Chatty Cathy arrived yesterday and I was appalled. Although the seller had the word dolls in her user name, she apparently didn’t think to use a box to send a vintage doll in.
She arrived like this:
I am sure I am being over sensitive, but this mummification of a beloved childhood doll disturbed me. My thoughts about her instantly were negative. Not only were there issues of possible damage, the very sight of her like this made me think she was dead.
I couldn’t open the package for about an hour. I felt that if she was damaged, it would be another Chatty Cathy trauma. Way too much emotion wrapped up like a mummy.
Finally, I took a deep breath and approached the brown thing. A pupa? A mummy? I felt like I was about to dissect something gory. No doll could have survived this treatment.
This was this was the only outward damage I found, a rip and black scuff make on her white shoe. I still wasn’t sure about the inward damage. She has a hard plastic body, which is known to crack and split. Tossed about in postal handling, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
It was a challenge to find a cutting place and I worried about cutting into hair or clothing. But I managed to free her.
Her first photo….I think I was stunned. There she was, this icon of my childhood, this first love of mine. Memories came rushing back in full force and my heart did do a couple of flip flops. My curiosity kept needling me, just what was it about her? Was it the looks? The size? The demise that kept this doll so embedded in my psyche? As an adult, I look at her and this she is not particularly attractive. She’s cute in a vintage doll sort of way. I always liked her knobby knees and sweet hands, even as a child. She was the first doll I received that was not a baby with bent arms and legs, and I remember how thrilled I was about her being able to stand like a real person. I remember her talking, but I don’t remember that being anything important at the time. I seem to remember that her being more like a little girl than a baby and therefor a companion to me as an only child was probably the depth of it. I was about 6-7 years old I think when I got her, so my reasoning at the time was not analysed. lol.
My initial expectations were none. Really. I thought, I would buy her and get it out of my system. Put it to rest, so to speak. I stood her next to my computer and periodically looked at her. Sometimes I reached out and grabbed her very solid leg or squished her soft face, as the bridge of the nose was a bit pushed in. I honestly didn’t know what to think at first, something was so odd about having her here, present in front of me and something sort of kept pulling at me. It was like I could not leave her alone but I didn’t want to touch her either.
I kept asking myself, what am I going to do with her? This started all the fault finding I could. Well, I had to admit she survived the mummification and she was in remarkable condition for being nearly as old as I am. I checked her hair, she had no odours at all. As I checked, I pulled out some of the flattened curls thinking, wow, these curls look original. No cut marks, no empty plugs.
I think it was this moment that I first warmed to her. It was the look of a small child and the hair being more rounded suddenly tugged at me.
She looked so expectant, so hopeful that I would like her. I melted a bit. Then I heard a small voice say “don’t you recognise me?” Did I? I wasn’t sure. Was I blocking it? I kept telling myself I could not step back into the past, but I think the past was stepping up to me.
Each glance at her now was becoming more affectionate. I admired her sweetness, her proportions, her overall child like qualities. I kept seeing a smile, a coaxing on her part, like a small child who can make the grumpiest man smile. I caught myself smiling. I think this might be something here I thought. She hasn’t the face of a magnificent Zwergnase, she is not at all pose-able like a Schoenhut, she is not in the slightest my ideal of a doll, but here she was smiling at me and needing me. That’s it! I was struck by the doll’s need of me rather my selfish needs of it.
This morning, I introduced Rosey to her. I have nagging experiences of my old Evie hating every doll I brought into the house. Rosey didn’t mind at all. She didn’t feel the slightest hesitation to make friends even though Chatty Cathy towered over her.
How remarkable….blue eyes, teeth…..I see a trend here. lol. All in all, I think I like this new situation and I am curious as to how it will all be. I am already thinking of stuffing her head to push her eyes into alignment and a nice hair wash and conditioning might be in order. Oh, I forgot to mention that her ring and talking string is missing, which is odd, because I don’t think she was played with much. Perhaps it snapped off and the child who had her wanted another one or grew bored of her. It’s not of any consequence to me, I hear her just fine without it.
And just for fun…a couple of photo’s my mother sent me of an early doll…..about 1958 I think:
My mother, me and the doll I played a lot with but I do not remember her name. I kept her and another similar one, my daughter played with them too. But they were eventually tossed in a clear out for a move. How sad is that now? Sigh.