming of having a boyfriend who was a rebel who would "love me tenderly and always treat me good." My dreams were not of being a mother or a successful woman or even of being married, for that matter.  All I wanted was a boyfriend who loved me.  That would be enough.  I didn't love myself.  I could love him. Both of my sisters dreamed of being mothers, and one of them became a mother. Both of them became successful professional women, unlike me.

I finally love myself, regardless. We've all come a long way.

Here's my mother in Minnesota on a snowy day with one of the dolls she so loved:

Here is my mother a few years later:

Here I am with my father and Panda. Not sure if that is my first or second Panda. The first one was lost, and the story is that I was inconsolable. My father understood that I would not stop crying unless Panda was found, and he went out and bought another Panda for me. For that I am deeply grateful.

I remember, too, how much I loved my red horse. He, too, was lost but was not replaced. I remember thinking about him for some time after he disappeared. I missed him.                            

Something weird is going on here.  I can't fix the margins or move things around the way I would like.

Oh well. I should be studying for the final examination right now. Come to think of it, I still do have my red horse. I can still feel what it felt like to hold him. I felt brave and powerful, loved and loving, because of Panda and my red horse.


Sabine said...

I remember some Swedish girls who were friends of my daughter at around age 7-9 and they had what we jokingly referred to as the feminist barbies, flat feet, plain-ish faces etc. The girls all played with the lot, "real" and Swedish, whatever version. It was their imagination that mattered and there were days when these dolls were submarine explorers, archeologists, fairies or even just mums and kids. They all got haircuts eventually and I still have a basket of rather short haired barbies in the attic for visitors.

am said...

So true about imagination, and wonderful about the short-haired barbies in the attic for visitors!

dritanje said...

It's amazing how potent some of those childhood companions were. I didn't play with dolls either - I played with my books, I would take them out of the bookcase, take off their paper covers, admire their hard covers and so on. Needless to say, I still love books. Such sweet pictures of you and your mother, when young

am said...

dritanje -- Thank you for reminding me of how important books were to me, along with Panda and my red horse.

On my mother's side, we have ancestors in Scotland. I am in process of trying to find out their names.