Saturday, January 31, 2009

Auction treasures

Our first summer in Canada when I was 7 there were not two spare cents to rub together so I didnt ask for anything, except a 6 cent package of juicy fruit gum when the cube van grocery- on -wheels stopped at our driveway, which I made last a whole week. Occasionally there would be a trip to Kentville and I would always wander about the Metropolitan store while my mother did her errands . In the toy department there was a wall of dolls on display, beautifully dressed baby and toddler dolls. (No wannabe hooker outfits in those days) My mother would always find me gazing up at a sweet doll in the top row that I named Heidi, after my favorite book. She cost the princely sum of $5.98 which was indeed a fortune in our circumstances. One day she was gone and I felt bereft somehow, even though my mother did her best to comfort me.


Christmas came , there was no snow but it didnt matter. My brother opened his skates, I opened my many layered package, and there was....Heidi!



I'm sure I was the happiest kid in Canning that day. Heidi went everywhere with me, in the second photo its the next summer, 1958, and we are riding my homemade horse...(somebody please get that girl a pony!)


I played dolls and make believe till I was 12 and thats when we sadly parted company. Somehow her vinyl skin had punctured and her kapok stuffing absorbed water and she turned moldy inside.


Fast forward about half a century and I'm at an auction in Saint John this winter where there are hundreds of dolls from the 50's all piled in tray lots. It was her dimpled knees I recognised first, I dug her out of the pile and I think I exclaimed out loud "Heidi!" The same model exactly with the "rooted saran hair and sleeping eyes" I recognised the curl of her ears, the dimpled backs of her hands, the placid expression, it was all there, and in perfect condition. And somebody in some previous decade had knitted her a beautiful outfit complete with crocheted gloves. To make a long story short I got her for nearly double her 1957 price which wasnt bad considering inflation and all. I was also tickled pink to bid $6.00 and win a unique wooden doll, beautifully crafted with clever ball joints at ankles knees, wrists elbows etc. She has a composition head, a mohair wig, and I have no idea where she comes from. A real work of art.

What 's more fun than an auction?











11 comments:

Gwen Buchanan said...

Sweet story, Kathi!

your "Heidi" reminds me of a "Judy" doll I had way back when.. she wasn't quite as fancy as Heidi but I loved her cause she reminded me so much of my cousin that I loved and named her for.. Your are right.. someone did a marvelous job on her outfit..

You sure were a cute little thing!!.....and you still look the same!!

kathi dunphy said...

I sure do Gwen...skinny legs, bony ankles and great big feet!(note the clodhoppers in the last photo!)

rauf said...

Here in India, girls used to play 'wedding' back then. (round about your time Kathi, in the 50s. It was a serious affair. Two friends having a boy doll and a girl doll get together and get them married, with toy furniture and utensils as dowry. all the friends were invited. (only the boy doll being the male figure in the whole affair) This was followed by a feast prepared by the little girls.
Fights followed as the girl doll has to go to the house of boy doll.
okkay you take your doll and i take mine and there was an immediate divorce.

kathi dunphy said...

What fun Rauf, I can just imagine the bickering at the end of all the make-believe, and the little girls choosing sides.

JulenaJo said...

Kathi, I never played with dolls, but I can certainly relate to your excitement at finding Heidi at the auction--and I am so happy for you!
I mostly played with stuffed and plastic animal toys, and I also made flower blossoms into "Little Women." Never a dull moment for a little girl (or a little girl at heart) who plays "make believe."

Undaunted said...

Wow, what a find! You must have been over joyed!

My favourite toy is long gone now, and sadly one of a kind - it was a polar bear made by my mother. When I was about 18 I foolishly presumed that my little sister would cherish it as much as I had done. I wish I had kept it now.

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kathi dunphy said...

Was that English?

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