When I was a very young girl, an aunt gave me a Ginny Doll. The pre Barbie doll with out all the curves and bling. She was a simple doll with a basic body, to dress in lovely little outfits and pretend. Pretend she was having dinner with a friend. Pretend she was at college. Pretend she was at a party or wedding. Without realizing it as a small child, mostly it was all about the basics of just living.
I was given the doll so that when I visited my cousin who of course had one, we could spend time playing together. We set up our “apartments” on a throw rug in the study of her grandmother’s, my aunt, house. She had all the new trappings. The wooden wardrobe. The latest fashions purchased on each shopping trip to town. She had the little dishes also purchased along with all the other accessories available at the time. Just like Barbie in later years, it was a very materialistic world for the child living through the doll.
In contrast to my cousin, I did not have all the trappings. Well at least not store bought ones and it wasn’t until recently when I pulled the box off the shelf deciding at long last to sell the contents that I discovered just what effort I put forth to create a world for my doll as similar as possible to what my cousin had for hers. I made a lot of the clothing. I created little dishes out of bottle tops. Painted those with paint I must have found somewhere among my Dad’s things. I made little coat hangers out of cardboard. Crude, yes however, now very endearing and almost awe striking that a child would create the essentials to life. The ingenious use of the materials. The ability at such a young age for adaptation of those materials.
She was well read as well. Among the things I created were little books. Hand printed with crooked lines and sewn to hold the pages together. She had records with the names of popular songs of the day. Necklaces and bracelets made of little beads.
I don’t recall anyone ever ooohing or ahhing over my creations. What I recall is somewhat being ashamed that those were not store bought or shiny new. That the clothing was clumsily made by the hands of a seven year old. The table cloth for the table created out of a thank you note box, simply cut decoratively with pinking shears while my cousin’s was perfectly stitched and edged.
There simply wasn’t time for anyone to consider my creations which stayed tucked in the little suit case the doll called home. Too much hard work for my parents. Too much unrest. Yet now I want to believe perhaps if there had been time, it all may have been impressive as it is to me now. Even though I was that little girl who created all those wonderfully crude dresses, hangers, dishes books and more, I am impressed.
I am impressed, while also wondering if someone had noticed, someone had believed so strongly in my abilities that maybe life would have taken a different path. Maybe there would not have been so many rocks on the path. After all encouragement at a young age goes a long, long way.
As it goes, one out grows dolls and such focusing on more age appropriate things. My cousin moved away. Her Mother marryied a wealthy man in another city far away. It was a marriage of convenience I guess it could be called yet both my cousin and her mother were well provided. I remember hearing from her in my teenage years that she had been given a car for her sixteenth birthday. I still road the school bus and was making my clothing as I did for the doll. We lost touch after that. Her world becoming far different then mine. And we have remained out of touch for the same reason.
Looking back now, the materialistic influence in those young years created two very different women. The one who had all store bought, shiny new stuff probably is still living those standards. Perhaps not seeing the creative side, the fulfilling side or the rewarding side of life. Maybe not even seeing a sunset for the beauty of nature or the amazing talent of a bird to build a nest. Or feeling peace in the heart.
So I will keep the my little creations while releasing the doll to someone who will enjoy her value in their collection. Where she can shine in someone’s heart again. The little girl, now a wise woman of many years will remain grateful for the creativity inspired, then and now. That vein of creativity that began flowing at a young age brought about many accomplishments in life. Some oohed over, some not. All rewarding. All worthwhile. All offering a bit of gratitude for the abilities given.