Thinking back to your childhood, what was your favorite toy? Was it a stuffed animal? A blankie? Doll? Did you have one toy/thing that went everywhere with you and that you loved above all others? I did. It was a pink and white gingham doll named Tina. She had bright yellow yarn hair and blue pom pom eyes that my Grammie had to sew on over and over again because I was hard on that doll. My earliest memories include Tina and oh you guys…how I loved her.
When I was 9, we moved to Maine from New Jersey, and somewhere along the line..Tina got lost. I remember being absolutely heartbroken. She had been my best friend, my confidant and my day to day partner in crime for as long as I had been alive. I grew older and grew up, but never forgot my checkered pal.
As a grown up, I would love to have her simply for the fact that my Grammie, who was my everything and passed away long ago, had put so much love into keeping the doll whole for me. Sewing on loose eyes and hair and mending tears year after year.
Feeling nostalgic a few months ago, I started trying to find Tina again. I looked online, but couldn’t remember who had made her. Fisher-Price? Mattel? Googling “Pink and white rag doll” didn’t work. Lots of dolls, but not Tina. I scoured vintage (I’m old as dirt, y’all) doll sites, Amazon, ebay..but couldn’t find her. Maybe it was just too long ago…sigh. And then last night, I followed link after link down a seemingly endless interwebs rabbit hole..and found…TINA.
She was a Madame Alexander doll, which I should have known, my mother was a doll snob. I learned that She was called the Madame Alexander Funny Doll and she was made from 1963 to 1977, which explains why my mother could never find another one for me…we moved in 1978. By the time I lost my doll..she was no longer being made.
Armed with a manufacturer and name, I tried eBay again and this time hit paydirt. Someone had the doll shown above. They were asking an amount that I felt guilty spending, since I have kids of my own who need ALLTHETHINGS. But!! They had a “make an offer” option, so I did. I offered half, hoping against hope that I might have this little piece of my childhood back.
The seller got back to me quickly, accepting the offer. As we speak, Tina (maybe not my original Tina, but the memories are wonderful nonetheless) is winging her way towards Maine and will arrive just in time for my birthday on the 12th. She’s a gift to me, from me. A little reminder of a long ago childhood and a grandmother’s love.
Do you still have your special thing? Did your parents keep it or did you take it with you when you struck out on your own? I’d love to see the things you loved!