|Amy and Abby, 1959. Is it weird that I still remember that hat?|
My three best friends, when I was a girl, were Abby, Morgan, and Cindy. Abby lived on the next block from my family. I was born 12 hours ahead of her, almost to the exact minute, but as my birth time was in the evening and hers in the morning, our birthdays fell on different days. Childhood memories are filled with adventures with Abby, everything from swing sets, snow days, swimming, and secret clubs. We stayed friends even as we grew older. I moved away, and we still kept in touch. I was at her wedding, but she wasn't at mine. Her excuse was pretty good, though. She'd given birth the night before to her eldest child. After my mother and brother died, Abby has been one of the only people who still calls me the Yiddish affectionate version of my name: Amele (pronounced Aim-a-la). She is still one of the people in that "best friends" group for me.
|Amy and Morgan 1959|
Morgan came to me even before Abby, but not by much. Morgan is a plush toy dog, that I only recently discovered has some sort of connection with the Gary Moore show. Apparently, he was the perfect gift for a newborn girl in 1956, because I received two. The story is that my mother was delighted, because when the first one wore out, she pitched it and gave me the second one. She couldn't understand why I wept inconsolably for several days at the loss of my stuffed dog, and refused to give any notice to the pretender. But eventually, the new Morgan dog became the pillow that caught my tears, and we bonded. Morgan had a nose that squeaked, soft satiny ears, button eyes, and my deep love.
|Amy and Cindy at YellowStone 1963|
Cindy came to me the year I started Kindergarten. A baby doll, with a soft body, and blond hair, she accompanied me on a trip across the country that my family took in 1962. Unfortunately for Cindy, by 1963, Pebbles Flintstone had been born and I took to putting her hair up in a barrette to imitate the cartoon baby. Cindy (like the first Morgan) got rather battered from constant loving, so my mother decided to replace her. Rather than suffer the indignities of a wailing child for several weeks, she thought that involving me in the replacement process would be a good idea. So, my parents and I went off to Toys R Us and wandered the aisle until we found an updated Cindy doll to be a replacement. I promptly named her Daisy, and much to my mother's chagrin, refused to give up Cindy, because now, with the addition of Daisy, Abby had a doll to play with at our house, too. My mother embraced the idea, and that year, for holiday gifts, presented both dolls with handmade gowns, embroidered with their names. The girls have them still and wear them proudly.
|Elanor, Amy, and a whole lotta well loved toys|
Sadly, the younger generation in my family has shown little interest in my old toys. But recently, Cindy, Daisy, and Morgan, as well as my whole collection of "foreign dolls" (foreign in quotes because included in the collection are Native American, Hawaiian, Amish, and unspecified American dolls as well as ones from Holland, Japan, China, Greece, Italy, Germany, France, Denmark, and some other places in between) have come to find a new heart to love them all. The daughter of a dear friend, she's a strong girl: bright, compassionate, artistic, and lively. Her favorite song is It's a small world. When asked if she was interested in the dolls, learning that they were well loved and old, she said it doesn’t matter if dolls are older or newer, it only matters what their personality is. This large hunk of my childhood (including Daisy, with Abby's blessing), now resides in the childhood of another girl, blossoming and growing into new experiences. Thank you Elanor; I know these beloved companions will bloom in the garden of your love.
(Botton picture is Elanor with Morgan and Raggity Ann, another childhood treasure, and me with Cindy and Daisy. Foreign doll collection is on the table in front of us.)