This one’s for Patsy, who reminded me about paper dolls.

I played with all kinds of dolls when I was little and paper dolls were one of the best.  I had a box I kept them all in after I carefully cut out the dolls and their costumes.  It’s kind of amazing to think that I did that as I didn’t exactly excel at scissors.  My kindergarten report card gave me a low grade in that area, so maybe I was trying to compensate in my later years.  I’ve always found that to be so funny.  I was a very good student, but I’ve chosen to focus on the fact that I was a little weak in scissors when I was four or five years old.

We got books of paper dolls, but what I remember the most is Betsy McCall.  My mother subscribed to all the ladies magazines, including McCall’s.  Each month, they featured a page with Betsy with a story and new paper dolls and clothes.  It was something to look forward to.  I had to wait for my mother to read the magazine and then I could tear out my page and start cutting.


I also found some pictures of old valentines with paper dolls.  Those were a special treat in our decorated shoe boxes of valentines from our classmates.


I remember spreading all my dolls out and dressing them with the various outfits, bending the little paper tabs that kept the clothes on the doll.  I think we used to paste the dolls from magazines onto cardboard to keep them strong enough to stand up and be in the stories we made up about the lives of these paper people.  We got cardboard from our daddy’s shirts when they came from the cleaners.  We used those cardboard pieces for all kinds of activities.

In this fast paced world, it’s hard to imagine kids sitting for hours cutting those very intricate little pieces of clothing and patiently standing up the dolls to show off their newest outfit or making up a story for them to act out.  The other day, I was watching my granddaughter play with a Mickey Mouse iPad app where she dressed him in different rock star outfits.  Pretty cute, but not the innocence of Betsy McCall.   When she gets older, I’ll try to explain about paper dolls.  She’ll listen, wide-eyed, and wonder about that old fashioned world her grandmother grew up in.  Or, if I wait too long, she may just roll her eyes.

Sometimes I have to admit what an antique girl I am.