Tuesday, November 5, 2013

It's a Mod, Mod World

A new box of vintage dolls to fix

I finally got to work on my new doll box. This is the one with dolls from the 1930s to about 1979. I assume this is a mother-daughter doll collection. The daughter would have been a bit older than I am, maybe 5-10 years, but I recognize some of her dolls from my own childhood. The funny thing is, even more than the dolls what is so familiar about them are the clothes. These are all fashions I remember my mother wearing!

The little Dinah Mite doll has outfits like those my mother wore back in the day. This doll has what looks like a factory ponytail, which is quite unusual. The mod maxi dress with gold mesh sleeves has the same snaps as Dinah's original jumpsuit, but it's not a dress I've seen before, so I think it's pretty rare.

Dinah Mite, by Mego, in her mod print maxi dress.

Although my mother was considered "old" to be having her first child at the time (she was in her late 20s when I was born), she was very hip when I was little, especially before my dad died when we lived in California and she was still herself. She would watch the Mary Tyler Moore show and copy her clothes from Mary's. She's a very competent seamstress. I well remember her maxi dresses and bell bottoms. She had a jumpsuit just like little Dinah Mite's. Hers was made of blue stretch velour and it was skin-tight. She wore it with a bunch of long gold necklaces and a chain belt and big gold chandelier earrings. The really sickening thing is she could wear it right after I was born, and it was too tight for me when I was in high school. My mother is one of those people who believe you can never be too thin. One of my worst memories is from when I was 6 or 7 years old. My mom was going through her clothes throwing out things she didn't want anymore. She had a white macramé belt I loved and she said I could have it, but when I tried to put it on it was too small for me. That's how tiny she was! My mom is 5'4" and my dad was 6'4". I took after my dad and have just always felt way too large.

Dinah's purple jumpsuit.

In Ohio I don't stand out like I do down here. In fact, I am one of the shorter women on my dad's side of the family. In North Carolina, however, the different ethnic mix results in much more petite people and I always feel like some giant troll lumbering around. This weekend, since I've been feeling lonely, Jerry set up a great surprise visit with my friend Wendy, who I haven't seen since we were in college. One of the first things she said was, "Gosh, I forgot how tall you are!" I told her I noticed in all the high school photos everyone was posting on Facebook before our chorus reunion, I'm always slouching, bending over, sitting, pretty much anything I could do to try to look smaller. I remember my Grandma Margie was quite upset about it at the time and she used to make me walk around with stacks of books and pillows balanced on my head. I would have to set the table or put magazines away or other chores while balancing the books so I would learn to walk around with grace. She was quite tall herself and had grown up in Georgia, so I'm sure she understood the temptation to hunch over and try to fit in. I will always be grateful to her for teaching me how to be comfortable (most of the time) in my own skin.

These mod go-go boots may have originally been for Skipper, but they fit Dinah perfectly.
One of these days I'm going to have to visit Georgia. Besides Grandma growing up there, my dad was born in the state. I've driven through it on the way to other places but never stopped to see it. Friends of mine who visit Savannah are always informing me I would love it.

Aimee fashion doll by Hasbro, 1972

This Aimee doll really reminds me of my early childhood. My mom had the exact same haircut for a while. Aimee originally came with chandelier earrings like the ones my mom wore, but this doll lost hers. I gave her a pair of oval "diamond" studs. We both had long dresses like Aimee's. I remember a Christmas dress like this that was particularly hard to wear because it had a lace hem right down to the floor and I was always stepping on it and ripping it out. Aimee's original owner was apparently a future nurse; she put a Band Aid on Aimee's arm and there it stayed all this time. It shows a lot of foresight; that's the only part of Aimee's arms that aren't discolored from the dress! Unfortunately, this dress, though lovely, turns all the dolls' arms green. Any well-kept Aimee who's been wearing her dress, even the mint in the box ones, has these green arms. It's a good thing the long sleeves cover most of it up!

Aimee's original owner applied this Band Aid, which I removed and cleaned, long ago.
Ken is an interesting doll in this collection. He partied way too hard this Halloween, I guess! He wears the "masquerade" clown suit, #794 from 1963, but he's missing the clown mask, painted hat with attached yarn hair, white skull cap, shoes, and his party invitation.


I don't know exactly what year this Ken is. I've never seen this one with the twist waist before. He has the bendable knees like the Ken dolls of the 1980s, but he has the earlier 1960s face. My guess would be late 60s to early 70s, based on the other dolls in the box.

I've never seen this vintage-face, twist-waist Ken before.
Indiana Jones is the only doll from my time in this collection. This is a custom doll. He started life as the first issue Kenner Han Solo 12 inch action figure doll from 1979. Everything you read about this doll is how much it really does look like Harrison Ford, and it's true. He's instantly recognizable. Naturally, since he'd be worth a fortune with his original clothing and accessories, his original owner lost everything but his boots! Instead, he's dressed in brown pants and a khaki shirt, which of course makes him look like Indiana Jones. These clothes fit very well and they are nicely-made. I'm sure they are factory issue for some doll, but I don't know who. Maybe they belonged to another Star Wars character, or maybe GI Joe. My childhood friend, Ryan, had every one of these Star Wars figures and all the vehicles and everything. If he still has his collection it's worth some serious money. He was careful with his stuff, but we played with those things all the time.

Kenner Han Solo from 1979, missing all but his original boots.

I just ordered a big lot of new-old-stock vintage doll hats, all unused, and it just happened to contain a brown cowboy hat. I gave it to Harrison and now he's an exclusive Indiana Jones doll, oh excuse me, action figure. Han/Indiana had quite a bit of hair loss on top of his head and eyebrow loss, so I re-painted these with acrylic paint and sealed it with high gloss varnish. Otherwise, Harrison just needed cleaning. He does has some scratches on the end of his nose and his back, but these are tiny, and both his characters were always getting beat up, so it's accurate I guess!

Han Solo re-done as Indiana Jones

It's good to have gotten something done. I'm on my third week of being sick. I keep almost getting well and then we have to stay up really late or get up early or I overdo it and then I relapse. I had such a wonderful time visiting Wendy and her family, but by the time we got home I'd lost my voice completely. I slept most of Sunday and yesterday, so I felt well enough today to walk down to the lake, I thought, but now I'm really dragging. I was glad to see the lake again, though. Today it was like a sheet of green glass. I startled a Great Blue Heron and he took to the air, the water a jade mirror reflecting his flight.

I absolutely have to get the house cleaned. It's really gotten dirty while I've been sick and this weekend my parents and my sister and her family are all coming to stay. They want to have another birthday party for my daughter. It's my week to drive for band again, and I signed up to take pastries in for the pre-school teacher brunch. I've got to learn to politely decline some of these requests! I guess I'll try to power-nap for a bit before the evening drive time. Oh, and we have a concert to attend tonight as well. It's been good to take a little trip through the past, but now it's back to work! These dolls and many more are available in my store: http://stores.ebay.com/atelier-mandaline.

 

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