Donna Tyson

They gave me many happy hours in my childhood. I still have most of them, but they are not in the best condition.

SUSAN was the first one I got when I was 4. Years later, my Mom tells me that the whole family went to the Toy Department at Christmas, she had my Sister and me pick out the Doll we liked. Then, my Dad took us kids to the other side of the Toy Department while Mom bought the Dolls. I had a Twin Brother, and so I know they had him pick out some toy, also. I was surprised that she fooled me.

BETSY was a Tiny Tears doll I got for Christmas when I was in Kindergarten. She could drink water and wet her diaper. This was before Betsy Wetsy, and my Mom is sure they copied my idea for that popular doll. I had an Aunt Bessie, but don't know how I came up with the name of Betsy.

I remember being back to Kindergarten from Christmas vacation, and telling my classmates about my wonderful doll which I had brought to school to show. One little girl wanted me to demonstrate right then, and so a group of us went out to the cloak room where the big water circle was located for the demonstration. But we got in trouble, because that was not the time for this type of activity.

CATHY was my all time favorite doll. I got her when I was in the first grade. She was 3 feet long and could wear my baby clothes. She had a hard plastic head and a soft body with smooth vinyl exterior, and stuffed inside. When Christmas came around the time I was in the second grade, my Mom asked what kind of doll did I want for Christmas that year, and I said that I loved Cathy too much and did not need another doll. So, my Grandma made Cathy some new clothes for that Christmas.

This doll was literally loved to pieces. She got many, many hugs and kisses and slept with me every night for many years. Over the years she got two replacement bodies from the doll hospital. I particularly remember the last time. My Dad had picked Cathy up at the Doll Hospital and I was mortified to hear that Cathy rode home in the trunk of the car naked! I still have the head for Cathy and have inquired on how to get a new body made for her. It has not been something I could justify as an expense.

RAGGEDY ANN. I still have my Raggedy Ann and her original clothes. I always liked the "I Love You" Heart on her chest.

JEANNIE was given to me by my Aunt Jean. She had a hard body, dark rooted hair and could talk and walk and turn her head. She was about 20 inches high. I named her Jeannie after the song "Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair". My Grandpa liked that song. She really had darker hair, and I did not name her after my Aunt Jean.

SANDY was named after a cute blond girl at School. She had blond rooted hair and a soft plastic body. The toy makers were getting more advanced in doll making. My Grandma made Sandy some cute doll clothes. She made a cute red wool coat and hat that really looked cute on the blond doll. I still have the doll and the coat.

ANGEL was a "Littlest Angel" doll. She was a baby doll about 11 inches long. She was blond and you could buy lots of cute outfits for her. I was getting pretty old for dolls by this time. Maybe even seventh grade. But I did enjoy all the cute costumes that came with this doll. Around Junior High time, Barbie Dolls came out. My Mom asked me if I would like a Barbie Doll. I said "No". That I liked baby dolls. I liked being the Mama. I did not like dolls older than me. I had lots of trappings to go with my doll: beds, ironing board and a real electric iron. I liked to wash and iron their clothes.

When I was in the early grades, I had to get all my dolls up and dressed in the morning before I went to school. Because I was a "little mother", the family thought for sure I would grow up and have my own children. But it did not turn out to be the right thing for me, partly due to choice and partly due to circumstances. I did not want to be a working mom. If I had kids, I wanted to stay home and raise them myself. Why pay someone else to have all the fun?

I now have Fur Babies and feel very much like a mom. All my Mother Instincts have been satisfied. My furry ones are very dear and they know they are loved very, very much. My collection now includes my sister's two Toni Dolls. Remember the Toni Hair Products? I imagine they are worth some money, although they are not in good condition.

All my dolls were played with, but 15 years ago they survived a natural disaster when my mbile home was destroyed with hurricane force winds and I had to pick my childhood treasures off the muddy ground outside. I would like to fix all the dolls up. Some need repair, some need new clothes and use them as part of my home decor.

As an adult, I have gotten interested in cloth dolls. I have made a few, and would really like to make some more. I like folk art and folk dolls, and country things. I think cloth prairie dolls would add a nice country touch to home decor. I have collected cloth doll patterns for "someday" when I will have more time.