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Welcome to the world of the Vincent D'Onofrio obsessed - and a bit of real life thrown in.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Toy Story

Drowsey Monkey ( has posted a sort of a meme for people to publish their teddy bear/soft toy/doll stories in their blogs. Well, here is my tale of two dolls.

I was quite small when I got a doll like the girl doll on the left for Christmas.

I called her Topsy, after the little black girl in the story who "growed and growed". She said "Mama" when you tipped her up. I adored her.
I have no idea what she was dressed in. Obviously the first thing I did was undress her, and I never saw her clothes again. The theory was that they were thrown out with the wrapping paper. Over time, with lots of play, she lost one set of eyelashes, too.
Several years later, fashions had moved on. I wanted a bride doll. Beyond my wildest dreams, a "teenage" doll with rooted, stylable hair, arrived for my birthday. I must have been 7. She had nail varnish on her fingers and toes, and she wore high heels.
Her shoes were kept on with elastic, and as it began to perish, I found a pair of pink plastic high-heeled mules for her.

I don't really know what happened to the dolls, but my mother did give quite a few things to the grandchildren of a workmate, who did not have much. Our wind-up gramophone with all our very old 78s was a victim to her generosity, and I think the dolls probably went the same way.
Fast forward to the 1990s. I was visiting Rochester in Kent, a town with a strong Dickens connection. The High Street is full of antique shops. There in the window of one was a bride doll just like mine. But look - she's wearing pink plastic mules. She was MY doll - and she was on sale for £35. I asked where she had come from, but they appeared to have no record (oh really?) so I was stumped. Later, I wished I'd bought her back.
The next year, I went for another visit to the town. ( I was trying to find the courage to climb the medieval castle, but as I hate heights, especially those reached by open stone stairs and spiral staircases, I have never actually made it up there.)

In the same shop, in a cabinet inside, was a black doll dressed in a sailor suit. It was obviously the wrong costume for the doll, and to my eyes, she was clearly a girl. There was the missing row of eyelashes. She was my Topsy. This one, however, was on sale for £90.
I sometimes wonder if I should go back and see if they still have my dolls, all these years on, and buy them back, but as I have had to rehome my bisque reproduction antique dolls because of lack of space, it would be a foolish thing to do.


judith said...

that was interesting about your dolls. i still have one of my dolls ( my nieces got the others). i got her the xmas my father died, my sixth birthday (xmas day). i called her heather and i loved her. i also have a small funny-looking teddy-bear that had been my dads, i called it doreen, don't ask me why i have no idea!! thanks for the post it brought back many memorys.

SnarkAngel said...

Very interesting that you have seen BOTH dolls for sale. I, personally, probably would have taken it as a "sign" that they were trying to make their way back to me, and therefore probably would have bought them, whether the memory of them was enough or not. But then, I tend to be somewhat foolish and sentimental about such things. If only there was a "Vincent" or "Bobby Goren" doll. Hee.

Anonymous said...

My (childhood)teddy is completely bald, and has one eye out of it's socket, but I still have him.

My (adult) 'teddy' is called Vincent D'Onofrio, and yes Snarkangel, there should be life-sized replicas available.

Goddessdster said...

I have my father's teddy bear still, but lost my old dolls to Hurricane Katrina. I agree with Snarkangel, I don't know that I could have resisted the urge to buy back those dolls. But now - like you - I would only be wondering where to put them.

I love the castle pictures. Of course, I am always slightly disappointed there aren't any dragons in them...

JoJo said...

My mom was like yours, if you didn't have your hands actually on the toy, it would be given away. Seriously. The only things I have from my youth, toy-wise, are things I was able to keep her from giving away.

Music Wench said...

I'd say go buy them. I regret getting rid of a lot of things I used to have as a child.

I was never into dolls for some reason - Barbies and Kiddles (I think that's what they were called but heck, it was back in the sixties) I played with a lot but not other dolls. I did have an old rabbit I called 'rabbit-san' (not a very imaginative kid) and kept it until I was 35 when I moved to the mainland and ended up throwing it away. It was old, worn with flattened ears and I couldn't justify shipping it with all the other things I had, including the Barbies. Too bad, since I could have made a fortune on eBay selling Barbies and accessories. Mine were in excellent shape and vintage Barbie items bring in some good money, apparently. Ah well, hindsight.

Busy Bear said...

We would love to have your story featured on our blog, Dear Teddy! Please come check it out!

~Busy Bear

Drowsey Monkey said...

I'm loving this! :)

I really enjoy all these stories. I find it funny how "well loved" some of them are, missing eyelashes and such, LOL.

Thanks for playing!

Drowsey Monkey said...

I should have added ... as for buying back the dolls, it is interesting how looking at childhood dolls, or having them around, can give one a feeling of connection to something. It's unexplainable.

Eliza said...

I don't have any of my dolls anymore..but I do still have my teddy from my babyhood..he's hard and scratchy but very well loved :-)

I too have a bear called Vincent that my son bought me for Christmas a couple of years ago..he's loved too!

The thing about getting back toys you had during your childhood is that they might not be quite how you remember them,and it would be a shame to tarnish such great memories

kris said...

omgosh! i can't believe you actually saw your childhood dolls..that is unreal.

as the mother of kids who have waaayyyy toooooo many stuffed toys and is always trying to get rid of something, ANYthing to save some space, i will tell you that i don't sneak things out, usually, and i never do if i know they love it. but yes, i will sometimes sneak things o/ that they never play w/. or, we'll do it together, that way they don't feel like i took something from them.

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