The Prompt: Out of Your Reach – Was there a toy or thing you always wanted as a child, during the holidays or on your birthday, but never received? Tell us about it.
This might make you laugh – I wanted a real Betsy Wetsy baby doll. Keep in mind that I was the youngest of the girls in my neighborhood and many of them inherited dolls and toys from older sisters or cousins. My older female cousins had younger female cousin sisters so I did not often inherit the good stuff. I suspect my father creatively repurposed items he found in his side business doing junk removal – one time he salvaged over 100 Nancy Drew books.
I had a doll that came with a bottle and had soft brown hair – like mine. But her eyes didn’t open and close and she didn’t wet or eat food. Like a “real” baby doll. I had a Barbie doll, Ken, Donny & Marie. I had a Townhouse and I even had the Barbie Makeup head.
But the other girls had Betsy Wetsy and when we would play together, they stuck me with their 1960s leftover dolls that were truly rather frightening.
Have you ever really looked at dolls? They are really creepy. Just searching for a Betsy Wetsy image to use in this post has me both half-horrified and half-fascinated. Just like watching “Little House on the Prairie” actually.
Now my parents were both practical and coping with financial stress. I had dolls and I actually didn’t play with dolls often, I read books and played outside. They probably realized it was envy speaking, not true desire – and I would outgrow it. They were right.
My favorite way to play with Barbie and pals was to recreate scenes from books I had read – like Little Women where Ken and Donny had to play female and male roles. My brother and I used to take my Barbie makeup head and put it in the swimming pool to startle unsuspecting adults. Then her hair turned green from the chlorine which my mother pronounced fitting retribution for the several near heart attacks she experienced.
I also wanted a Hoppity-Hop until the traumatic incident where I got myself stuck in the street on Sherri’s Hoppity-Hop while Mr. Mooney honked his horn at me (he was the mean neighbor) practically terrorizing me into forgetting I could get off the damn thing and carry it to the side of the street. I think Ronnie Schaffer rescued me (he was a big kid.)
I think mostly the “things” I wanted represented what a happy, normal family life would mean – little did I know that many of the kids getting things were caught in as much tumult and turmoil as my family. Things like brand new lunch boxes (because my father specifically bought solid ones to last year to year) and certain types of notebooks and designer clothing. I can’t even bring them to mind now they were such fleeting desires.
And, really, the floating Barbie head in the swimming pool was awesome.