Saturday, 18 March 2017

Well Hello Dolly!

This week's photo prompt shows Louis Armstrong looking into the mirror at his dressing table. I've previously shown the few mirror photographs I have, so instead I looked up Louis's biography for possible inspiration, and was reminded that one of his most well-known songs was Hello Dolly, which pushed the Beatles off the top of the charts in 1964. Of course I know Louis wasn't singing about toy dolls, but it does provide a segue to that subject, particularly as I've recently been knitting and sewing clothes for my granddaughters' 'babies'.

Here are a few dolly photographs, both old and new.

Above is yours truly and friends at home in Cambridge in 1954. The doll on the left was my favourite cuddly companion, rather strangely called Bane for some long forgotten reason, but perhaps simply because I couldn't  pronounce Baby at the time. I no longer have Bane because sadly she deteriorated over the years, eventually looking like she had black stubble on her face, which wasn't particularly attractive in a female doll. 

I don't recall the other two dolls but I think the little one next to Bane is the sailor doll pictured below on the right in the photograph I took this morning after locating the pair up in the top of the wardrobe. He and his friend were my mother's rather than mine, and I don't know anything about their history, but they might have been bought aboard ship on our voyage from NZ to the UK in 1953. On his hat it says Sea Princess, and on the other doll's hat is RMS Mauritania. I haven't researched either of those two ships, but the ship aboard which we sailed to the United Kingdom was the Rangitata.

'Hello Sailor' would probably be more appropriate for these two fellows. I might even say they are 'lookin' swell' as the song goes. Somewhat faded but in pretty good condition for their age and after spending a long time up in the wardrobe (not to say closet). Enough said.

The next photo is recent but the doll herself is as old as the sailor figures. Her name is Kaye and she is a hard plastic Pedigree doll, given to me in 1954 by one of the mothers of the men who were killed along with my uncle Ken when the plane he was flying was shot down over Wuppertal Germany in June 1943. My mother visited all the men's families during the year we spent in the UK. Kaye lives up in the wardrobe too, and when I got her down recently to show my visiting English granddaughter, I discovered that she was in need of a little TLC, for example some new internal elastic to connect her head and limbs. Her clothes were also rather moth-eaten, so I've since repaired them as best I can, with new bootees, new trimming on her dress and coat and new ribbons so she looks much better now. I've previously shown a photo from about 1958 here that includes Kaye, second from left, and Bane, fifth doll from left. 

Here is Kaye now, 'still glowin', 'still goin' strong', in her new bootees and mended layette, but no new hair I'm sorry to say.
Moving on to 1964, when 'Hello Dolly' hit the charts, and here is my sister Louisa with her doll family. I know she still has the large doll wearing a bonnet whose name is Mary Anne, and she may also still have that teddy bear.


Although our two girls weren't great fans of dolls, you can see a photo previously posted of them with cabbage patch dolls here.

To the present day:

Above is our little Londoner Isabelle, aka Jeanie after her great grandmother Jean, with her baby Lucy, dressed in matching outfits by yours truly, while below is her little Australian cousin Lucy, currently inseparable from her doll Jeanie that I gave her for her birthday.


Time to say goodbye rather than hello, but for more blogs that may or may not be linked in some way to the prompt image, go to Sepia Saturday #359


tony said...

Real Dolls! Smashing Photos ! We Very Rarely See Children With Dolls ,More's The Pity.

ScotSue said...

I did like your different take on this week's prompt. I too was a dolly girl and they were very well dressed by my dressmaker mother, as were my daughter's Cindy dolls - I still have these 1970's miniature fashion statements up in the loft, tributes to my mother's talents. But my granddaughter has never shown the slightest interest in dolls, with her menagerie of soft toy animals the clear favourite.

La Nightingail said...

An imaginative post on the theme and great pictures. :) I had several dolls over my young life. Unfortunately none have been saved. One of my favorites when I was 4 yrs old was a soldier doll given to me by a man in my Dad's office when I was sick with Scarlet Fever. Sadly, in those days, it was thought that anything touched while sick with that illness had to be destroyed when the illness passed so I lost my soldier doll, a book I recall liking to look at a lot, and other things - including a panda bear I loved, and my security 'blankie'. The latter was the hardest to lose although at 4 yrs old, it was probably time to do without it anyway. Love the picture of Isabelle/Jeanie in her matching dress and hat. So cute - and what a fine seamstress you are!

Barbara Rogers said...

What a great segway for dolls and dolly. Lovely looking and reminds me of my favorites too. I only had sons, so we had lots of stuffed animals for a while, and I continue to have a few just in case a kid should drop by. Well, all my grands are too old these days, sigh. So I have grandmama toys that I can play with in secret. Tea anyone?

Mike Brubaker said...

A clever spin on Satchmo. His part in that movie made it a better musical and probably revitalized interest in his traditional jazz style which was then out of fashion.