Paper Memories

Today I bought a Christmas gift for my four-year-old granddaughter. A set of prince and princess paper dolls. With a modern twist. True, they are fashioned with the familiar flatness of old, but made out of wood rather than cardboard and their whimsical-woody-wardrobes attach to each form magnetically.

Nice. No paper hinges to tear off at the dress’s shoulders and sides. No ruining your favorite paper doll by coaxing her cardboard cuteness into a chair, bending her at the backside and knees.

Not that I ever did such a thing.

As the sales clerk rang up my gift, we reminisced about how we’d once played with our paper dolls until the edges were frayed and worn with wear. She mentioned having an entire set of the lovely Lennon Sisters (as Lawrence Welk used to say).

“Lucky you,” I said. “I used to channel Janet Lennon, singing ‘Getting to Know You’ all around the house, hoping to be discovered.”

The clerk laughed, understanding.

I added, “Of course, that was after I’d channeled Shirley Temple and retired ‘On the Good Ship Lollipop.’”

Her eyes lit up. “I had Shirley Temple, too!”

Wow. I don’t remember having celebrity paper dolls. But I didn’t suffer. Every month I looked forward to carefully cutting out the Betsy McCall doll and her fashion-forward outfits from Mother’s latest McCall’s magazine. I glued Betsy to some thick paper, trimming away the excess, so she’d last until next month’s issue.

When I turned ten, my artist-mom made original paper dolls to give all the guests at my birthday party. She spent days sketching and coloring and cutting. Every doll had an extensive wardrobe and boy-oh-boy, were the girls ever awed to receive something so special. No one else’s mother attempted such a feat. I felt as famous as Shirley Temple for many days after that.

And now, years and years later, it’s time to introduce the current version of paper dolls to Sidney Anne.

Welcome to my world, little one.


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8 responses to “Paper Memories

  1. Lovely memories. Though I never even thought of making my dolls sit. That’s funny!

  2. Barbara Bryant

    Sweet! I was a tom boy and played with horses, barn mice, dogs, cats and chickens. You opened a place in my heart for the little girl who would have loved frilly dresses and paper dolls. Sidney Anne is a lucky girl!..

  3. Nancy Bailey

    Cathy, this is a wonderful article. I sure hope you submitted it. Good job my sweet friend.

  4. Great post and great memories! I know you’ll have many happy make-believe moments with Sidney and those “paper” dolls! Thanks for sharing.

    Those were happy times when my friends and I played with our paper dolls. The newer version sounds interesting…did you purchase online or from a store? I’d like to see them…

  5. Thanks for the kind response, dear lady. Here is a link on amazon to the set I bought:

    They are made by Melissa & Doug (love their toys!) but maybe other companies make similar ones. I had planned to get Sidney a girl “paper” doll, then thought I’d need to get two so the doll would have a friend. When I found these at T.J. Maxx, I snapped them up. You might find some at the Sugarplum Cottage in Redding, as well. They carry Melissa & Doug toys. Such cute things.

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