What Mama did have was paper dolls. When the kids would go to town to a movie Mama (then known as Patty Jo) would save her popcorn money. Instead of an edible treat at the movie on the long walk home she would stop to buy paper dolls at the drugstore or "the five and dime".
By the time Patty Jo was ten or so she had quite a collection. Beautiful paper dolls of Deanna Durbin and other film stars, with lavish paper wardrobes. She also had a niece, about two years old, who really wanted the paper dolls. Her mother, who apparently had no idea what the paperdolls meant to Patty Jo, insisted that she give her paperdolls to little Susie. All of them. Naturally being a toddler little Susie tore them up.
Fast forward a few years, and Patty Jo, who is now called Patricia, has something better than a mere collection of paperdolls, she has a job (first as a waitress, then as secretary to the hospital's head of nursing) and a wardrobe of her own pretty clothes from the nicest dress shops in town. When they get nice things in that would look good with Patricia's bright blue eyes and flaming red curls the shop ladies set them aside in the back room and telephone her so she can come have the first look before they are put out to the general public.
She also begins to collect dolls. I doubt if she thought of it as "collecting dolls" in a 'this is a hobby' or 'this is important' kind of way. She just saw dolls she liked, bought them, and with her sister Dorothy began to sew stylish wardrobes for them.
|This is Little Miss Revlon. Her waist turns. She's pretty, elegant, and about half as tall as Dollikin. Also the possesser of a vast wardrobe.|
|This is Tiny Terri Lee. By the time I met her she had so many clothes they wouldn't all fit in her box. Of course dolls don't wear out their clothes or outgrow them.|
|This is an 8 inch Betsy McCall doll. Yes, same name as the magazine and the pattern company. Yes, commercial patterns were of course on sale so you could dress her. Yes, Mama's was very well dressed|
|Yo-Yo Clown. Mama made me one very much like this, which eventuallt succumbed to the ongoing disasters of living with small children.|
|This is a sleepy doll. Possibly meant to set a good example for nap-shy tots?|
|A Rose O'Neill Kewpie. My paternal grandmother made dresses for mine in the same fabrics as the dresses she made for me.|