There are days when I wonder why I subject myself to the process of writing. As much as I love wordsmithing, it often keeps me up at night (or wakes me from a rare, valuable sleep) and drives me crazy on a daily basis. I can’t help but wonder, what got me into this mess? Then I’ll come across something the reminds me I’ve never really had a choice when it comes to playing with words. Right before I left for London, I cleaned out a drawer and found a surprising stash of childhood toys, including a large envelope of my old paper dolls. I smiled like a complete idiot and embraced my inner child. I pulled out each doll with all their clothes and instantly began to remember how they once let my imagination run free with interesting characters and plot lines. Even when my age was a single digit – I was making up stories!
Paper dolls were among my favorite toys for a number of reasons: 1) I could afford them on my allowance. 2) I loved the hands-on process of punching them out. I can still hear the sound of the perforated edges “popping” 3) I could change their clothes much faster than the standard doll. Faster wardrobe changes meant I could get through the story I made up before I forgot how it ended.
Above: The Heart Family paper doll set. Awwww, I loved playing with this family. I remember how I always had the little kids playing hide and seek with the parents.
Above: Teddy Bear Family, (Western Publishing, Co.). This remains my favorite set of paper dolls. Not only are the bears adorable, but these were made in a unique way. All the fabric for the clothing and the bears was photographed instead of drawn to give everything a more realistic appearance of texture. My bear family did everything from family picnics to trips to the lake!
Above: Maxie and Barbie & The Rockers. The fun thing about these is I still have the matching standard 11½” dolls! Barbie and her short-lived rival Maxie provided endless hours of make-believe magic. In particular, my rockers would give concerts and lip sync to cassettes I had lying around, while Maxie was always on a shopping trip to pick a dress for her prom.
Above: William and Kate. Apparently, I will never be too old for paper dolls. While in London, I couldn’t resist buying this fantastic set of dolls and clothes. Whenever I have a few minutes I sit down and cut out an outfit or two, (no perforated edges!). It’s amazing how these little dolls are once again firing up my creativity.
The need to tell stories has been part of my personality for as long as I can remember. Before I ever picked up a pen, my imagination was always in overdrive with my paper dolls, stuffed animals, and just about anything else around me. As an adult, the storytelling part of my soul exists as a writer and as a history teacher (I joke around that I spend my entire day telling stories in the classroom . . . they just happen to be true stories!). I take it to be a good sign that in both work and leisure I am truly in my element, doing what I love. Even though words sometimes threaten my sanity, I am always going to be a writer. However, I have to put some of the blame on my paper dolls!