Old doll. New owner.

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Where you may see a worn old doll, I see a very special person in my childhood, my grandfather.

It is a Madame Alexander doll that my mother’s father, Banks, gave to me. We grandkids called Banks, “Poppy with Smoky” after Smoky, his bulldog.  I know. It’s complicated.

But I loved Poppy with Smoky. We had a very special relationship. After four grandsons, I was born–his only granddaughter and we just clicked.  Poppy with Smoky was my guy. MINE.  There is a story from my childhood when my mother sent me and Banks to the local bakery and he asked me what I would like. I couldn’t decide, so he bought one of every confection in the store.  Poppy with Smoky was very easy to love.

And this wonderful doll was my favorite, second to Raggedy Ann because Poppy with Smoky gave it to me. I thought she was the most beautiful doll in the world. I barely remember her original dress, but I think it was an old fashion hooped  dress similar to Annabelle in Tasha Tudor’s book, A is for Annabelle. I loved this doll so much. She only came out for special occasion.  I remember she used to sit in the linen closet out of my reach.  Then came the fateful day when I could reach her and promptly decided she needed to take a bath with me. Which is where she got that cloudy eye and roughed up hair.

But that didn’t keep me from adoring that doll.  I even made her that little skirt/dress she is wearing.  Although it is not on her, I made her a pair of stockings out of some old pantyhose, which have long since been lost.  And then I put her in a drawer and simply forgot about her, until my parents sent her to me in a box full of things they found in the attic.

As soon as I pulled her out of the box, I thought of Poppy with Smoky and how much I miss him and how much he would have loved LOVED the Peach.

Eric  thought the doll was terrifying and should be put out of its misery before it gives the Peach nightmares.

So you can imagine my delight when the the Peach fell in love with that old doll Poppy with Smoky gave me so many years ago.  I showed her a picture of Poppy with Smoky and how much I loved him and how special this doll was to me.  And how much Poppy with Smoky would have loved her.  She clutched my shabbily dressed, one eyed doll to her chest and said, “I LOVE HER!”

We decided to name the doll Hatty (short for Hattelina) after Poppy with Smoky’s mother. I think he would have liked that too.

Now, what to do about that hair… Do they make a hot oil treatment for dolls hair? And has anyone every fixed a doll eye?  Or am I going to have to make her a little eye patch?  Surely I can’t be the only who wrecked a doll as a kid!

13 thoughts on “Old doll. New owner.

  1. My sister-in-law said mixing a bit of fabric softener with water is a good conditioner for crazydollhair, so maybe try that? And it’s a simply lovely story, although I’m distracted by the amazing names in your family. Hattelina? Banks? And dare I suggest that the Peach’s middle name is in tribute to Poppy with Smoky?

    1. You are correct, Jody!

      And oh yeah–we have some crazy Southern names in our family. My mother’s side of the family tree goes back pretty far. My favorite is the Indian woman who died in 1820 who was named MORNING Jeffries. I tried to get Eric into that name, but he wouldn’t budge.

  2. yep, soak in water and fabric softener and then comb.

    she’s an effanbee doll!

    and yes! like susie says, doll hospital! they will be able to fix her sleepy eyes easily.

    this post is the best. my grandma would buy me effanbee dolls, their baby dolls are actually not CREEPY like every other baby doll on the planet and great condition! i will only get their babies for tovie, the best!

    1. I will look up Effanbee dolls right now! Man, I loved that doll as a kid! I’m glad to hear they weren’t scary dolls–I’m always looking for sweet dolls for Georgia as she really plays with ’em. Hard core!

    2. We were just looking them up….I think you are right, it’s an Effanbee! I had some Madame Alexander dolls and they had slghtly more cherubic faces. This one has a very elegant face! I love you know your dolls, girl!!

  3. You forgot one thing. A Madam Alexander doll was a very expensive doll in its time. Poppy With Smoky must have loved you a lot to spend a fortune on her–and you.

  4. Your story reminds me of my own, the dolly with the permanently glued-shut eyes.
    And look at that!! Already your talent for clothes making with that clever little dress for dolly. Thats impressive. i had homemade clothes for my dolls, sewn by big sister, and knitted by my Mom. I was no way handy in that department.

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