Thursday, December 18, 2008

Let's play!

I always get a little dismayed when I realize that our childhood toys, books and lunch boxes would now be called "memorabilia" - from the Latin root "memor" meaning "you are so old, you really should be dead."

But that's ok. Our childhood toys are not likely to be listed on ebay or sitting on shelves at antique stores. Because like just about everything in the Dale household, our toys were a bit unconventional.

Since there were 4 girls in the family and no boys anywhere in sight if we had anything to say about it, you would think that our little pink toy boxes would have been full of frilly dolls and fluffy tutu's and sparkly magic wands. You would be wrong.

Our favorite, extra-special, can't-live-without-em toys were ... trolls.

(Aren't they cute?)

We had a troll house. We made troll clothes. (step one: cut a rectangle of fabric. step two: cut two holes. done!) We played with them for hours on end.

We did have some Barbie dolls, but they just didn't have the charm of our little trolls. So we cut off their hair and made them the teachers. I'm not sure why the hair had to go. But it did help with the transformation from Skinny Supermodel to Deranged Teacher of Trolls.

Even though we were pretty happy with our little troll world, I remember coveting another toy with all my heart. I knew it was futile. I don't think our family was really poor, though Dad frequently told us he should have been a plumber. And yet, I knew that this lofty, exalted, glorious toy would never be mine. What was it? A baby doll with her very own bathtub, wrapped in cellophane and displayed on the top shelf of the grocery store.

Every time we went to the Stop 'n Shop, that beautiful lifelike doll drew my undivided attention. I longed to take her home and cradle her in my arms. I dreamed of giving her a bath, and wrapping her in a clean blanket. But alas, it was not to be. Mom and Dad were just too mean, too selfish and yes, too cheap to grant the one and only wish of their tragically-ignored little daughter.

Fortunately, having the attention span of a mosquito, I forgot all about the baby doll as soon as we got home. I was perfectly happy to get out my troll, cut some more fabric rectangles, and go back to a world of our own invention, where spunk, personality and creativity were the most important qualities a troll could possibly have.

Come to think of it, that's the world I still inhabit today. And I wouldn't have it any other way.




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