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.