10.20.2010

In Memoriam : A Piece of Childhood (please.. no laughing)

Today I received a blast from the past in my mail - an American Girl catalog.  "Oh, those American Girl people are getting ready for the holidays!" I said to myself, knowing that they probably figure that all of the women in their twenties who had these amazing dolls growing up do get curious and sneak a peek inside to see what is up in the world of Felicity, Molly and Samantha in addition to ordering for their little girls.  Or maybe it's just me.

Anywho, so I started perusing the pages of the catalog featuring dolls that only in form look like what I had growing up - modern dolls w/ the names of "Lacie" and "Chrissa" and something called Historical Dolls "Best Friends."  We didn't have those growing up, but we didnt need them --  myself and other girls of my generation were absolutely smitten with just Felicity, Kirsten, Molly, and Samantha and their tales of adventure and the details of the quirks of the times they lived in -- I think many women in historic preservation, history, archeology and the like could credit the beginnings of their all grown-up passion for their respective field began to when they opened the huge Pleasant Company white box with their very own American Girl doll on Christmas day as a girl.  I myself  took a liking to Kirsten the moment I was introduced to her at a friend's house - She didnt have my eyes (mine are brown) and she had bangs (not for this girl) BUT, she  was the only AG with blonde hair and that was all I needed!  I then bought and read all of the books about her and the next Christmas, she was my prized gift.  She had a prominent place on my window seat and I went about saving my money to buy her accessories and asking for them at Christmas.  My grandmother even made me her nightgown and undergarments (did you know that they used to sell the patterns for american girl doll clothing? Yeah.)
But the craziness didnt stop with Kirsten.  Growing up 45 minutes from Williamsburg made Colonial Williamsburg a frequent field trip destination in grade school and with that, I started loving Felicity and her story.  Colonial Williamsburg even had a partnership with Pleasant Company for education programs that encouraged girls to bring their Felicity dolls with them and experience a day in the life of Felicity in Colonial Williamsburg - talk about a little girl's dream!  To this day, I find Revolutionary America to still be the most fascinating time in history (and also architecturally!) for me and I owe much of it to Felicity.  I asked my parents for her as a birthday present and she became a fixture on the window sill alongside Kirsten (They were BFFs).  Three other AG dolls (umm, I like history and collecting?) joined them on the window sill over the years, but nothing beats the connection I had w/ Kirsten and Felicity during elementary school.

I knew that American Girl (err, Mattel) sent Samantha to the "archives" a few years ago, but she was one of the dolls that never gained a position on the windowsill, so it wasn't a huge deal to me.  Then I received the catalogue today and there, next to Felicty's picture, was a message saying "Add Felicity to your collection before she goes to the AG archives" What the heck!  I then took a look at the current line of American Girls "Historic Characters" and Kirsten was nowhere to be found.  I did some research (aka- Googling) and found out that my two favorite dolls, those who I spent countless hours playing with as a little girl and helped define a huge chunk of my childhood, have been or are slated to retire.  A sense of sadness came over me as I felt an incredibly important and defining part of my life be "retired."  I'm 27 years old, "retire" isn't a part of my vocab.  $100 says Molly's going next (run for your life, little 1940s American Girl... WWII doesn't hold a candle in historical importance to the depression era Kit or groovy 1970s Julie!!)

All of my AG collection (Felicity, Josephina, Kirsten, Addy and Taylor - umm, yeah, don't ask) sits carefully packed in my parents house in cedar luggage chests waiting until I have a little girl that I can share my youth with who will hopefully be as excited to learn about their fictional lives as I was growing up. If I'm blessed with all boys and neither my SIL or my sister has a little girl, then that is why Ebay was created.  To Felicity  - I will always fondly remember your fiery red hair, your loved for horses and having to tape your necklaces together b/c they often broke and Kirsten -  Your Princess Leia braids, your incredibly sustainable "spoon" that came in your accessories (you know what I mean, proud Kirsten owners) and how I stepped on your bed in the middle of the night when I was 10 and uttered my first curse word will always have a special place in my heart..  Ahh memories.

1 comment:

Marisa said...

this gave me a heart attack-I just called my parents to make sure they never gave felicity away....omg omg omg.

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