One of my childhood passions was playing with paper dolls. In the late 1950’s and 60’s, children didn’t have nearly as many toys as they do now. We only received toys or special things at birthdays and Christmas. But paper dolls, along with jacks, paddle balls and comic books were very affordable and could be bought anytime at the neighborhood grocery store. When candybars were a nickel, most of the paper dolls were 29 cents.
Barbie doll clothes were a little expensive for me, so I only had about 3 store-bought outfits. My sister-in-law made some for me one Christmas. That was it. One Barbie and about 6 or 7 outfits. Very few of the girls I knew had more than that. So paper dolls were a wonderful way to satisfy that urge for lots of clothes to play with. And I think playing with them so much initiated a life long interest in pretty clothes.
I’ve always loved pretty clothes and tend to notice what people wear; not in a critical way, so much, but in kind of an appreciative way. I seldom remember crummy looking clothes (except for my own) but I can tell you about clothes that my friends wore in 6th grade, or what I wore to see “Thoroughly Modern Millie” in 1967 (a pink mini dress with matching coat, covered buttons and pink Mary Jane shoes with a daisy cut-out by the strap).
Okay. Back to the paper dolls. I don’t have any of my originals. One of the stupidest things I ever did was throw away that shoe box full of them when I got married. I thought, “I’m an adult, so I don’t need these anymore.” Well, I don’t need them but I sure do enjoy them. I’ve been able to replace several, but the Lucy ones are beyond my reach. About 10 years ago I was bidding on them on ebay and I quit at …. well, I won’t tell you but they sold for $135. And I don’t invest in mint condition, uncut ones. I prefer the ones that you can tell were played with, and homemade ones are even better. I never made my own (except out of the Sears or Montgomery Ward catalogs) but I really admire girls who did.