Thursday, 9 January 2014

Choosing to Write about Dolls and Not 'About Me'

When I was a child my favourite doll was a Tiny Tears doll. She drank water from a bottle and wet her nappy and I thought she was wonderful. Unfortunately I no longer have Tiny Tears. She is no more.

When I was a child, my parents decided to leave Australia for an extended trip to England. Tiny Tears couldn't come with us. She was packed into a box, and together with all our other belongings, she was put into storage. I thought I’d see her again one day. I never did.

While we were overseas, Australia had wild and stormy weather. It rained and rained and rained some more. As houses disappeared under rising water, everyone began to wish they lived in an ark. Of course the storage unit, where Tiny Tears was packed away, went under water too. Boxes and furniture were tossed this way and that in the fast moving water, and many things floated clean away. Of course I wasn’t there to see what happened. I'm using my imagination.

When the rain stopped and the water levels went down, the storage unit manager accessed the damage. He tried to recover as many items as possible and return them to their rightful owners. But the boxes were damaged. Labels had washed off. It was difficult to decide what belonged to who. I remember my parents receiving a small box of recovered belongings. But Tiny Tears wasn't in that box. No, she was never returned. Instead some strange masks from Papua New Guinea were given to us in her place. Did someone else receive Tiny Tears? Was she given to another family by mistake? Or did she float away never to be seen again?

I have never forgotten Tiny Tears. I don’t suppose I ever will. She was a good doll. My favourite.

“I’m writing a post about dolls," I say to my daughters. “What doll is your favourite? I could take some photos of them if you can find them.”

While they were looking for their favourite friends, I searched my computer files for some more doll pictures, like this one...

This is 4 year old Felicity with Esabel. Felicity loved her so much she almost wore her out. I had to sew up lots of holes in her soft cloth body. One day Felicity was sick, very sick. Poor Esabel ended up dirty and smelly. I picked her up very carefully by two fingers and deposited her in the garbage bin. "I'll buy you a new doll," I said. I came home from the shops with a brand new beautiful baby doll but Felicity didn't like her one little bit. No doll could replace Esabel. In the end I rescued Felicity's favourite doll from the garbage bin, washed her and returned her. Felicity was delighted. We still have Esabel. She's in a box in the garage. I wonder if Felicity remembers she's there. I wonder if she wants her back.

"I no longer have my favourite doll," says Imogen. "She was the doll with the rainbow-coloured hair, the one we got from Vinnies."

"What happened to her?" I ask.

"She ended up back at Vinnies."

Imogen made the little mermaid doll she's holding. It was Gemma-Rose's favourite doll for a time.

"What's the mermaid's name?" I ask Gemma-Rose.

"She doesn't have one. Her name keeps changing. She has a different name for every game."

Felicity also made Gemma-Rose a doll. Actually she made her lots of dolls. This one was a favourite for a time. She is called Hannah Edith and was sewn entirely by hand.

Gemma-Rose's current favourite doll is long-legged Mary Katherine. Sophie made her as a Christmas present.

Baby Charlotte is Charlotte's favourite doll. I made a whole wardrobe of clothes to go with this doll, and gave them to Charlotte as a Christmas present, many years ago. I can still remember how excited she was when she saw her gift.

Sophie's favourite doll is very similar to Charlotte's. She wanted a doll just like her big sister's. Sophie called her doll Baby Junior. She probably wanted to call the doll Baby Charlotte but a big sister probably protested. There's another picture of this doll at the top of this post. The doll hasn't changed but Sophie has!

Even Duncan has a favourite doll. Of course his is called Wallace.

And my husband Andy has one too. Imogen and Charlotte knitted this doll for him as a graduation present when he completed his Masters of Teaching degree. They were still finishing the doll while we were driving to the graduation ceremony. Andy was unaware of all the work that was going on in the back of the van. By the time we arrived back home, the doll was finished. The girls presented it to Andy who was delighted with his unexpected gift.

Here's a few more photos of dolls I found:

So I have come to the end of my post. I wasn't supposed to write about dolls. I was given orders to write an 'About Me' post, but dolls are far more interesting, don't you agree?

Now I hope you'll stop and tell us about your favourite doll. What's its name? Do you still have it? And why is it so special?


  1. I had a doll named Laura for a long time during childhood. I named it Laura in revenge for Laura from the little House books having named her doll Charlotte (my name). I sewed clothes for her and she slept in a crate by my bed. I wonder what happened to her - moving several times have "disappeared" many old items. Althoug I still have my favourite teddy bear. His hair (fleece, wool ... ) is worn off, he has big, bald spots, and he never got a name. But I loved him and cryed a long time when I forgot him in the local supermarket. He was re-found after a year - what a joy. My sister spilled lotion on him, so he's a bit sticky still.

  2. Uglemor,

    I loved reading your story about your doll Laura. Your sticky, bald bear sounds wonderful too. It's funny how children keep loving their toys even when they look so worn out. Old friends can't be replaced.

    Thank you so much for stopping by our new blog!

  3. I LOVED dolls as a child! My favorite was a little girl doll I called "Babs," but I was also quite fond of my Tiny Tears. I actually had 2 Tiny Tears - one with painted on hair, and one with fuzzy hair. I decided the more "bald" one was a boy, and that the two were twins. The boy, Tiny, lost one of his arms and I decided he was my poor little one armed child, and loved him all the more. I recently looked online at Tiny Tears dolls, and realized (perhaps) why I loved them. I think they had a particularly attractive, classic baby doll face. I wish I still had mine! And Babs as well (can't even remember now what she looked like). I re-live the doll days now through my 7 and 3 year old granddaughters.... ah, such fun :)!

    1. Nancy,

      It was your Tiny Tears story on FB that started me thinking about dolls. I actually had a look at some old dolls online too, and spent some time trying to decide which one looked like my Tiny Tears. Did I see there is a modern version?

      Attractive, classic faces... Yes! We have a couple of modern Baby Born dolls. I just can't understand why they are so popular Their faces aren't attractive at all in my opinion. One of ours has purplish eyes. Really spooky!

      Oh I can just imagine the fun you're having with your granddaughters!