Understanding More of It

I have come to a few more understandings of what is going on between me and my doll life.  I was yet again playing around a bit, at least picking one up and turning it over in my hand.  Things that I so enjoy about a doll, such as the weight and feel, were making me smile.  I pushed myself to think about what would I really like now in a doll? 

I have both child and adult dolls.  I have both modern and antique.  As I was thinking of my upcoming trip this Autumn, I was playing around with the idea of a travel companion and wouldn’t it be fun to create a traveling wardrobe?  Well of course this would mean a small doll and not anything too fragile or cumbersome to get through all the airports.  Perhaps 12 inches and under.  As I continued to think about which doll would be fun to work with, I felt a few pangs of hesitations.  A child doll.

I have been grieving over the last few years at the loss of being in the lives of my family.  Oh, we still keep in contact and there isn’t any discord.  It’s the long distance and the often very long periods between contacting each other.  My daughter does not keep me informed of her life unless I ask, she gives it all to Facebook.  It hurts me deeply that strangers know more about my daughter’s life than I do.  My grandchildren are growing up and two of them will not remember much of me.  And that is a reason it makes it difficult to reach for a child doll.  I felt that connection strongly without understanding why I sat my beloved schoenhut doll down and did not pick her up again.  She reminded me of my granddaughter.  Now of course you would think that would be a wonderful thing, but it is a touchy emotion for me.  I have a terrible habit of pushing difficult emotions away as far as I can.

As I age, I feel further away from children.  Child’s play is a push to remembering my own childhood, my daughter’s childhood and now my grandchildren’s.    I cannot replace it with a doll, it only serves to make me aware of the losses.  Moving to Scotland has been the best thing I could have done, but it was at a tremendous emotional cost.

I thought I would write this out before I push it away.  All of my dolls are too filled with memories of something I cannot touch without some degree of sadness.  It must have been why they sat and stared and I could no longer bear to see them being ignored because I could not deal with the longing for my own family.

I think the best thing for me to do, is chose one or two that I know will never be a part of my life again and sell them to finance a new doll.  It is a bit of a last hope, but perhaps something new and not connected to my past will allow me to re-explore my doll life.  I think an adult companion would be best.

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Removed in More Ways Than One

Well, here we are, in Port Glasgow.  A new flat we have just settled in, and so much more room to breath in than our last place.  We live on a quiet street and there’s little traffic on it. 

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We are quite close to the shops, a huge Tesco (much like a Walmart in America) and the usual handful of local shops.  We remain on the River Clyde, only now we are much closer to the outlet to the sea.   So we are looking forward to what this will bring us.

One of the reasons for moving was to gain more flat space, so we searched for a two bedroom, where one could be converted into a dolly/sewing room.  Of course it soon was called a study, so that husband could perhaps set up a table and work on puzzles.  We’ve put our bookcases in there and there is a lovely fireplace to sit by and read or knit.  It has french glass doors and a large window to the back garden where we saw roses and flowers still in bloom when we  first saw it in September.

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My sewing table fits nicely under the window.

The room is not finished yet, there are swords to be hung up yet, and the pictures on the fireplace too.  And I was in the middle of ironing when I took the photo, so excuse the clothes on the rocker.  What is more important, is that this is the first time in well over a year that I have had my dolls out at all.  We had to buy some necessity furniture first, so the next piece in the plan is a storage unit against the longest wall opposite of the fireplace that will be just for dolls, their stuff and sewing/art supplies.  Hopefully they will not be sitting precariously on top of the bookcases too long.

The rush of emotions to see them out again was not easy to deal with.  You would think I was thrilled and full of bouncing joy, but no.  I was not.  I felt a horrible guilt and sadness.  I had done the most unthinkable thing I had never thought I would do, I had put them in boxes and stopped playing.  Piper Maris was the only doll that stayed out and she got one dress out of me and that was that.  She sat in a chair on my desk and we simply looked at each other periodically.  What happened to take this all away?

Illness and depression.  Lack of space.  A new country to get use to.  Separation from loved ones.  This and that, and the other.  I delved deeply into Second Life, because it was so easy to get lost in creating there.  I didn’t have to find fabric or go out and take photo’s and make stories…it was so much easier to create a virtual doll and dress her and make dollhouses for her at the whim of the moment.  No hunting for supplies, no make-do’s with  doll items or clothing.  The appalling lack of dolls in the UK is a subject that can get me worked up into a rant.  But of all the things that came to be or what faded away still leaves me now with my beloved dolls sitting on a bookcase and what shall I do about it?

Chatty Cathy Arrives

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:

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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.

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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.

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It was a challenge to find a cutting place and I worried about cutting into hair or clothing.  But I managed to free her.

SAM_4246 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.

SAM_4252 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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

Musing

I wonder sometimes about my addictions.  How deep or serious they might be, or whether in this world of information overload they are addictions at all, but perhaps it is more about being ever on the cusp of overdoing things in sheer greediness.  And of course trying to figure out just what is the truth behind the need?

At this particular moment in our married lives, we are saving for our retirement home.  Nothing fancy, but rather small and paid for in full, no mortgage to worry over.  We have enough saved for the house now, but nothing more than that, meaning we could not retire completely, pensions are still a few years out of reach.  The goal was to retire early, even if only by a few years, and so that is the real need right now, saving every extra penny we can.  The more pennies, the sooner we retire.  This affects us both in the needs department, from simple to complex wants.  Husband wants to travel more, so he plots trips that cost money.  I want dolls, fabrics, yarns, toys, so I plot how to get the cheapest version possible.  Neither of us are being realistic and most of the time abandon our desires to being practical and saving…..heaving big petulant sighs while doing it.

Once in awhile I get wickedly caught up in a pursuit where I try and convince myself of all the reasons I should buy and have it.  Most are fairly legit, like having wanted it in the past, or the price is so low it would be foolish not to indulge, or that it rarely comes to the country I live in.  Addictions are all about justifying a “want”, perceived as a “need” and the lengths we are willing to go to get it.  The thrill is in the anticipation and the moment of possession.  I can feel this way about a bottle of good scotch or a doll.  I never feel this way about frying pans or orange juice.  It is what it is.

Is it an addiction when I plot a way to hide the purchase from my husband or plan a tearful apology that I didn’t know what came over me, but my need for the bottle or the doll was too much for me to resist?  I have yet to feel a need to hide the purchase of a frying pan or beg for a bottle of orange juice…just this one time, I promise.  This is a musing post….probably more amusing than musing, but there you have it. It’s the lead in to my pending confession.

I sat in utter horrific panic all of yesterday morning knowing I had bid on a doll that I should not have without talking it over with husband first.  Why didn’t I just tell him of my interest and ask if he minded?  Was it the recent lectures on the ever tight budget?  Was it the guilt in knowing I put all my dolls in a box to be with Rosey alone, and here I clicked on an auction button like a fickle lover enticed by something new?  Was I under the spell of dolly addiction once again?  As my mind rushed over all possible conclusions of winning the auction (not a popular doll being in my favour, and dang, the price was so cheap! Oh, and I have not bought a doll in a whole YEAR!!!!) I thought about the payment.  Ouch.  Cheap by my knowledge of the current price ranges expected for the doll, but expensive when compared to the need.  Did I need this doll?  Am I willing to sell someone I already have to replace them with this one?  I am willing to keep shuffling owned dolls to appease the desire for new?  Every time I bring in a new doll, the whole dynamic shifts, whether it affects the relationships I already have with the dolls, or in the pursuit of a different doll direction.  Addiction glosses over the drawbacks, the known problems, the financial distress.

More importantly, is my doll and expensive scotch addictions going to delay or even prevent me from having my own home someday?  And why not start dealing with the habit?  I lost the auction by £1.  Yep, I could have gotten caught up in the bidding war.  But I felt such a rush of relief that I sat back in my chair feeling the most enormous sense of guilt.  My husband across from me (at our double desks) unaware of my near treachery of spending the grocery money on a doll and Rosey, who is looking at me with the most fantastic eyes she has ever had and I come down to earth again and muse…..what is this all about?

It was as though Rosey took up where Evie left off…giving me that look and saying, “If you need another doll, take one out of the box, or better yet…PLAY WITH ME!”.  Annoyingly logical.  Blatantly obvious. 

Dolly Love

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There are moments in time, when my heart will capture the presence of my companion. Here, I went into the bedroom to fetch something and the sun was peeking through the drapes from across the room and I stopped and took it all in.  Rosey was peeking over the top of her comforter letting me know she had no desire to get up quite yet.  I nodded without a word spoken and went back to my housekeeping chore.  I felt connected to her through an unexpected sunlit moment.

Overdue Update

I have been ill.  Not the easy, get over it kind.  Hoping to be in a better place in my heart and mind in the coming days.  On the mend with new medication.

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Being ill hasn’t helped me be a better knitter.  Gads this thing was certainly creative but it did not suit Rosey at all.  What was I thinking?

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It suited my Sasha much better, so I quickly knitted up a skirt has she had nothing to wear with the sweater.  I barely made it as I was running out of yarn.  Working with her, I admired as I always do, the fine quality of Sasha’s and the beauty of their bodies.  I love absolutely everything about them except one, I dislike the eyes.  The eyes have always bothered me.  They are lifeless to me.  If only this Sasha had glass eyes, I think she would easily be a favourite.

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I have been going through new-dolly withdrawals.  I really wish it would stop.  I find myself searching endlessly for a doll and even though I rarely find one that catches my attention, I still now and then wonder if it is time to truly let completely go of this habit.  All I have to do is ask myself what would a new doll bring me that I haven’t already got in some form?  I have babies, children and adults, I have small and medium size, I have bears and trolls, I have characters, I have antique and modern, vinyl, resin, china, bisque and wood.  Anything else would be more of the same, just different sizes I suppose.  I think I am grasping at something to spark an inspiration.  New dolls always bring new promises.

I recently bid on a handful of dolls that were dirt cheap and needed TLC and I lost on all of them, two recent ones in the very last seconds!  One by one, I lost.  I wasn’t upset, as I really didn’t need any of them. it just made it feel so much more out of reach.

I still am not playing with the ones I already have, I merely look at them and occasionally change their positions.  Is it because I am not feeling well that the malaise transfers to them?  All I have to do is ask myself seriously, what has this doll that is garnering attention online got that Rosey hasn’t…or any of the others for that matter? 

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I watch and listen and imagine the dolls talking and playing, but I feel as though I am just a spectator.  I can’t seem to harness the stories like I use to.  I often walk by wondering why, when I have all the time in the world to play, I don’t.

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Knitting Through the Sadness

I don’t always share on this blog the other things going on in my life, I like to keep this place my little haven.  I’ve had a rough couple of days and probably will be withdrawn for a few more.

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In the worst of it, I held Rosey like a baby.  She looked at me, comforted me throughout all the tears.  I took a photo to remember and share this incredible comfort she gave me.

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And in order to keep calm and carry on, I continue to knit and knit.  I really like this dress and how it is turning out, I can see my knitting improving and I am getting a better sense of fit for Rosey.  I am not sure on how to finish up the neckline, I was thinking a large pointed collar but may just finish the edges with an overlapping stitch.  I want to wait to see the dress completed.

I came close to handling my other dolls, but still refrained.  I particularly liked Peter Mikko’s smiling face and reached out for him, but pulled my hand back just as quickly.  I still don’t understand this weirdness and I continue to let it be whatever it is.