Monday, February 02, 2009

Hello Creepy Dolly, What's Cookin' Creepy Dolly

I sat down in front of the computer at 5 p.m. on Saturday and next thing I realized, it was 9 p.m., my fingers were cramped and freezing and my eyes were burning from staring at the screen.
Had I really just been reading about DOLLS for the last four hours? Indeed, I had.

See, we are the lucky inheritors of a number of dolls dating back to the 1940s. I have stacks and stacks of dolls, their tiny fingers and plastic shoes and fake hair poking out of the tops of boxes in our spare room. Almost every doll is of the "sleep eyes" variety, which means their eyes open when the dolls' bodies are upright, and close when they lie down. Some of the eyes are being eaten by some sort of doll eye cancer. Some of them open only halfway. Some of the dolls have "flirty eyes," which means their eyes look side to side. Let me tell you, few things are creepier than an old doll that can look at you out of the corner of its eye.

Some of the dolls are "mama dolls," which means they have a mechanism in them that causes them to cry or say "mama" when you lay them down. Thank god none of these work any more.

I spent hours stripping vintage dolls of their delicate clothes and examining their butt cheeks, shoulders, necks and feet for markings that would reveal what kind of dolls they were. I would type the markings into a search engine, and discover the history of the dolls and, of course, what they are worth today, which in some cases is sort of obscene. Doll collectors will pay ridiculous amounts to add a plastic doll with a frozen expression of vacant boredom on its face and arms permanently outstretched for an embrace to their eerie collection of row upon row of dolls that line their living room walls.

In conducting my doll research, I discovered many a crazed woman who'd posted an all-too revealing photo of her vast and "adorable" doll collection. Dolls lined up shoulder to shoulder, each staring out, watching. There is something about these women that craves tiny, perfect, immobile plastic children. I can't imagine what it is, since most times that I catch the dolls staring at me when I walk by the spare room, it sends chills up my spine.

But if there are people out there who want to pay $400 for a 60-year-old 8-inch doll whose head turns from side to side when she "walks," Hubs and I will gladly accept it.

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