As touchstones to the past, dolls validate childhood, a span of years that often seem like a fragmented moments in time. With their life-like faces, blemished complexions, and snarled hair, childhood dolls hold sway with a magical power that rarely wanes, and often grows.
From this charming anthology featuring more than 60 reminiscences, readers will learn that dolls can make––or break––friendships. Dolls are enjoyed alone or with a friend; they fuel creativity and imagination. Dolls teach sharing, nurturing, and loyalty; they assuage loneliness and hurt feelings; they calm fears and keep secrets. Dolls teach values and lessons––to adults as well as children. Dolls share adventures with their owners, and without them. When one girl outgrew her favorite doll but kept it on her bed, her friends repeatedly “dollnapped” it. For years, the doll showed up at unlikely events.
Separately, two girls brought a treasured doll with them to America when they fled Nazi Europe with their family. Another girl lost her doll to that war. One girl disowned the doll she received for Christmas, while the same type doll was yearned for by others. More than one doll met an untimely fate. A childhood doll softened a poignant reunion between two sisters after a rift had kept them apart for several years. One woman became reunited with a childhood doll through a serendipitous circumstance.
It’s not surprising that a doll representing the world’s sweetheart, Shirley Temple, was highly desired by several girls. Even people who have no knowledge of dolls can identify a Shirley Temple by her dimpled cheeks and perfect blonde ringlets. Oddly, no one offered memories about Barbie Millicent Roberts, the buxom blonde who turned 50 this year and is still as nubile as Lolita. Priced at three dollars in 1959, the doll world had not seen anything like the fashionable Barbie.
In the vignettes revealed here, not all dolls are pretty––except in the eyes of the beholder. Not all dolls were wanted; some were disappointing; not all became favorites, but each is memorable.
All royalties go to Down Syndrome Association of Northern Virginia.