I have loved dolls for as long as I can remember. My first and happiest memories are of playing with my first baby doll, Nancy. She wore the baby clothes that my mother let me have when my sister outgrew them. They fit Nancy perfectly and I had a little suitcase to keep them in. Nancy, at age 56, is in pretty bad shape. Her eyes don’t work anymore and her vinyl body is badly discolored from age, but I will never part with her.
There were many dolls over the years of all kinds, including Barbie. I was around for the original Barbie which was launched in 1959. She came in a black and white striped swimsuit and only one hairstyle, a ponytail. You could get blonde or black hair. I loved her more than anything. I loved getting new clothes for Christmas and my birthday. And of course, I had a Ken and even a Midge and her little sister, Skipper. How many of you remember Midge and Skipper? My sister and I made houses for our Barbies on our beds. We played for hours! Of course, I have Barbie and company to this day.
My doll collecting (as opposed to having dolls to play with) started when I was about ten years-old. I had a collection of dolls from different countries. They weren’t very expensive. I don’t even remember where I got them. But how I loved them! I dreamed of having an extensive doll collection when I grew up.
Then, the day came when I realized I was “too old” to play with dolls. I must have been 12 or 13, in Junior High School, the precise age when what everyone else thinks matters more than anything else in the world. When I look back on that now, I wish I had had self-confidence and self-love enough to not care about what anyone else thought. But, I didn’t. I was painfully shy and very insecure about who I was, and the dolls were lovingly packed up and relegated to a shelf in the closet.
Years passed. I graduated from college, got married, got a job and eventually had children: three daughters. More years passed and they got married and had children and now I have three granddaughters. I thank God for those daughters and granddaughters everyday for many reasons. The lessons they have taught me and the enrichment they have brought to my life can’t be measured. And it is because of them that dolls came back into my life.
When she was in high school, it was my my middle daughter who started giving me collectible dolls, the kind that just sit on a shelf. Next to American Girl dolls, I love bride dolls the most. I managed to collect quite a few collectible dolls. My husband even gave me some of them!
In 2010, my oldest granddaughter, Mylah was 5. My husband and I own an RV and we love to take the girls with us. One afternoon, Mylah was in the camper with me watching TV when an ad for American Girl dolls came on. Mylah’s face lit up. “I want an American Girl doll,” she said. “I think you’re a little too young,” I replied. “I think you have to be 8. If you still want one, when you’re 8, I’ll get you one.”
Mylah went back outside to play with some of the other children. It wasn’t long before she came excitedly into the camper. “Guess what, Gramma!” she exclaimed. “Christina says you don’t have to be 8 to get an American Girl doll. She’s 6 and she has one!” When we got home, Mylah poured over the American Girl doll catalog I had. She loved them all, but Julie was her favorite. I think because her bed has a beaded curtain around it, and she wanted the bed almost as much as she wanted the doll. On Christmas morning, my gift to Mylah was a brand new Julie doll. Her parents gave her the bed.
More than anything, I wanted to play American Girl dolls with Mylah. To do this, I needed a doll of my own. It seemed extravagant to buy a brand new one, so I turned to eBay. At that time, I knew very little about these wonderful dolls. Over the next couple of years, eBay became my main source of education about them.
At first, I just searched “American Girl dolls.” If you do that today, you will get more than 89,000 results. I don’t remember how many thousands of results I got in 2010, but I plodded through them nonetheless. Soon, I realized, I needed to search for a specific doll, so I looked for Kirsten, Molly and Samantha, mainly because there seemed to be a lot of them available. It wasn’t long before one particular Molly caught my attention. The seller had her seated under their Christmas tree and she was in her original “Meet Outfit.” I am a person who goes with my gut, and my gut said this Molly was the one. I don’t remember how much I paid (way less than for a new one), but I will never forget the day she arrived. It was like my own personal Christmas and it was love at first sight. Today, I own 10 American Girl dolls, but there will always be a special place in my heart for this used Molly purchased on eBay.
I did get to play with Mylah and her American Girl doll on Christmas Day. We have had many “American Girl doll festivals” (as we like to call them) since. We get out all of our dolls and have tea parties, Halloween parties, or go to the movies, put on plays, go to school, have skating and swimming parties, and anything else the girls’ imaginations allow. In the early days, we only had a couple dolls. Mylah now has two American Girl dolls (Julie and Ivy) and her younger sister has two (Kanani and McKenna). We have spent countless hours playing together. The bonding and memories formed as a result are far exceed any money invested in the dolls.
My middle daughter, who never was that into dolls as a kid, has also fallen in love with American Girl dolls. She is 32 and has 7 dolls of her own (Felicity and Elizabeth, Marie-Grace and Cecile, Addy, Rebecca, and an American Girl Today) . She lives 3 hours away. But, when she can, she brings her dolls and joins in the festival, as well.
Over the ensuing months (and years), my hope is that this blog will bring women together who love and collect American Girl dolls. I want to hear your stories. I would love to hear the stories of how the dolls have brought you closer to your children and grandchildren. I want to know why you love and collect these amazing dolls. Which dolls do you have and why? How did you acquire them? Were they a gift? Did you buy them from American Girl or on eBay? How big is your collection? And anything else I haven’t even thought of. If it has to do with American Girl dolls, I want to hear it.
I plan to share more of my stories, photos of my collection, my experiences on eBay, facts and information about the dolls and anything else that comes up and is relevant. I hope you will come back often.