This is Jody. She's just another old doll, but
when I hear the name "Jody" a whole heart full
of feelings and memories returns to me because Jody is my
childhood baby doll. She was made by Horsman in 1961 and
she's a perfect size for little girls to love. Which I
I don't consciously remember playing with her. My
memories are more emotional than mental. It's obvious
that I did play with Jody a LOT. Her vinyl is discolored,
yellowed, bruised. Her hair is almost all worn off. Her
body is fragile and falling apart. Her face is still
pretty. I am glad that my mother taught us to respect our
toys. Jody still has nice lashes and face color and there
are no ink scribbles on her.
Jody has had an appendectomy, however, because my
brothers used her as a football one day when I was at
school. I came home to find Mom mending my doll and all
the boys were in bed without supper, for punishment.
Apparently it was a Very Serious Crime to damage Jody,
and I was very impressed.
I think Mom understood how important Jody was because of
her own childhood doll, whose name is simply
"Dolly." Dolly is a generic compo doll with a
slight resemblance to Shirley Temple. Dolly was loved and
loved and played with, and considering that she is compo
it is amazing that she still exists. Composition dolls
must be more durable than I thought. Grandpa had to
restring Dolly countless times, but she survived Mom's
childhood in spite of everything. Then, like so many
childhood dolls, she lay in a trunk for years as a
One year the family decided to have Dolly
restored without letting Mom know about it. I took her
from Mom's trunk and we paid a good sum to have her feet
and hands and nose repaired, and a new wig applied. I
made a very elaborate gown for Dolly. The whole family
contributed to the expense of Dolly's repair, so when
Christmas came around she was the "special"
gift from everyone. All this time, Mom had not noticed
Dolly's absence from the trunk. So, when she opened up
her gift on Christmas, the shock and surprise were
absolute. She cried.
Ever since, we have referred to that particular Christmas
gift as the ultimate. We try to top it, but we doubt that
we ever will be able to do better than the year we
Many girls give away (or throw away) their dolls when
they become teenagers. They do it willingly, anxious to
shed their childhood years and grow up into womanhood. I
gave all my dolls away (including some rare vintage
Barbies... aaach!) But, Mom would not let me give Jody
away. She said I would want that doll and I needed to
keep her. So, I did.
When I was a teenager I tried to repair Jody, who badly
needed it. I made a clumsy attempt to stabilize her head
(which was falling off) and I added additional stuffing.
We were very poor at the time and I had no money, so I
stuffed her with fabric scraps leftover from my sewing
projects rather than buy some batting to stuff her with.
Eventually, Jody went into a storage box and was
forgotten for many years.
Recently I refurbished Jody again because now I have the
skill to do it. I reattached her head securely, and when
I did, I discovered the fabric scraps inside. I was a bit
surprised to find them there. I pulled out handful after
handful of colorful fabric pieces and sat there with them
in my lap, transfixed. I remembered sewing these fabrics
and making clothing with them. An entire decade of my
life came flooding back into memory. I could touch, feel,
smell and see my years of the 70's in those colorful
Jody herself draws me even
further back into time, into the decade of my childish
self. In touching her, I can remember who I was, where I
was as a little girl. Those years are so far gone that
sometimes I wonder if I was ever that young. Jody is my
reassurance that indeed, I was.
When I hold Jody, touch
her, hold her arm-- it is like stepping into Narnia and
finding myself in a pleasant, magical and loving place.
She is the tangible "magic ring" that allows me
transport to another world so long gone.
And, those early years were significant for who I am now,
as well. I made choices, and events happened that, even
then, were determining my course and destiny. Jody helps
me remember who I was, how it started... how I got here,
I think that my mother was very wise in protecting Jody
as she did. I think that if a little girl has not chosen
a favorite doll, she should be encouraged to do so. And,
do not allow her to throw that doll away as she grows
past the need for it. Because she will need her Jody
again some day, and no other doll will be quite the same.
Recently I found a doll that looks just like
Jody, but she does not interest me. This look-alike is
not MY doll. She is not the one who has been with me all
these years. Jody's bruises are MY bruises: we did
childhood together and I was just as banged up as she
was. (I remember big scabs on my knees because I fell
with my bike too many times, and I still have the scars to
prove it.) Jody's hair is thin because I was the one who
loved her too much. She was used as a football by MY
brothers. Her appendectomy patch was put there by MY
mother, who can barely thread a needle but was determined
to repair the tragedy before her little girl got home to
find out about it.
The mod flower-power fabric scraps inside of Jody are
still there and will ALWAYS be there. Like Raggedy Ann,
Jody has secrets inside her heart that she does not tell
to anyone but me.
And now, I have told some of them to you.