After All These Years Say Goodbye to Tiny Tears

On a shelf in my closet hidden in a white plastic bag are my dolls.  They’ve been in that bag on that shelf for seventeen years.  Before that, they were on another shelf in another closet for twelve years.  Before that?  Well, who knows.  They were probably in a box or bag in a closet somewhere else.

As a child I didn’t have many dolls, so I learned to take care of the ones I received and that’s why they’ve lasted fifty years or more. 

My big baby doll is made of hard plastic and has blue eyes that open and close and pouty red lips.  I have a vague recollection of my mother buying her for me after a doctor’s appointment when I must have been three or four years old.  I straddled the guard rail on my crib and was rocking back and forth showing off for my brothers when I fell and broke my collar bone.  I think that’s how the big baby doll came to be in my possession.  She’s pretty sturdy and still has all of her plastic hair.

When I was five we spent a year in Fresno, California.  My parents, so the story goes, were broke and had to borrow money or (horrors!) use a credit card to buy Christmas gifts for four children all under the age of eight.  I got a Tiny Tears doll.  More hard plastic, but she had reddish brown hair and eyes that open and close.  She’s still wearing the pink dress she came in, but it hasn’t held up too well and neither has she.  She looks like an old woman with a bad skin condition.

By age six, we had moved to Illinois.  I wanted a Thumbelina doll in the worst way.  I’d seen it advertised on television and I remember dragging my mother away from the kitchen to show her the commercial.  I had to have that doll.  Santa Claus came through for me, too, because there she was on Christmas morning.  She was soft and had straw blond hair and a knob on her back that when turned made her head wobble.  Thumbelina was my favorite doll.  Still is.  She came dressed in a little white blouse and blue overalls.  My mother or grandmother must have made some other doll clothes because that’s what she’s currently wearing, although I still have her original outfit.

Last but not least, when I was in junior high, I got a Barbie doll.  Sort of.  What I actually got was a Francie doll.  My husband is amazed that I still have the box she came in, but I pointed out that I had to have some place to store her shoes.  All of my friends had Barbie dolls at a much younger age.  I was allowed to play with them, but I wasn’t allowed to own them.  They were too mature, probably because they had boobs and boyfriends.  My mother thought they were vulgar.  Until she had “the talk” with me and I was old enough to understand certain things about the human reproductive cycle, anything in the realm of the Barbie-doll world was forbidden.  By the time I got Francie, I’d pretty much lost interest in dolls.  I don’t know where all her shoes came from.  A variety pack on sale would be my guess.

Along with other downsizing/moving decisions I have to make, I have to decide what to do with these dolls.  I was never that attached to the big baby doll, so she’s easy to part with.  I give her to a friend’s little girl who likes dolls. 

I cuddle Thumbelina who is the size and feel of a newborn.  She’s not going anywhere.  Instead I tuck her into a new, smaller plastic bag along with a few of her outfits. 

Francie is small and in her original box, so I decide she can keep Thumbelina company.

Poor Tiny Tears.  She isn’t going to make the cut.  She’s pretty pathetic and I can’t imagine anyone wanting her.  Her dress is full of holes, her hair’s a mess, and her eyes are cloudy, but you never know.  Some garage saler might pick her up and take her home.  She might find a place to call home on a shelf in someone else’s closet.

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  1. Dani

    I remember you showing me these dolls when I was younger and not really believing they were toys, although I did like Francie. My baby dolls were all so much more animated and softer.

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