Monday, December 5, 2016

The Joy of Paper Dolls

Genuine play occurs when you lose sight of yourself and your life for
the moment. You are totally immersed in whatever physical or creative
activity with no awareness of the passing of time. You are truly awake
and alive. For some people, play may be more physical. For others, it
is a creative outlet for expression. However, both types of play can
satisfy our basic need for curiosity, exploration, and fun.

Jill Murphy Long 

Yesterday I ordered some paper dolls from Amazon.  I had hundreds of them when I was a little girl.  I cut paper dolls from catalogs, and from magazines.  On Saturday mornings granddad and I would get into his car and drive into town.  He'd give me some money to buy my paper dolls while he went and had coffee with his friends.  Oh, I could play with my paper dolls  for hours and come up with a hundred different stories to play.  It's not the same when we grow up.  Too bad.

This is not my first order.  I bought paper dolls last year and actually got around to cutting some of them out.  But it wasn't as much fun dressing them.  The stories just weren't there.  That wonderful childhood imagination that brought my paper dolls to life and gave them character, was no longer there, and try as I might I couldn't find it.  So, why spend money and buy more you may ask.  Because I just HAD to have Betsy McCall.  She brings me closer to my grandma, the woman I loved with all my heart.

It's funny how all these memories keep  popping up now as just as  I am about to enter into my 8th decade of life.  For so many years they'd been brushed aside while work and survival took precedence.  Oh, I thought of my grandparents often, but the idea of trying to reconstruct those wonderful childhood years, well, that just  never occurred to me.  Yet, here I sit  now with paper dolls, and coloring books, and crayons.  I love reading about fairies and elves and fairy tales are at the top of my list.  I ask myself, is this normal?  And why now?

I do have to admit that I didn't enter into my elder years without a fight.  For a time after I hit 50  I began lying about my age, coloring my hair, buying every anti-aging cream on the market.  I did everything I could to stop the aging process, but one day I realized that I wasn't going to win, I couldn't stop the years, so instead I began embracing them.  Well, maybe embracing is too strong a word.  Let's just say I accepted the passing of the years.  I gave up fibbing about my age, still use a face cream but don't spend money I no longer have trying every new one on the market.  I do still color my hair as well.   So, I cannot say that this childhood fascination comes solely from a fear of aging although I have a secret wish to spend at least ONE day with my grandma and grandpa.  

It is also so true that I find those long-ago memories so much  easier to retrieve.   I can forget what brought me  into the kitchen,  but I can remember riding grandma's broom around the back yard like it happened yesterday.  Can even remember the name I gave the broom/horse.  'Sowdy'.  Where that name come from, I have no idea.  But I do remember spending hours trotting around on that old maroon broom.

While it is true for many elders enjoying these past-time toys can enhance a combination of skills including cognitive, physical, social, emotional, and sensory skills, reduce anxiety and boredom, and promote a sense of well-being,  I can honestly say that  having these toys in my life continues to trigger many of those treasured memories which had been pushed aside and forgotten for so many years.     And, although I may lack that old imagination to play with them, they bring me joy in so many other ways.  They  bring me back to a happier, worry free time when all was right with the world.

1 comment:

  1. I remember paper dolls. This year a bought something similar for my six year old grand daughter...they are wooden dolls and outfits with a magnetic backing. Easier for small fingers to control. Was she delighted? Nah! Not interested at all.