Yesterday my 58th birthday came and left. My daughter bought me a couple of adorable dolls, pictured above. My mind wanders back to my LAST DOLL that my folks had verrryyy reluctantly bought me more than 45 years ago for Christmas when I was probably 12 or 13. I was much too old to PLAY with dolls but I’d gotten it into my mind that I wanted a Raggedy Ann doll! You see, I’d never been a little girl to play with baby-dolls although my Mama and Gramma had bought me plenty over the years. They’d even tried to entice me to play ‘dress-up’ and ‘tea party‘ by sewing little outfits for the dollies but I still wasn’t interested. I did, however, go through a period of playing Barbies with a little girl that lived about a mile away but I think that was just an excuse to get to ride my bike alone down the country road and antagonize the big ugly bull (that was fenced-in) as I passed by! Also, I thought it was fun when it was MaryLou’s turn to come to my house because she many more Barbie dolls and so we’d sneak into my brother’s toybox and get out his G.I. Joe’s to use as ‘boyfriend dolls’ because we had more than enough girl dolls for just the Ken and Alan dolls! My oh my, how annoyed my brother would get when he would catch us! That somehow made it worthwhile. Those dolls had all been stored away or given to charity several years before, so my folks were probably thinking I was silly for asking for a Raggedy Ann doll. I didn’t really wanna PLAY with it; I just wanted it to look pretty on my bed. After all, most of my friends had one from their childhood and that’s when I’d realized that I didn’t have one. So on Christmas morning, one of my gifts was indeed the Raggedy Ann doll. Mama has the photo in her scrapbook of me in my jammies holding the doll and the inscription says “Jeannie’s last doll”. (I’m tthinking that she figured that if she wrote it down, then that’d make it true!)
Ever since my own children were preschool age, we’ve enjoyed numerous trips to DisneyWorld. As an Air Force family we did get to live in Florida a few times, plus Texas, Hawaii, and Georgia. All the times that we lived in Florida or Georgia, we kept Annual passes to the theme parks in the Orlando area. We would visit as often as possible. When the children were very small, of course we were more limited on which attractions that they could ride on. Growth spurts meant excitement because it added more rides in each of the parks that they were tall enough to go on. It got to the point that they didn’t wanna go on some of the old rides that they considered ‘kiddy rides‘….for example, my VERY FAVORITE at Magic Kingdom: ‘It’s a Small World’. Naturally, I told them that they had to go on that because it’s my favorite! It got to the point where it became a joke/battle: “Mama, do we have to go on ‘Small World’ again this trip”? I ALWAYS said, “YES, WE DO”! They’d try to trick me, make me forget about it, etc., etc. but I always won. I simply said that if we didn’t ride that attraction….well, then I’d be singing that song all evening in the motel room! Ten years ago, these same kids of mine and I became Castmembers at ‘The Most Magical Place On Earth’! Still, whenever we go to Magic Kingdom on our days off….the joke remains. Altho now I’m in a wheelchair and one of my darlings is pushing me, while trying to steer clear of Fantasyland hoping that I won’t think of ‘It’s a Small World’, we usually still ride that attraction! The kiddies are now 29, 30, & 32….they still say “Do we have to?” and I still reply “YES WE DO”! It has become our tried-and-true time-honored tradition for them to TRY! After all, I’m old now. I’m disabled. I don’t know how many years I’ll still be able to enjoy it so I wanna ride my favorite!!!
A couple of weeks ago my daughter and I were in the Disney Store in the biggest mall of the area. Normally I don’t go to malls and I cannot even recall the reason that she talked me into it on this particular occasion, but I agreed. I saw a display of ‘Small World’ dolls. She saw it too and quickly turned my wheelchair around….she was hoping I’d not seen it yet but HA! I had! Too late! I told her that I ‘just wanted to look‘ so I was looking at how cute and how BIG they were PLUS they were on sale AND she gets a hefty Disney Castmember discount on top of that. Just as we were about to turn around….that’s when I saw her at the very bottom: the Hawaiian doll! (I’ve been to Hawaii 11 times, have lived there, attended college there, my children have lived there too, many of my friends still live there, it’s my favorite place of all!) She was soooo cute and adorable. I picked her up and pressed her tummy and she sang the chorus to ‘It’s a Small World’. My daughter immediately said “Ohhhh, now that’d get annoying really fast so please don’t even think about it.” I started to put the doll back but when I tapped her tummy the second time, she sang the song in Hawaiian and I WAS IN LOVE!!! My dear daughter said “Nope” and wheeled me outa that store fast! We headed towards the food court, looking at a few kiosks along the way. I ordered my Chinese food and she ordered her vegetarian meal. We talked about our upcoming birthdays. She finished her meal much sooner than I did so I told her to leave me there for awhile. As she hurried away, I thought I heard her muttering “I know I’m gonna regret this”! When she returned, I pretended NOT to notice the Disney Store bag that she slipped onto the back of my wheelchair and tried to contain my smile!
I’d forgotten about the gift until we returned from my birthday supper last night. That’s when my daughter gave me the doll and I suddenly remembered about it; I was so thrilled that I called a couple of people and let the dolly sing into their voice-mail! Yeah, that might’ve been a bit over-the-top but it was fun! She also gave me a little Maleficent doll. Maleficent has always been my favorite Disney villianess and the recent movie of the same name was deliciously delightful. I soooo enjoyed Disney’s re-imagining of the character for this movie plus the casting of Angelina Jolie was a remarkable choice. So I got my 2 cutie little ‘dolls’ for my 58th birthday. Who would’ve ever guessed that? Hmmm, 45 years ago my Mama’s prediction wasn’t exactly correct but will this be my LAST DOLL? I just do not know! What’s this second childhood that I keep hearing about? Am I getting to the approximate age for that yet? Could all these years at Disney have helped that along? We’ll see! Oh, and as for my daughter….I’m sure it comes as NO SURPRISE that she was already tired of hearing ‘It’s a Small World’ shortly after giving me the doll! Awwww….well, her birthday is next week!