Monday, June 5, 2017

Tennille's Story (unidentified brunette Tonner doll)

I've lived here with Treesa for quite a while now, yet I've never told her my original factory name. The truth is that I don't want Treesa to ever call me by my factory name. Too many of my memories are tied to that name, and if I ever did hear Treesa use it I can't honestly say how I would react. But I think Treesa understands.

When Treesa first purchased me from the thrift store, her intuition told her that my previous owner may have died. In this age of online auction sites, Tonner dolls do not turn up at second-hand venues every day, and I was not the only Tonner doll on the shelves when Treesa came in. This suggested to Treesa that someone's entire collection had been donated, and that whoever made the donation either wasn't aware how much Tonner dolls are worth or just didn't care. Treesa was right. My previous owner did pass away, and her surviving family did get rid of her entire collection.

I have very fond memories of my previous owner. She was very selective in her collecting, so consequently each of us dolls meant something special to her. She began collecting late in life, but I'll always remember what a vibrant woman she was, even when her health began to decline. For a while she was in and out of the hospital, but when nothing more could be done for her she opted to receive care at home. I like to think that looking at us dolls, neatly arranged on the shelves in her room, gave her some pleasure in her last days.

I don't think my previous owner's family ever really understood her hobby. They indulged her whenever she talked about us dolls, but they always seemed bemused by her enthusiasm for the subject. After she was laid to rest they set to work cleaning out her house for sale. Her possessions were divided among them, and anything that wasn't claimed was either donated or thrown away. I arrived at the thrift store with the rest of my Tonner doll friends, and we were priced and put out for sale.

I was still grieving for my previous owner, so much so that I didn't really give much thought to my own future. Then Treesa came into the store. She carefully picked up each of us one by one, studying our markings and the details of our clothing, looking at us as if she'd never seen a Tonner doll up close before. I discovered later that before that day at the thrift store Treesa had only ever seen pictures of Tonner dolls, and that she'd never actually held one in her hands. I also found out later on that, even at thrift store prices, Treesa couldn't afford to buy all of us, and that she chose me because I seemed in her eyes to be the most versatile. My clothing and hairstyle were simple enough that Treesa felt she could redress me in other outfits someday without feeling guilty that it might lower my monetary value.

At first, Treesa tried to discover my original factory name through online research. However she had very little to go on, since Tonner has manufactured a wide variety of doll lines and I wasn't inclined to point her in the right direction. For some reason the thought of anyone besides my previous owner calling me by my factory name upset me. Treesa eventually decided that I couldn't stay unnamed any longer. After all, she had to call me something. The brand name Tonner made her think of the name Toni, but Treesa didn't think that Toni suited me. However the name Toni made her think of singer Toni Tennille, and so Treesa decided to call me Tennille.

Adjusting to life in Treesa's collection has been difficult, for several reasons. I've had to deal with the loss of my previous owner and my Tonner doll friends of course, but I've also had to adjust to the size discrepancy between me and Treesa's other fashion dolls. As far as I'm aware, Treesa doesn't own any other dolls in my scale. Of Treesa's fashion dolls, the one closest to me in height would probably be Shana, from Hasbro's Jem doll line. But Shana is still noticeably shorter than I am. Despite how welcoming Treesa's other fashion dolls have been, I feel awkward trying to carry on a conversation with them.

Treesa also has a collection of 18 inch dolls, but because of how they're molded 18 inch dolls usually have the physical appearance and the mindset of children. There are certain topics that are just easier, and more appropriate to discuss, with a more mature doll. While it would be nice to have friends in my own scale again, I know that the likelihood of Treesa buying another Tonner doll is quite small, given the high cost. Still she found me at the thrift store. There's no harm in wishing that she'll find another Tonner doll there at a price she can afford.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Celebrating Geek Pride Day

Hello friends and visitors. This is Treesa, wishing you all a happy Geek Pride Day. When I first found out about the existence of Geek Pride Day I was all for it. I like the idea of a day where devotees from various fandoms can come together to celebrate all things geeky.

I was planning to do a special photo shoot this week for today's post, but it wouldn't stop raining. So here are a couple of geeky photos from the archives.

Misty with Tom Servo (Mystery Science Theater 3000)

Carrie with R2D2 (Star Wars)

Thanks for stopping by.
Signed, Treesa

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Two Year Blogiversary Post

This post is dedicated to everyone who has visited 'Fashion Doll Memoirs'. I would like to start off by saying, "Thank You". Thank you to everyone who has read, commented on, or followed this blog. Thank you for your support and your input. Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to get to know the dolls in my collection through their stories. I hope that the time you've spent with my dolls has brought you as much enjoyment as they've brought me.

I started this blog with the belief that every doll has a story to tell. At the time only two of my dolls had committed to writing one post each, and I was unsure if I could convince enough of my dolls to contribute stories to sustain a blog. Add to this my mediocre photography skills and it really is amazing to me that 'Fashion Doll Memoirs' has done as well as it has. Over the course of two years this blog has earned 12 followers and has been nominated to participate in the Liebster Award, the Quote Of The Day Challenge, and the Great Doll Blog Award. Not bad for a blog with less than 100 posts.

For this two year blogiversary post, I thought I would give you a glimpse of the person behind the blog. The photo below was taken on a family vacation to Wildwood a few years ago. My face is mostly obscured by the camera I'm holding; I took the picture myself by photographing my reflection in the car window. I was trying to be all artistic, but the end result didn't turn out the way I was hoping.

This photo should give you a general idea what I look like. I didn't feel comfortable using a better picture, partly for privacy reasons and partly because I don't think I photograph well. I tend to smile too big when I know I'm being photographed, which looks fake and makes my eyes scrunch up too much.

Thank you again for stopping by and enjoy the rest of your day.
Signed, Treesa

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Platinum's Story: A 'Redress Success' Update (unidentified customized blond Barbie)

Treesa's 'experimenting' with a new look for me. She was never completely happy with how my hair turned out, and even though the blue ball gown she dressed me in did sort of match the color streaks in my hair it didn't really fit the 'look' Treesa was going for. So Treesa added a rubber band to my hair to give it more 'shape' and redressed me in jeans and a crop top.

Treesa's hoping to get me a 'real' headband someday. She wants something that will hold up better than a rubber band. Rubber bands usually don't age well. They either get brittle and break or they melt. But a rubber band should be ok for now, and my hair does look better. Here's a reminder of what it used to look like.

When it comes to my outfit, I don't really care one way or the other. I've never been that obsessed with clothes, even though I'm a fashion doll. But I'll admit the blue ball gown I wore before was a little too dressy to be lounging around the house in, though it might've worked if I was a Disney Princess doll. If there's one group of dolls who can wear fancy gowns without looking overdressed it's the Disney Princesses.

Stay Shiny, Platinum

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Elsa's Story: Chapter 5 (Disney Frozen Birthday Party Elsa by Mattel)

(This post will be a continuation of the previous post. I will be picking up where I left off, so you may want to read Chapter 4 to avoid confusion.)

The next time that Merida wanted Christian and Sven to join her and Nora for a game, Christian immediately said yes. However, when he and Sven came back from their 'playdate' Christian was frowning. "Christian, what's wrong?" I asked. Christian looked up at me and said, "Elsa, I don't think I like playing with Merida."

"Can you tell me why?" I asked. There was no judgment in my voice. I didn't want Christian to think that he had said something wrong. I only wanted to understand why he felt the way he did. Christian struggled a little as he tried to put his feelings into words. "When me and Sven play, just us, nobody wins or loses," Christian said. "We just have fun. But when me and Sven played with Merida and Nora, Merida always had to win." Christian's face took on a sour look and he added, "And she said Elsie's dress was stupid." Sven snorted, as if to emphasize Christian's words.

I could easily understand why that last comment had upset Christian. Elsie had been one of his closest friends. Saying Elsie's dress was stupid was, in Christian's mind, like insulting not just the dress but also Elsie herself. And Christian has always been very loyal to anyone he cares about. That anyone includes both other dolls and a certain plastic baby reindeer.

It also sounded to me that Merida was very competitive, and I knew that Christian was not. From what he had told me about Elsie and Annie, and based on what I knew about the dolls here that Christian sometimes spent time with, I was willing to bet that Christian had never met anyone as focused on winning as Merida was. Poor Christian probably had no idea how to deal with someone like Merida. I certainly wouldn't have known what to do if I'd been in his place, which made things rather awkward when Christian asked me, "Elsa, what do I do if Merida wants me and Sven to play with her again?"

I reached down and touched Christian's shoulder as I tried to organize my thoughts. "Maybe you should talk to her," I said. "Maybe she doesn't know that games can be just as fun if nobody wins." Then, in a sudden flash of inspiration, I said, "Why don't you try teaching Merida some games where there is no winner. Maybe when she sees how much fun you can all have just playing together, she won't worry so much about winning."

Christian took my advice, and he did manage to talk Merida into trying some new games. Merida is still rather competitive, and she still seems to prefer games where there's a clear winner. But little by little she's learning to consider, not just what will make her happy, but what will make the other dolls playing with her happy. When Christian, Sven and I first met Merida, she decided who she was going to play with and what they were going to play without asking her potential playmates how they felt about it. I think Nora was just too shy to stand up to Merida, and Christian was worried at first about hurting Merida's feelings. But eventually Christian's patience ran out and he ended up telling Merida that she wasn't being fair.

Merida was a little hurt by Christian's words, which made Christian feel guilty. But in the long run Christian sharing how he really felt seemed to do some good. Now Merida will actually ask another doll to play with her, giving them the opportunity to say no if they want to. She will also suggest what games to play, letting the other players ok her choice instead of choosing for them.

I said in a previous post that having Merida in the house brought some challenges. But Merida wasn't the last challenge we faced that year. Around the time that Christian was finally starting to work things out with Merida and Nora, a new challenge dropped into our laps. Let's just say that my family has grown, and that there were some growing pains along the way. But that's a story for another day.

Love From Elsa

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Elsa's Story: Chapter 4 (Disney Frozen Birthday Party Elsa by Mattel)

I promised in my last post that I'd tell you more about little Merida. Christian and I first heard about Merida from Treesa. After what happened when Christian and Nora first met, I think Treesa didn't want to take any chances. I was reading to Christian and Sven from a book of French-Canadian fairy tales that Treesa had left out when Treesa came to see us. "Sorry to interrupt Elsa, but I need to talk to Christian," Treesa said.

I looked up from the page I was reading and glanced over at Christian, wondering what this was all about. Had Christian done something that Treesa thought was naughty? I really couldn't imagine Christian misbehaving. But I knew it must be something important if Treesa was getting involved.

Christian looked as confused as I felt. But he must've realized, like I had, that whatever Treesa had to say was important, because he got up from where he was sitting and walked over to Treesa without complaining. I noticed then that Treesa didn't look angry or annoyed, like I would've expected if she'd been there to correct Christian's behavior. Instead she seemed nervous, which confused me even more. Why would talking to Christian make her nervous? Treesa's sixth-scale child dolls might find Christian a little intimidating because of his larger size, but I could see no reason why a grown human like Treesa would be anxious around Christian. Treesa took a deep breath and said, "Christian, do you remember how, when I bought you and Sven, I also bought a little doll dress?"

Warning alarms began going off inside my head even before Christian's expression changed. Christian had already told me about that dress, and about the doll it had belonged to. Christian frowned at Treesa and said, "It's ELSIE'S dress."

"I know Christian," Treesa said. She looked even more worried than she had a moment ago. Then she said, "Christian, I bought a little girl doll at the thrift store yesterday. Her name's Merida, and she's the same size as you and Nora. She didn't come with any clothes except her boots, so she needed something to wear, and I didn't have anything else that would fit her. So I gave her Elsie's dress, just for now, until I can find her something else to wear. There's a seller on Etsy who makes clothes for the Petite Princess dolls, so I should be able to buy Merida something as soon as she finds something she likes. I just wanted you to know in case I'm not there when you meet Merida."

By the time Treesa got to the end of her speech she was racing through the words, as if she was trying to finish what she had to say before Christian could interrupt her. While I'd known Christian long enough to realize that he'd been upset by what Treesa had said, I wasn't sure if Treesa could recognize the signs the way I had. Christian didn't throw a temper tantrum. He's too well mannered for that. And he didn't cry, even though he looked as if he might've wanted to. He just stood there silently for a moment, as if he was trying to come to terms with what Treesa had told him. "Ok," Christian said in a small voice. Treesa seemed somewhat relieved and said, "If you want, I can introduce you and Elsa to Merida later."

"No thank you," Christian said a little too quickly. Afterwards he must've worried that he'd been rude, because he added, "Not right now. Elsa was reading a story."

"Ok Christian," Treesa said. "Whenever you're ready, just let me know." Treesa left then. I had closed the book while Treesa was speaking, and when she left I walked over to where Christian was standing. "Christian?" I said, resting my hand on his shoulder. Christian looked up at me, and the expression on his face broke my heart. I immediately gave him a hug. "Elsa, do you think I'll EVER see Elsie and Annie again?" Christian asked. At first I didn't know how to answer. I knew how much Christian missed his old friends, and I worried that it would break his heart if I told him that the odds were he'd never see them again. But I also knew that I couldn't make him any false promises. If I raised his hopes too much, it would only hurt worse when he realized the things he was hoping for weren't going to happen. "I don't know, Christian," I said finally.

Christian hugged me back even tighter, as if he was afraid I might disappear too. Sven came over and nosed Christian's side. Christian looked over at Sven, then up at me. "Elsa," Christian said, "could you finish reading the story? I want to hear what happens to Prince Philidor and Princess Irena."

"Of course," I said. I sat down and opened the book to where we'd left off. Christian sat close beside me, with Sven close beside him. I'm sure we would've made an interesting picture to any doll passing by who didn't already know us: me leaning over a book with an out of scale little boy doll and a plastic baby reindeer by my side. But we were a family, and I hoped we would stay that way for a very long time.

When Christian, Sven and I did meet Merida it wasn't Treesa who introduced us. It was Merida herself. She came careening into our lives one afternoon in early summer of last year. Christian, Sven and I had planned to do some cloud watching, and we were headed towards Treesa's bedroom window when an unfamiliar voice called, "Look out!"

I turned my head to see what was going on just as a small plastic ball sailed past me and bounced off one of Sven's antlers. Sven wasn't hurt, but all three of us were startled. Then a little girl doll I didn't know raced up to us. The first thing I noticed about her was her thick, curly red hair. The second thing I noticed was that she was holding a Barbie sized tennis racket.

"Sorry," the little girl doll said. "Nora missed the ball. She was supposed to hit it back." The little girl doll looked me over, then said, "I'm Merida. What's your name?"

"My name is Elsa," I said. "This is Christian, and this is Sven." I gestured towards each of them as I introduced them. Merida looked them over too, then she asked Christian, "Do you play sports?"

At first I don't think Christian knew how to react. Merida's arrival and her question were so unexpected. "I play ball with Sven sometimes," Christian blurted out in surprise.

"Great, now we can play in teams!" Merida said. Just then Nora caught up with Merida. However, when Nora saw me and my family she hung back. At the time Nora was still a little uncomfortable around Christian and Sven. It was when Nora came into view that I first noticed that the dress Merida wore was identical to Nora's.

Merida noticed that I was looking at something behind her and turned around. When she saw Nora, Merida said, "Nora, guess what. I met another doll our size and he has a pet cow that plays ball! Now all four of us can play together!"

I'd never seen Christian look so angry before. He gave Merida a stormy look and said, "Sven's NOT a COW, he's a REINDEER. And he's not a PET, he's my FRIEND."

Merida seemed stunned by Christian's reaction. "Sorry," Merida said, sounding genuinely apologetic. "Don't be mad. I never saw a reindeer before. I thought reindeers lived at the North Pole with Santa Claus."

Christian's expression was still a little sour, but he seemed to be thinking over what Merida had said. "Ok," Christian said, only slightly grudgingly. He seemed to have decided that he should at least give Merida a chance.

Merida smiled. "Great," she said. "Now we can play. Come on Nora," Merida called. "We need a racket for Christian." Merida was gone a moment later, leaving Nora to hurry after her.

For a moment Christian didn't move. He looked as if he was going over the last few minutes in his head, trying to figure out what had just happened. Then Christian looked over at me. "Elsa," he said, "do you think Merida would be sad if I didn't play with her?"

It was obvious from Christian's voice that he wanted to do the right thing, but that he wasn't sure what was 'the right thing' in this situation. To be honest, I wasn't sure what the right thing to do was either. I knew it was important that Christian give Merida a chance. On the other hand, I could understand why Christian might not want to play with Merida right this second. For one thing, Christian had promised to go cloud watching with me today, and Christian hated going back on his promises. For another thing, Merida hadn't actually asked Christian if he would like to play with her and Nora. She'd just assumed that Christian would go along with whatever she wanted.

Before I could say anything, Merida and Nora came back with an extra Barbie tennis racket. "Here," Merida said, holding the racket out to Christian. Christian looked at the racket hesitantly. Then he looked at Merida. "Would it be ok if me and Sven played with you and Nora later?" Christian asked. He quickly added, "I promised Elsa we'd go cloud watching."

"Oh...ok," Merida said. Christian must've heard the disappointment in Merida's voice, because his expression changed. It was obvious to me that Merida's reaction had made Christian feel guilty, so in an effort to raise everyone's spirits I asked Merida, "Would you and Nora like to go cloud watching with us?"

Nora still looked cautious, but there was something in her expression that made me think she might be interested. However, Merida didn't look at all enthusiastic. "I don't like cloud watching," she said. "You have to sit still the whole time. That's no fun." Merida turned then, and started walking away. "Come on Nora," she said. Nora didn't follow right away. Instead she took one last glance at me and my family before she turned and hurried after Merida. I wondered what Nora was thinking in that moment. Was she considering accepting my invitation, and if so what had changed her mind? Was she still too uncomfortable around Christian and Sven to stay? Or did she not want Merida to feel abandoned.

Merida never looked back to see if Nora was following her. It seemed to me that Merida just assumed that Nora would come, the same way she'd assumed that Christian would be willing to play with her and Nora, regardless of whether or not he already had plans for the afternoon. As Christian and I sat on the windowsill, picking out shapes in the clouds, I noticed that Christian seemed distracted and I wondered if he still felt guilty for not playing with Merida and Nora. Christian did, after all, know what it was like to have difficulty finding playmates. I can still remember the look in his eyes, not long after we first met, when he told me that Treesa's sixth-scale child dolls didn't often play with him and Sven.

(I'm going to have to stop here for the time being. There's more to the story, but Treesa gets nervous if the posts are too long. I'll post the rest just as soon as I can.
Love From Elsa)

Saturday, April 15, 2017