Monday, August 31, 2009

Living in the Past




I don't know why my mind has been "harking" back to the past so much these days. Last night my dreams were filled with my grandmother, my mother and my Aunt Florence and Uncle May. No, that's not a misprint, his name was Arnold May Sellers and I believe it was a family name...he was called May. In my dream I could see them all and chatted with them as though I were 8 years old again and in the center of their hearts. By the way, all these beloved people are no longer on this side of the veil.

Like I said, the past has been on my mind quite a bit lately and yesterday while chatting with Lee I asked her if she remembered the Betsy McCall paper dolls. She assured me that she remembered them well, having played with them at her grandmother's house. I remember playing with my Betsy McCall on the floor of our apartment in Washington, DC. I was about 4 at the time, and I know you find it hard to believe that I can remember these things, but I do. I remember my toy ambulance with working lights and sirens from that era, too. But Betsy was special. I had my little scissors (metal not plastic) and waited eagerly for my mother to finish the magazine so that I could acquire my "pasted to hard board" Betsy some lovely new clothes. Now, my mother sewed, she and all her sisters learned to make their own clothes when Home Ec meant just that. Home Economics! Mama sewed beautifully and collected patterns for our clothes from McCall's huge drawers located in the cloth shops she frequented. Betsy's dresses were often found in the deep long drawers located under the cutting tables. So yesterday, Betsy was as real in my mind as she had once been in my hands.

Cooties. Do you remember the game Cooties? Doesn't sound very nice, does it? But it was a game along with so many others...the card games we learned like Old Maid, War and Rook. I loved it when my older sister Holly would come down off her high horse long enough to play a game of Rook with her annoying little sister. It never lasted long, but I felt special while it was going on. We played Monopoly, of course. It was the lucky player who wound up with not only Boardwalk, but Park Place , too. Usually that indicated a winner...but not always! And the year I got my really nice Bingo set with the turning basket and genuine bake lyte bingo numbers...wow! I was forever trying to get a game of Bingo organized!

But Scrabble has forever and always been my favorite game. I introduced it to my boys as soon as they learned to spell. First it was Scrabble Junior, then they became such good spellers that we packed it away for the real deal. While some families get together to play poker, we crowd around a Scrabble board. Now, Arianna is included in this fast paced game of words and meanings. Lee and I play online nearly everyday. It's something I look forward to.



But of all my toys of the past, Betsy McCall stands out in memory and I can't say why. I don't know why. But I found her online last night and she's about to become mine again. Of course, I'll let Arianna play with her. I want her to have such a memory, too.

74 comments:

Lee said...

Sandi, I loved this post for all the memories it brought back. I'm going to start thinking of a response post. Thank you for the wonderful inspiration!

I vaguely remember playing rook but not how the game worked, please remind me? We also played pick up sticks, go fish, and go to the head of the class (a family favorite). My grandmother taught me my adding and multiplication on dominoes and card games such as canasta. We also had a game of Life. That too was fun. As an adult I learned Pente and taught it to my Mom & Dad. They liked it so much that I bought them a game. I learned how to play Trivial Pursuit from the same crowd I learned Pente from and was a popular team member because of my "well rounded" education. Honestly, you couldn't have picked a better subject to write on!

Hugs & Love,
Lee

Sandi McBride said...

From Lee I have been told I should mention that the image at the bottom of my post is a pencil sketch of Arianna done by my son, Wallace...it catches her perfectly!
Sandi

Cheffie-Mom said...

I was about to ask who drew the sketch. Your son is very talented! I can just imagine the look on Arianna's face when she plays with Betsy for the first time! Hugs!

Beth P. said...

Hi Sandi--
This made me smile--of course I remember Betsy! And then later do you remember the clothes that you could peel off the paper--they were plastic and several years later.

I remember almost all the games you and Lee mention. I can't remember what the context of rook was either, but we loved it.

Thanks for laying out your memories is such vital images, and I know Arianna will love Betsy, too!

lailani said...

This post makes me feel good. :) I remember cooties - we actually played it with a set my mother had when she was a child. I had paper dolls - but not McCall. I had a set with a chunky dark haired doll. The doll and all the clothes were in a white with pink polka dot folder. hmmmm, I must google now! hehe

Have a good day!

Maggie May said...

This is my 3rd attempt to leave a comment! Can't say I don't try!
I cannot remember that exact doll. We mightn't have had them over here but I did have similar ones and spent hours playing with them. I used to design my own clothes for the dolls eventually. It was my favourite thing to do.

OldBagNewTricks said...

Sandi, thank you so much for visiting my resurrecting blog. I am heartened.

Such lovely memories you have of your aged family members who held you at the center of their hearts. How dear. As an aside, Betsy McCall was a favorite of mine too -- a somewhat more vintage version!

The sketch of your daughter is breathtaking -- Wallace is very talented.

Oh, and that chair is now reupholstered, to where the girls are NOT allowed to perch in it... something is a little wrong about that, but that is how it is.

Nice to meet you.

Jenny

Candy said...

I don't remember having any of these paper dolls but I did have the Barbie, Ken and Skipper dolls. I had dresses for them (well not Ken) and little cotton ball pillows with matching blankets. We have the Cooties game and also our family favorite back then was a PollyAnna board game.
Thanks for the stroll down memory land ;-)

Hilary said...

I loved my paper dolls and for some time couldn't quite get enough of them. It was heartbreaking if one of the cut-out tabs was snipped or torn off by mistake. The dress just wouldn't hang right!

I love the memories you evoked. Isn't it comforting how dreams take us back to our childhood like that?

Lovely sketch.

Hilary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Akelamalu said...

Lovely nostalgic post Sandi. :)

Anya said...

Wonderful post,
memories are always GREAT :)))))

Pastor Sharon said...

Sandi,
Thanks for the walk down memory lane. I don't remember that particular paper doll. However, my mom was a seamstress and I had paper dolls. Chances are they may have been just like yours. I just don't remember.

What I do remember is Mom making my button down collar oxford cloth shirt and putting an IZOD alligator on it so I would be "in style" with the rest of the kids.
After that, everyone wanted Mom to make them a shirt too.

She was good like that. She just got it. And she still does. I miss her. Thanks for the story.

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

yep, played 'em all. When I was first married we had running games of Monopoly that we played with other couples in the apartment building. That game would last for weeks. When my grand-daughter was visiting this past July I tried to get her interest in paper dolls. I went on line and found one and we made all kinds of clothes but it really didn't interest her. I was rather disappointed. :(

Jeni said...

Boy, talk about dredging up some memories, you sure did it with this post! I was a paper doll FANatic! Loved 'em! My Grandma hated when I would get out the big box I had them all stored in because I would have them all over the living room floor -quite a mess, for sure. My dolls were often clad in outfits I cut out from old catalogs too that I begged one of neighbors to have when she was finished with them -Sears, Aldens and Spiegals -and a pair of scissors and my dolls had brand new wardrobes aplenty! Cooties was also another game my cousins and I often played when they would be here visiting, as well as monopoly too! I don't know why my Mom never got me the Scrabble game though and I don't remember ever getting it for my kids either come to think of it -and they sure cold have used that game, for sure!
And dreams! Geesh -mine all tend to be of me being a waitress again at the truckstop where I used to work and this time around, everyone is always yelling and bitching at me to move faster, faster and I'm always yelling back at them that I am moving as damned fast as my old legs will take me! Those aren't dreams are they -they are nightmares!

Kat said...

That sketch of Arianna is wonderful!

It's fun to go down memory lane to when times were just a bit sweeter...more innocent. Great post.

Hugs!
Kat

Penny @ The Comforts of Home/Lavender Hill Studio said...

I loved Besty McCall! And I do remember Cooties....how about Mr. Potato Head? When you used to use a REAL potato?

Jacks....pick-up sticks and hula hoops.
Hugs,
Penny

Moannie said...

You certainly dug up some memories with this post, and I am sure it is going to bring forth an abundance of 'toys I have loved' posts.

Lovely story, thank you.

Moannie said...

You certainly dug up some memories with this post, and I am sure it is going to bring forth an abundance of 'toys I have loved' posts.

Lovely story, thank you.

Moannie said...

You certainly dug up some memories with this post, and I am sure it is going to bring forth an abundance of 'toys I have loved' posts.

Lovely story, thank you.

John Gray jgsheffield@hotmail.com said...

yours is not the typical blog I would read, but I accessed it through a friend....
very moving

take care



johnx

Love Bears All Things said...

Yes, I remember Betsy. I remember paper dolls very well.
And I love to play scrabble.
Thanks for the memories.
Mama Bear

Carver said...

This post took me back to my childhood. I also played with Besty McCall paper dolls. I also remember dress patterns that I think were McCall which me and my sisters had dresses made out of. Being the 3rd daughter I ended up wearing a lot of dresses after my sisters did but I remember patterms which I think were McCall which we had dresses made from.

SandyCarlson said...

Betsy and Cooties and Scrabble still tantalize my memory, too. I loved all that stuff. Especially the doll world. Made me feel safe and cozy. I loved it.

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

Hey Sandi...thanks for the memories! I enjoyed most of these too along with Jacks and Hop Scotch! I taught my grans to play Hop Scotch. :)

Sandy said...

Fabulous! Love Scrabble - my all time favorite game! War loved that game and slap jack - remember that one?
Hope you have a wonderful week.
Sandy

Jeanne said...

Must be the changing seasons that puts us in a nostalgic mood Sandi. I remember Betsy McCall paper dolls. And I remember McCall's magazine having the dolls in the magazine when Crystal was little. Cooties LOL haven't thought of them in ages. they looked like big ants with antenae.

Pam said...

Oh I remember Cooties. I don't remember the object of the game but I do remember fitting those legs onto the bug thing. My grandmother had a carton of "pick up sticks" at her house that we alwas played. I use to ask for one myself but dad said I could just "pick up sticks" in the yard. hrumph! ;)

david mcmahon said...

We all find comfort in the past, yet we face up bravely to the future.

♥ Boomer ♥ said...

I remember Betsy! I must go rummage through my old things. Dig into my big trunk. See if I have her still. Loved this post so much! What kids miss today is opportunity for the imagination -- because everything is already out there on television. We had to make it up as we went along.

Karen M said...

Thanks for bringing back pleasant memories. That was a great post. I played with paper dolls and I believe I had a Betsy McCall one among others. I've been playing scrabble on facebook lately.

Are you on facebook?

mihalisThalassis - halkida said...

Sandi Good morning. I was very hi your comment. The fire fortunately managed and reduced quickly.

hello. Michael

♥ Braja said...

I can see the arm wrestling between you and Arianna now :)

i beati said...

I remeber them all and especially the feeling I got when each Christmas one of the above became mine. The feeling of her in my hand, a farm girl who only got toys once a year. what a treasure !!!

Alix said...

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful post! And well deserving of David McMahon's nomination for POTD.

I not only remember Betsy McCall paper dolls, but had them and played with them and loved them as you do in your reminiscing. And I also had an older sister who occasionally came down off her mount. And we also played War. And we threw cooties accusations around like nobody's business. Are we related????

I hope so!

jay said...

We didn't have Betsy in England but we did have paper dolls! They were about 6" high, if I remember rightly, and stood up on little fold-back stands. The clothes all had little tabs on them you had to fold round the model to dress her! Gosh, I'd forgotten all about them, but I did love playing with them!

Scrabble is one of my all-time favourite games. We didn't have that one as children, but I spend a lot of time playing it online now - using the Facebook 'International' version. But 'fast-paced'? Never was that! When we played it with our own children you could wander off and make a cup of tea between turns!!

I guess we should have used an egg-timer!

Sally said...

Awwww, such a sweet story, Sandi. I don't remember Betsy, but I do remember having a Sparkle Plenty doll. :)

My favorite game back in the day was Jacks; I loved it!

Another favorite taught to me by my grandmother was Canasta. I can't find anyone who knows how to play. But, yes, SCRABBLE; my mom and I played that all the time!!

Have a wonderful day!! (hugs)

Deborah said...

Hello and happy to meet you. OOoo, you must be of "a certain age" for these are some of my memories too. **blows kisses** Deborah

ancient one said...

I remember Betsey McCall paper dolls and yes we got them out of the magazine....

Old catalogs were good too.. we decided which one was to be the doll and cut that one out without arms... then we cut the arms out with the dresses we liked so the doll had her arms in different postitions... we licked the back of the dress and it stuck to the doll long enough for us to show her off... then we'd pick another dress.. lick it and play on...

I finally got some store bought paper dolls that I played with forever.. one day in school I noticed another girl tracing around her paper doll and making the little tabs ans she decorated the perfect fitting dresses the way she wanted.. that afternoon when I got home... my doll got a whole new wardrobe of homemade clothing....

Thanks Bee for a wonderful memory....!

Daryl said...

Congrats on the POTD mention .. and I share these memories with you except that I am the older sister.

FrenchGardenHouse said...

I loved Betsy! wasn't it such a thrill when a "new" one came in the mail slot? Thanks for the sweet memories.
xo Lidy

Mary said...

Hi
I remember those type of dolls as well abd the magazine my mother used to get with the cut out clothes for them. How simple life was then!

Jan said...

So happy you were blessed with a visit from you loved ones! LOVE when that happens!
I had a Betsy McCall paper doll! I remember her well! I loved my paper dolls!
I never in my entire life have played Scrabble! Ever! I buy scrabble games at yardsales, but just for the tiles! LOL!

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

Great Post Sandi....great award too.

I remember Cooties too, from my times in Canadian and Us schools..

SCrabble of course still play it now on facebook with old friends..
and yes I am often told I live in the past...well I am keen on nostalgia..and I DO run a Vintage clothing business after all...

and then there are my old handbags...Moannie gave me a very old one last week for my birthday its Regency!! and its FAB..so yes its official I am sad..

Mockingbird Hill said...

Let's see...CandyLand?? Chutes & Ladders?? Uncle Wiggly?? Go To The Head Of The Class?? We had lots of board games and absolutely wore them out!

I did have paper dolls and my grandmother would take an old "tall" magazine...like "LIFE"...and fold every other page in half, towards the center of the magazine. Then, open each one up and put a paper dress or hat in between the pages. Kept it all neat, wrinkle free and most importantly, all in one place!

Thanks for the nice thoughts, dear Sandi!

Cassie

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

I loved my paper dolls...but have no recollection of Betsy McCall. McCall's sewing patterns are another matter..since everything at home was homemade. Great memories...all of our games of old. We still play Rook...nearly every day...a two-player version. I love Scrabble...but only had one son who liked playing with words and he's not around much these days.

Great sketch of Arianna!

Mariana Soffer said...

Beautiful post, it made me feel nostalgic for real. I read your post because I saw it on authorblog and the name caugh my atention due to the words I have on the top of my blog which I was just commenting about with a blogger man, the words are: The past is not dead, it´s not even past

bye and congrats for an excelent post

Toni (Sandi's little sis!) said...

I also remember Betsy McCall paperdolls! I also recall pasting them on cardboard. Must have been some kind of family tradition carried on. Hmmm-favorite toys of our childhood would include Author's playing cards and a game called Junior Executive probably bought at Hageman's Dime Store. I also loved the Doctor's and Nurse's Kits. I feel like I bought these toys over and over again. Thanks Sandi for helping me recall a time gone by!

SandyCarlson said...

Our flag is a work of art. Thanks for stopping by.

The Things We Carried said...

Sandi,

I would adore some toys from childhood! Glad you took the plunge :).

Mary Isabella and Kiley too! said...

I adore those paper dolls too. I also found them on line and print them for my Granddaughter and I. I would set with my Grandmother on the front porch and play with my paper dolls for hours. Thank-you for this post...m..

Clelia said...

I also remeber my toys... my childhood and who are no longer on this side of the veil. Sweet memories.

ps. I will be a great feeling to have your Betsy in your hends again :)

Clelia from london

Suldog said...

Cooties! Absolutely, had that game and loved playing it. I wasn't much on dress-up dolls, of course, but I did have an E-Z Bake Oven, if that helps :-)

granny grimble said...

What a lovely trip down memory lane that was. Thank you very much.I also loved dressing up my paper dolls. Mine, like Jay's, stood up on a little stand, and I used to trace around the figure to design new dresses complete with tags for my doll. I also loved five stones (jacks), hopscotch, and whips and tops and 'two balls'. We still have so many board games but my all time grown up favourite game was, and still is, Scrabble.

granny grimble said...

What a lovely trip down memory lane that was. Thank you very much.I also loved dressing up my paper dolls. Mine, like Jay's, stood up on a little stand, and I used to trace around the figure to design new dresses complete with tags for my doll. I also loved five stones (jacks), hopscotch, and whips and tops and 'two balls'. We still have so many board games but my all time grown up favourite game was, and still is, Scrabble.

Vee said...

Oh yes! I remember Betsy, too. She was not my favorite paper doll however. I adored paper dolls and two sets come to mind...the Lennon sisters and a Bridal party. Lucky me, my grandmother saved all my mother's paper dolls and we could play with them when we visited. Doris Day, Rosalind Russell, and Lana Turner come to mind.

Who drew that wonderful sketch of Arianna? It so perfectly captures a young girl's energy and enthusiasm. Hope that she enjoys Betsy, too.

Vee said...

Oh, did you notice how nicely I skated past that bit about your visiting with the relatives? I do that sometimes, too. It's always very pleasant. Sounds as if you enjoyed it.

Jamie Dawn said...

My parents were here visiting for awhile, and we always reminisce about the past. I love having such good, wholesome memories from my childhood years. I know many people are not so blessed.
I remember playing Chinese jump rope and jacks a lot.
Scrabble is on of my favorite games! I guess we word fiends just can't get enough!
:-)
Arianna is blessed to have you for a grandmother.

Deb said...

What a wonderful walk down memory lane ~ thanks for stirring up warm memories. And if you are ever in NH, we'll sit around and play a game or two of Scrabble, my favorite game, also. And the pencil sketch of your granddaughter is just beautiful. Take care.

Lawstude said...

very nicely written. we all really have a favorite toy. i remember to have a favorite action figure that i still keep up to this day.

Dr.John said...

Lots and lots of my childhood in that post. No paper dolls but everything else.
Thanks so much for sharing.

Lee said...

Love the Alzheimer's ribbon, Sandi! My maternal grandmother had it. I've dedicated my ribbon to her. Thanks for this! I know too many people I care about who have it!

Love,
Lee

CatHerder said...

wow memories!! although i LOVE my wii, i still would rather sit and play a boardgame, we saved them all...i especially love scrabble too!

Tee aka The Diva's Thoughts said...

Wow!! I love vhildhood memories like that. You've made me think about some of my own memories. Great post.

Finding Pam said...

Lovely trip down memory lane, but you forgot Mr.Potato Head and the fresh potato

Finding Pam said...

Lovely trip down memory lane, but you forgot Mr.Potato Head and the fresh potato

Finding Pam said...

Lovely trip down memory lane, but you forgot Mr.Potato Head and the fresh potato

Finding Pam said...

Lovely trip down memory lane, but you forgot Mr.Potato Head and the fresh potato

Finding Pam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RBK's Realm said...

Did not realize how much I missed reading your blog till this post which brought back a lot of memories at my end too especially the ones about Scrabble and Monopoly. Funny family cross cultural boundaries because I remember growing up with brothers and playing Scrabble and Monopoly in New Delhi, India years and years ago.

Thank you for continuing to be an inspiration through your life as I am again motivated to get back to my blog writing again.

Cheers!

Sandy said...

So many years dropped away as I read your post. I, too, love Scrabble. My sister (who will be 82 this year) and I play on-line. I pay for her subscription as a birthday gift every year. We used to play the board game Scrabble a whole lot before she moved up north. I think the plastic doll stuff was Colorforms?

Franzine Kafka said...

lovely blog. thanks for taking the time to come to mine.

Susie Q said...

This was wonderful! I adored betsy! My Grandmother got McCalls and cutting out the dolls was always a treat for me. I still have somne of them!
I had the very game too! I wish I STILL had it!
What sweet memories!!
Love,
Sue

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