Patty and I loved our dolls and stuffed animals. Just
as they dressed us in matching outfits, like twins, our parents (and most
everyone else, following Mother and Dad's lead) bought all toys in two's.
To most grownups, the pairs of dolls and teddy bears
probably looked identical. Not to us, though. Upon receiving a new set of
matched gifts Patty I and promptly discovered profound differences between
For some reason I was extremely nit-picky about the
faces on both dolls and stuffed animals. When Patty was very small I would
sometimes swap mine for hers if I liked the looks of hers better, and she was
none the wiser. But at some point she caught on and would immediately memorize
her toy or doll's features. If I tried to pull a swap, she would firmly take her
doll back, handing me mine and saying "This one isn't mine. Her face is all
wrong." Mother never had to write our names on these toys. We knew whose was
One of the two Character Novelty Co.
bears given to Patty and I in the early 50's.
This one is Patty's.
How can I tell?
Hers had a slightly twisted snout
that makes his mouth and nose look crooked.
Which brings up the Raggedy Ann and Andy story
Recently we had been given a set of Raggedy Ann and
Andy books, and we loved them dearly. That Christmas, we were delighted to find
that Santa had brought us Raggedy and Andy dolls. What a wonderful surprise! Now
we could sit with our Raggedy dolls on our laps while listening to Nanan read
the Raggedy stories.
These were no department store Raggedy dolls, they
were handmade! And this was a rare occasion when our dolls weren't
identical. This time, Patty got Raggedy Ann, and I got Raggedy Andy. Now, both
of us definitely favored Raggedy Ann. Therefore, I was devastated. I felt
cheated. As the firstborn of the two of us, I felt that I should have been
given the Raggedy Ann. I was consumed with jealousy and resentment, and a vague
fear of future, similar outcomes. Patty was growing up and I was losing the
prestige and privileges of rank that comes with being the oldest.
After a few days, my jealousy or my curiosity got the
best of me, and a very bad thing happened. For years I remembered what I did as
curiosity-driven. Patty remembers it as jealousy-driven.
At any rate, I decided we absolutely needed to know
if Raggedy dolls really did have a candy heart inside that says "I love you".
So, I talked Patty into cutting hers open to see. There was no candy heart.
Patty started crying her eyes out.
Of course we both got scolded for cutting into
Raggedy Ann, and then Nanan stitched her back up, put her dress back on, and she
was good as new, but it put a black spot on my heart forever.
How Raggedy Ann got her Candy Heart
An excerpt from "The Raggedy Ann Stories"
by Johnny Gruelle
dear lady put the new white cotton in my body," said Raggedy Ann "she went to
the cupboard and came back with a paper bag. And she took from the bag ten or
fifteen little candy hearts with mottos on them and she hunted through the candy
hearts until she found a beautiful red one which she sewed up in me with the
cotton! So that is the secret, and that is why I am so happy! Feel here," said
Raggedy Ann. All the dolls could feel Raggedy Ann's beautiful new candy heart
and they were very happy for her.
After all had hugged each other good night and had cuddled up for the night, the
tin soldier asked, "Did you have a chance to see what the motto on your new
candy heart was, Raggedy Ann?"
"Oh yes," replied Raggedy Ann, "I was so happy I forgot to tell you. It had
printed upon it in nice blue letters, 'I
Judy's Old Raggedy Andy has a Story to Tell!
Some comments from Dixie
(as told to Patty)
Mom kept you girls' old potty chair for a long
time. You and Judy spent hours on it in the kitchen next to the fridge. And
I remember the blue and white striped denim overalls Mom always dressed you
in to play. I also remember Judy shredding your Raggedy Ann to find the
candy heart. Hers, of course remained intact.
I remember how we staged great acts in the Den
with those heavy velvet drapes as a frame for our stage. Lildra and I would
play "air" saxophones to a 45 record I had. You and Judy would stomp around
in time to the record and became part of our act. We had a good time.
RECORDS AND BOOKS
We had dozens and dozens of kid’s records, mostly 45
rpm. At a very early age we were given a small Decca record player in a suitcase
style two-tone box that had a manual speed adjust lever and a chubby adapter to
put on the spindle for 45’s. It played one record at a time. We played our
records over and over and no one seemed to mind. I remember especially the songs
"The Little White Cloud That Cried", by Johnny Ray, and "How Much is that Doggie
in the Window", by Patti Page. There was also the Flying Magic Song (Inka Binka
Bong) and Wee Willie the Whale and Zelda the Zebra. I'll always remember the
Zelda verse "Yipes, yipes, I've lost my pretty stripes".
Some truly fantastic children’s books came out in the 50’s and it seemed that
Mother bought every one. Popup 3-dimensional books, 33 rpm record sets that came
with book pages to read along with the record: “Now turn the page” Bugs Bunny
would say. I loved those most of all! And we had stacks of gorgeously
illustrated nursery rhyme and fairy tale books.
One of my favorite nursery rhymes was "Goops
and How to Be Them". It was a book about manners. Mother would quote the first
verse quite often. Here's that first verse:
Goops they lick their fingers,
The Goops they lick their knives
They spill their broth on the tablecloth
And lead disgusting lives!
Someone was always reading to us from these books. I
think the grownups enjoyed the stories and pictures as much as we did. Patty and
I started reading along between the ages of 3 or 4, and by the time we started
kindergarten we were reading on a 4th grade level. (Now if only I had had that
same head start in math!)
And of course, there were the comic books. Having an
older brother and sister meant an endless supply of them. Dixie was into Archie
and Katy Keene, and Leonard had every superhero comic ever to hit the market. I
think they were a dime an issue. The best part of the Katy Keene comic was the
paper doll that came in every issue.
Mad Magazine became everyone's favorite, but that was
farther down the road in time.
Katy Keene comic
paper doll page
(ok, more like scribbling)
Another favorite pastime at our house was drawing and
coloring. Dixie was a budding artist and she loved to draw. She would sit with
us for hours, sharing techniques and praising our work. Although I never became
a great artist, I carried a love of drawing with me the rest of my life, and I
do have a few noteworthy sketches to my name.
I love this photo of Patty and Judy coloring together!
The downside of my enthusiasm for drawing was that I
felt compelled to draw on anything, anywhere. I went through a stage of drawing
stick-people with extravagant hats: on the wallpaper just above the wainscot, in
books, and finally, carved into the top of my Mother’s beloved Duncan Phyfe
table. She told me years later that although she cried when she saw what I had
done to her table, she could never bring herself to have it sanded out, so that
carving remained until the day the table left the house.
Stick lady with fancy hat
From a Mother's Day card I made