Bloganuary – Favorite Childhood Toy

My second Bloganuary post answers the following question:

What was your favorite toy as a child?

Betsy was a baby doll. She was the size of a real baby and she was dressed in a blue, corduroy dress with a white scalloped collar. Her body was stuffed with poly filling. Her hands, feet and head were made of soft plastic and she had eyes which closed when she was laid into a sleeping position. Those eyes were blue and made her seem so very real to me. Curiously, the eyelashes of her left eye were missing. It was obvious they had been scissored off, but I have no memory of doing the deed. Still, I loved her and held her close.

My little sister Cheryl and I shared a room. Our twin beds were separated by a dresser. We took advantage of that configuration to create many games of make-believe. One of those was “pioneer wagon train.” Hanging our feet over the foot of our beds, and holding old belts which my father donated to our adventure as reins, we pretended that we were driving horses which were pulling our covered wagons. Lined up behind us on the bed were our important possessions – like those that one might travel with when journeying across the wild plains in a wagon. Those necessities included our pets (stuffed animals) and our children (baby dolls.) My mother offered us crackers in small plastic baggies for our travels, which we kept in recycled shoe boxes.

When our babies were awake, we would hold them in our laps as we drove the horses and sang songs which, I suppose, we thought is what real pioneer women did as they piloted their wagons. Then, when we had to make camp, we would put the babies down for a nap and tend to the chores, like organizing the leather horse tack or making a campfire over which we cooked the saltines.

Somehow, with all the electronic devices available to keep children engaged today, I worry that little girls no longer play “pioneer wagon train” with their baby dolls. That thought brings a little sadness to my heart. However, writing about a memory I had long put way in an old shoe box in the back of my mind has been an enjoyable diversion.

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