Monday, January 18, 2016

Switched at the Sending

Last week I went through boxes stored in the basement - some of which I had not opened since they were packed three years ago. At first the task was daunting but I have a somewhat ruthless and very practical way about myself that rises to the surface and serves me well to get jobs like this done.

Betty (left) came to live with me in 1958; and Barbie was purchased with my own money in 1961
However, I do have my limits and standards, so when I began to open the boxes with my childhood dolls, I had to just stop and play for a few minutes. 

me with Sister's doll
This particular doll is not mine, but she has lived in my house for many years. You see, she was living with The Cook on Fifth Street with her twin, who wears a green plaid dress just like this doll's pink one. Our mother (the one I've mentioned before as being both a good cook and a good seamstress) sewed the dolls' dresses and, much like the clothes she made for sister and me during our formative years, they were just alike. But I digress.

The time came when The Cook on Fifth Street felt our dolls should live with us and not with her, so she mailed my doll to me.  But when she arrived, I knew immediately by the color of her dress that this was Sister's doll and not mine. The dolls had been accidentally switched.

As stated in a previous blog post, Sister and I live some 900 miles apart, so we have just never got around to trading our dolls. Her doll, named "Kay," has spent the years since then packed away with my other childhood dolls in the store room of our houses in at least two states.  You could stretch the truth a bit by saying she is "well-traveled" for having lived with me all this time.

My doll, "Jean," according to Sister, has spent the years in a very tightly sealed storage trunk. I mentioned recently my concern for Jean since Sister's historic house has, over the years, been invaded by the occasional misguided bat. But Sister has assured me that the doll is fine.

In the midst of emailing back and forth with Sister, I stepped out of my study for a few minutes and when I came back, I saw that Kay was trying to type out an email. However, when one has been wrapped in paper and tucked into a cardboard box for a decade or two, the workings of the Internet are a downright mystery. She was thoroughly frustrated. 

In the conversation that followed with Sister, it was suggested we really should return the dolls to their original owners. As Sister put it, if we don't make the switch, our kids will forever after be having to explain to their kids and grandkids why she ended up with my doll and I ended up with hers.  A point well-taken.

Mandy Sue (left) and Lily

In years past, Mandy Sue and Lily have made the trip to the Midwest to see The Cook on Fifth Street, who is a doll-lover, too. She has always welcomed my staff when they come to visit. Unfortunately for her, when they invade her home, they consider it a vacation and they don't do a thing to help out their hostess. They just stand around and watch everybody else come and go.

Well anyway, now you know the story of "Switched at the Sending" (as opposed to "switched at birth"). There will probably be a sequel to this story at some later date, yet to be determined. As you can probably tell, I am not the only one in my family who is taken up with whimsey when it comes to our dolls.


  1. {{{Big, Big Smiles}}} Beautiful, friend, beautiful.

  2. Loved this story of the switched dolls. The trunk news reminded me of a novel published in 1929. It was called Hitty: Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field. It is the story of a doll. Your dollies should write a book! I have a naked Shirley Temple doll who recently found her way back to me. I must make her some clothes!

  3. Hello, I'm visiting from Linda's blog! How delighted I was when I opened your blog and saw yore sweet doll. I love dolls. I have a very bittersweet comment...when my girls were little I gave my dolls to them. It made me so happy to see them playing with the same dolls I had played with when I was a child. But with that said, sadly my dolls disappeared in the day to day world of children. ~sigh~ Enjoyed your post, hope to visit again soon.

  4. Oh my, what treasures!! I am the oldest of four, and two of my siblings are younger sisters. None of my dolls or toys were saved for me, including my original Barbie (worth a whole lot of money these days). Passed down to Patti, then to Tammy and now long, long gone. Please do keep us posted about the pending reunion with your doll!!

  5. Yes, you all do need to get those dolls back to their rightful owner. I have a few of my dolls and had a couple of them reworked and hopefully they will be something that my Granddaughters will want to keep after I'm gone. Happy week Barbara!

  6. What fun to still have your childhood dolls, Barb! All of mine were sadly lost over the years. I did save many of my daughter's favorite dolls and now my granddaughter plays with them which makes me happy.