Thursday, July 14, 2016

American Girl Doll Time Travelers

Hello Friends.

I am very glad to have left this blog in my husbands' immensely capable hands, while I've been doing other projects, but today I am tired and frustrated with moving nonsense, and I was thinking about dolls and I had a revelation about how my childhood could have been much, much cooler. 

I, like many middle class girls growing up in the 90s, had an American Girl doll. I had Samantha, the awesome, give women the vote and stand up against child labor, rich, orphaned little lady who lived with her grandmother. I thought she was marvelous, even though her hair didn't match mine because she clearly had the best clothes and my mom did a ton of work making all her outfits for me. I really loved her, and was super impressed with how beautiful she was, but I struggled a little with... how to play with her?

I had several other much less expensive dolls from various birthday parties or whatnot who were all the same size and would all play together... but Samantha was so much bigger than my other dolls and came prepackaged with such a strong story that I struggled to add to it, or mix her in with dolls with dresses from no particular era, but certainly not 1900s America. Even when I got together with friends and brought Samantha it was hard to play with her, even if the other girl also had an American Girl doll, because how can Samantha play with Kirsten? Kirsten died years before Samantha was born! Kirsten doesn't even speak English, she speaks Swedish, and... they lived in such different worlds... what could they possibly do together? I mean, you can just pretend that Samantha is not Samantha and dress her up in Kirsten's clothes and pretend they're both living out on the prairie and act out some of the stories from Kirsten's books, but... that never seemed like fun. Besides, Samantha's clothes are undeniably the prettiest.

HOWEVER. Today I had the revelation of how I could have played as a child with other friends who had dolls from different historical periods. Clearly the American Girl Dolls should be time travelers. Then Kirsten and Samantha (and Addie and Felicity and Molly and no one else because the others don't count) could all travel through time and space and learn lessons, celebrate holidays, and save the day as a team. We could have taken our dolls to whatever place or time period we happened to be learning about. Who says these girls all have to stay in America!?

This was my revelation. I don't feel a burning need to go play with my childhood toys now, but I do kind of want to read some fanfic adventure stories. 

That is all. 


  1. So, I am not fascinated by how my friends, my sister, her friends, and I did play with the dolls. I'm also realizing just now how much of a blessing my mother must have thought the dolls were, since my sister and I would happily play with the dolls together and often in a childhood full of sniping at each other and openly fighting. Maybe that's why she never complained when we spent fortunes of our "allowance" money.

    But we had interesting but unspoken rules. I think it never once occurred to us to share outfits amongst the dolls. I had Samantha (the best, I agree), and my sister had Felicity. We bought a few modern day pieces of overpriced furniture that all the dolls played with, but we never bought modern outfits for them. And we would never share any props or costume pieces between the dolls.

    But we had no problem at all with them being in the same space. I swear, I simply CANNOT remember where on earth we DID set all of the puppet shows and plays we put on with the dolls. We were sincerely not bothered by setting and time period.

    Our parents, incidentally, were forced to sit through up to 45 minutes of a script we devised and rehearsed for them. Sometimes in amusement and sometimes in displeasure potent enough that we realized it (my childhood best friend's mother was the main offender here). Also, how did I not know I was supposed to be a theatre director until I was 22?

    But we were all about the worlds and time periods! We read the books and talked about the issues that they brought up. We were very into the stories. And I'm pretty sure our plots never violated the stories. For example, we never said my sister's Felicity was my Samantha's best friend, but Samantha had Nelly. And sure, Nelly's not here, but Nelly is her best friend, okay?

    So we cared but then spontaneously we didn't? Man, we were not at all self-aware in our game play.

  2. You were seriously cool as a kid.



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