Monday, June 25, 2007
Baby Crissy Doll
Tonight a rare treasure resurfaced to remind me of a wonderful childhood memory. My friends had all recently acquired the Tuesday Taylor and Crissy dolls. They were similar to Barbie but larger. With Tuesday you had the option of turning her doll "scalp" (I know, sounds eww) to make her either blonde or brunette. Crissy had the auburn hair and you could change the length of her hair from a short bob style cut to Cher's 70's knee length long hair with the press of a button or a few short twists.
There was a new doll in town or at least none of my friends had this one particular doll. I had seen it on one of the very few toy commercials that aired in the mid 70's. Hard to believe in today's world there was a time toy commercials were a rarity. Maybe the commercials were not such a rarity. I might have thought so due to the very limited amount of time I watched TV when I was little. At that time there were four dolls in the running for the top most wanted/advertised dolls...Baby Alive, Crissy, Tuesday Taylor and Baby Crissy. Barbie was always a given no matter what year. Baby Crissy and Crissy were the same with one big difference, Crissy was a 20 something like Barbie and Baby Crissy was well, a baby doll. Baby Crissy was not just any baby doll. She was the image of a 8 - 10 month old baby. Most little girls had the little bitty baby dolls the size of a new born and had a generic baby doll look. Baby-A-Live looked like a baby almost a year old but smaller. Baby-A-Live could move her lips when you pushed her feeding spoon in her mouth after mixing her baby food. She was the baby of the next Mommy generation.
The beginning of summer was marked by the school carnival. There were cake walks, balloon tosses, bean bag tosses, and all sorts of hands on games. There was also a yard sale. Everyone would clean out their closets and pitch in. The day before the carnival we brought in our donations and volunteered to make signs. Mom made cakes and other baked goods as well as volunteered to work any booths they needed assistance with. She knew with three children in the school plus one to start the next year in kindergarten she would be there all day. We made signs all that afternoon and when we went home Mom baked all night. Mom had never seen a cake mix in her life at this point. She made everything from scratch.
While at the school making the signs I saw something in the yard sale area that I wanted so badly. It was a Baby Crissy Doll ! I was so eager to show my Mom! At that moment I was that anxious child everyone wanted to just be quiet already! Over and over again I said "Look MOM!! It's a real Baby Crissy Doll! Do you think they will sell it tomorrow?! Can we get it?! Can we buy it now?! Can we?!! Can we?!" She quieted me down by reminding me we were here to help and make the signs. If all went well maybe I would get a reward but that did not mean the doll. After her talk I remember thinking how wonderful it would be to have a parachute soldier. The kind with the plastic soldier tied to a plastic parachute. I was thrilled at the idea and made my signs look like rainbows. Mom reminded me people would need to read the signs from the road and words with so many colors might be hard to read. I opted for one color for each letter in the sign rather than four different colors for each and ever letter.
The next day was the school carnival. How my Mother managed to bake so many things in one night and keep us away from her baked goodies all morning is beyond me. We drove to the school and played games all day long. My older brother and I even helped man a few games ourselves. We were having such a great time we almost forgot about the cake walk. My older brother and I took turns doing the cake walk because we wanted one of the cakes our Mother made. There were a few times we were tending a booth and one of our Mother's cakes would be gone when we returned to the cake walk. I remember being the one to finally win a cake but by that time all of our Mother's cakes were gone so I choose a bunt cake.
I returned to the yard sale area where Mom was working and explained our sorrow in not getting one of her's. She laughed! At first all I could think of was how hard we tried all day long to win one of her cakes and she laughed? Then she explained it was all for the better so we could try someone else's cake. After all, we could have one of her cakes any time since we were her children.
After playing games all day for penny and nickel prizes which made our day, real potato sack races, three legged races and the flex arm hang (I won again and again), manning the booths now and then and trying to fit in the cake walk where we could, it was time for the carnival to end. We were all sad to see the end of the day but we were worn out too. Before we could go home we had to clean up the fair. Our Mother saw to it that we helped and it made us feel a little extra special to hang out "after the party was over." The ladies of the PTA and every other organization were thanking us by offering baked goods, toys and such but really, we were having a great time helping pack up everything and telling our Mother all the things we did and had seen all day long while she was stuck in the same place all day.
After packing up everything my Mother told my older brother and I to pick up that last box. We picked up the box and all I could do was sigh. The Baby Crissy Doll was in that box and I had forgotten all about her. At that moment I wanted to cry out "MOM!! Crissy is still here!!!" instead I thought of the wonderful day we had. When my brother asked where we should move the box Mom said "That box goes in our car." I was so excited I dropped my end of the small box and scooped Crissy up in my arms! She was half the size of me but it did not matter. Could I be dreaming? It would be ok if I was dreaming.
Being a Mom now myself I can only imagine my Mom was watching us well before she told us the destination for the box. She must have smiled from ear to ear when she saw me scoop up Baby Crissy.
Baby Crissy and I went everywhere together. I had pretend food for her and she pretended to use the potty since she was such a big girl. My Mother also made us matching goonies or night gowns as I now know most call them. One of my most cherished and memorized photos of myself was taken at Red Wing Park in Virginia on the swing set with Crissy in my lap. There was a sun burst on the corner of the Polaroid photo, the likes I had only seen in the movies. My hair was wind blown and she had a make shift dress I made when my Mother was teaching me to sew. I remember the sun burst, the autumn colors of her dress and the warm loving smile on my face that reflected exactly the perfect temperature of the warmth the sun beamed down on my face at that very moment.
What started this post? Snow White was looking for something and found Crissy in Oldest Daughter's bedroom closet. Poor old Crissy had seen better days. At first all Snow White saw was a very old doll in need of too much care. After I held Crissy in my arms for a few moments and told Snow White how much Crissy was loved by me as a child I was soon relinquished of my beloved doll. Snow White came out of her room with an umbrella stroller. I said "Oh my, Crissy has never seen the likes of this sort of stroller." In deed the last time Crissy saw a stroller it was a pram. Snow White wheeled her around the house then proclaimed her as her own. She even put Crissy in Bitty Baby's cradle. Tomorrow she plans to brush out her hair and re-do her nails.
I have to admit it was refreshing to hold my Crissy again. I had forgotten her and now she has come back as the wonderful treasure she was so many years ago. This time she has a new playmate.