Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Clara's Story: Continued (1970s Ballerina Barbie)

The most wonderful thing happened! I should've posted about it here long ago, but I've been so preoccupied I must've forgotten. However it does feel somewhat right that this story is being posted so close to the holidays, since the holiday season is supposed to be a time for miracles.

I was on the first floor when it happened. Another doll named Megan T. was having one of her spur-of-the-moment dance parties. I've always loved to dance. This might have something to do with me being a Ballerina Barbie, or it might not. All I know is, no matter how I'm feeling or what is going on in my life, when I dance I feel...free, free from my worries, free from anything that might be weighing me down.

Treesa was upstairs in her room at the time, sorting through some storage boxes. Suddenly we all heard Treesa's bedroom door being yanked open. This was followed by what sounded to us dolls like a herd of stampeding elephants, as Treesa's feet came pounding down the stairs. We all stopped what we were doing, the CD player still running in the background. Just then Treesa poked her head into the room. "Has anyone seen Clara?" she asked.

I slowly came forward. "Is something wrong?" I asked Treesa nervously. Treesa shook her head. "No, I just need to talk to you," she said. Treesa has never been very good at hiding her emotions, and right then she was practically bouncing with excitement. Looking back now I guess I should've realized why Treesa seemed so happy, since she'd specifically asked to see me. But I didn't suspect for a minute what was about to happen. I guess in my mind the possibility seemed so unlikely that my head just skipped over it, even though there was still hope in my heart.

Treesa bent down closer to my level and said, "I think we should go somewhere a little more private to talk." Before I realized what was happening Treesa scooped me up and whisked me off to the bathroom, shutting the door behind us. I felt a little disoriented from being moved so quickly. The next thing I knew Treesa was lifting me so that our faces were level. Treesa was grinning, and her eyes sparkled with excitement. "I found her! I found Marie!" Treesa said.

Her voice was hushed, probably to stop any other dolls from eavesdropping, and for a minute I wondered if I'd misheard what she'd said. "You found my sister?" I asked. Treesa nodded, still smiling. "The reason I couldn't find her in the basement is because she wasn't IN the basement. I must've brought her upstairs and then forgot," Treesa said.

My head was spinning. It'd been so long since I'd seen my twin sister. I wondered if she'd changed after so much time. I wondered if I'd changed. Would we be able to pick up where we'd left off? What if we'd both changed so much that we didn't recognize each other anymore? I'd always thought I'd be happy to see my sister again. Now that I finally had the chance I was suddenly feeling nervous. "Where is she?" I asked Treesa in a shaky voice.

"I left her on my bed," Treesa said. "I thought you two would want some privacy after being apart for so long. I'll take you to her." Before I could even think what to say or do next Treesa had opened the bathroom door and was carrying me to her room. In no time at all she was gently setting me down on the bed. "I'll leave you two alone," Treesa said. "You've probably got a lot to catch up on. Oh, and could you explain to Marie how things work around here, Clara?"

I didn't understand what Treesa meant at first. Then I realized that Treesa was asking me to let Marie know that Treesa knew we were alive. I also realized that Marie probably hadn't said anything to Treesa yet. She wouldn't have, if she didn't know that Treesa knew. Even after us dolls find out about Treesa it usually takes us a while to trust her enough to actually respond to her.

A whole new worry suddenly sprouted in my mind. What if Marie had been damaged while she was in storage and Treesa hadn't noticed? What if my sister was hurt? Or worse, what if she wasn't alive anymore? I was still wrestling with this terrible thought when Treesa walked out of the room, closing the door behind her.

After Treesa left the doll that was sitting next to me on the bed slowly turned her head to look at me. She seemed to be studying me carefully, and I found myself studying her just as hard. Her facial features, the shape of her hands, mirrored my own. Everything about her was so comfortingly familiar. But was this doll really my sister? I knew a lot of dolls that looked like us must've been manufactured. Even though I'd been interacting with Treesa long enough to know that she wouldn't deliberately substitute another doll in my sister's place, hoping I wouldn't notice, there was still a slight possibility that Treesa had bought a third Ballerina Barbie and had forgotten. Treesa didn't always have the best memory, and after all this time the possibility that I'd finally found my sister seemed too wonderful to be true. There was only one way to know for sure. "Demi?" I asked quietly.

A warm, joyful smile spread across the other doll's face. "Plie," she said in reply. Demi plie, along with being a common beginner's ballet term, was also a game my sister and I had invented at our old home. The game was similar to both Marco Polo and Hide And Seek. One of us would repeat the word demi while moving from room to room until the other heard and answered plie. The point of the game was to try to find our way back to each other.

I was overwhelmed with relief and joy. It really was Marie, my sister, my twin. I hugged her then, clinging to her like I was afraid to let go. "It's so good to see you," she whispered, her voice chocked with emotion. We stayed that way for a long time, just trying to take it all in. Then we talked for what felt like hours. I told her all about Treesa and my new doll friends, and what had happened to me in the time we were separated. I even explained to her the meaning behind the new names Treesa had given us. Marie then shared with me a little about her time in storage. I could tell that this was difficult for her to talk about, so I didn't pressure her for too many details. She knew though that I would always be there to listen if she needed me, and she shared more with me over the coming weeks.

It took time for Marie to adjust to being surrounded by so many other dolls, so I introduced her to my new friends slowly, a few at a time. Even though she seemed disappointed that she'd missed so much Marie also seemed glad that I'd made other friends while she was gone. I still can't explain how wonderful it feels to wake up every morning knowing that my twin sister is there to share my day with me. We've become almost inseparable since we found each other again. In fact I was a little worried that I might've been neglecting my other doll friends by spending so much time with my sister. But I think my friends understand. They've all been very welcoming to Marie, and they don't seem to mind including her in whatever we might be doing.

Ever since Thanksgiving I keep thinking about all the things I have to be grateful for. I never want to forget how I felt when I was separated from my sister, because I never want to start taking for granted all the blessings in my life. When Marie and I first came to live with Treesa it felt like we would always be together, because we always had been together. I know now that we can never really know how much time we have with those we love. So this holiday season why don't we all try to make the most of the time we have.

I Hope You Dance, Clara

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Can A 16 Inch Doll Use A Harry Potter 'Blind Box' Wand?

Hello yet again friends and visitors. This is Treesa. In her review of Mattel's Wizarding World Hermione Granger doll, Emily from the blog The Toy Box Philosopher included some great photos of dolls in different scales holding one of the Harry Potter 4 Inch Die-Cast Collectible Wands by Jakks Pacific. The general impression was that the wand was too big for one-sixth scale dolls like Barbie, but was a little too small for 18 inch dolls like American Girl. A couple of people left comments on Emily's post, wondering if the wand would work for 16 inch dolls. Well, wonder no more.

This is Ginny. She's a redressed, 16 inch Disney Singing Anna doll. Her dress was bought from an Ebay seller, and was modeled in the auction photo by a 16 inch Tonner doll. But as you can see, it fits Ginny here quite nicely.

Ginny's hands are not molded in anything close to a gripping position, so the wand had to be attached to her hand with clear rubber bands. The wand was also difficult to position in Ginny's hand because it's made of metal, which made it heavier.

Not only that, but Ginny's articulation is very basic, so posing her was a challenge. Add to this some problems I was having with inadequate lighting and my camera flash settings, and these pictures turned out far from perfect. But they should give you a general idea of the scale of the wand compared to the scale of the doll.

I hope that these photos were helpful to some of you. Thanks for stopping by.

Signed, Treesa

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Odessa's Ocean City Vacation (unidentified Disney Frozen Elsa by Mattel, redressed)

(Hello again friends and visitors. This is Treesa. I want you all to know that I'm really sorry this post was delayed. I was having some trouble getting the photos off of my 'new to me' camera after my card reader broke. The rest of this post will be from Odessa's point of view.
Signed, Treesa)

Near the end of July, Treesa, her best friend Jenn and I went on an 'extended weekend' trip to Ocean City, New Jersey. Jenn had been planning the trip for months. She made the hotel reservations back in January, and Treesa said that after the reservations were taken care of the upcoming vacation became Jenn's favorite topic of conversation. I think the reason Treesa decided to bring a doll with her was because things had been rather quiet here on the blog. Treesa also thought the beach would be the perfect location for a doll photo shoot. Treesa picked me to be her 'travel buddy' because, as Treesa put it, I was already dressed for the beach.

I felt excited as I watched Treesa pack my luggage, thinking about all the things I might see and do. I'd been on vacation once with my first owner, but that had been a long time ago. I was really looking forward to getting out of the house and getting away for a little while. I was also looking forward to getting some time by myself, since it can get a little crowded in Treesa's collection. However, the vacation didn't turn out quite the way either of us planned.

Treesa, Jenn and I arrived in Ocean City on a Thursday morning. Neither Treesa or Jenn know how to drive, so some of Treesa's family members offered to drive us down. When Treesa tucked me into the top of her beach bag the night before, she'd reminded me that I couldn't show anyone else I was alive. This sounded reasonable, and I didn't realize then just how frustrating it would be. Jenn's mother was worried that it wouldn't be safe for two young women to be traveling around the area alone, so Treesa had promised her that they wouldn't separate. This meant that wherever Treesa and Jenn went, they went together. And because Jenn didn't know I was alive, whenever she was around I had to stay in a silent, motionless state. Dolls aren't normally bothered by this kind of thing, but I'd gotten so used to moving and talking in front of Treesa that going back to not doing it was a big adjustment.

We left so early on Thursday that I barely stirred when Treesa packed the beach bag into the car. We arrived in Ocean City too early for Treesa and Jenn to check into their hotel. So everyone left the bags in the car and headed for the beach. Treesa thought she'd have plenty of time to take pictures later in the trip, and she didn't want to hold everybody up while she changed me into the bathing suit she'd packed for me and dug out the doll-sized beach chair and the other photo props. So I was left behind. Because the car was parked in the hot sun, it became unbearably warm inside. Time slowed to a crawl, and it felt like I was stuck in there forever.

Finally, it was time for Treesa and Jenn to check into the hotel. After they'd unpacked, Jenn suggested that she and Treesa head for the Boardwalk to get something to eat. They ended up browsing through a number of the shops, and they didn't come back until after dark. The next day, after breakfast, Treesa and Jenn headed for the stores on Asbury Avenue to do some shopping. I was left behind at the hotel. Being alone in the room wasn't too bad, once I figured out how to work the tv remote. At least the room had air conditioning. When Treesa and Jenn came back, they stayed just long enough to drop off their shopping bags before they went out to dinner at the grilled cheese and quesadilla shop near the hotel. Then they headed back to the Boardwalk. It was late when they got back, although it wasn't as late as the night before because Jenn had a stomach ache.

The next day was very windy, and the sky was overcast with gray clouds. But Treesa and Jenn headed for the beach early in the morning, in spite of the weather. We would be leaving early the next day, and Jenn knew this was the last chance they'd get to visit the beach. Treesa knew it was also the last chance she'd get to take some beach pictures for the blog, so she brought me along. Jenn had seen the blog before, and she asked Treesa about me while Treesa was setting up for the photos. "Hello Odessa," Jenn said after Treesa introduced me. I knew Jenn was old enough to have outgrown the childhood habit of treating toys like living beings. So when Jenn kept talking to me I wondered if she also knew that I was alive. When she asked me a question, I almost answered her. But Treesa must've known what I was thinking and sent me a warning look. Right after that, Jenn said to me, "Why am I talking too you like you're alive?"

"I must be rubbing off on you," Treesa said before she quickly pulled out her camera.

 Treesa managed to get a few pictures, but then one of the screws fell out of my beach chair and the wind picked up even more, so Treesa called it a day. After we went back to the hotel we got a message from Treesa's father, warning us that there was a big storm on the way. Sure enough, it started pouring rain not long after that. Treesa and Jenn had adjoining rooms, and they spent the rest of the day doing crossword puzzles and Mad Libs and talking about how much they wished they could be out doing something. I knew how they felt. I was bored out of my mind and more than ready to go home. I'd also had way too much 'alone time' and missed all my doll friends. Treesa did get a few photos of me that night in the cute, doll-sized pajamas she'd packed for me.

Treesa and Jenn also made a few trips to the hotel pool during their stay, but I can't remember when those were. To be honest, there were times when I wasn't sure where Treesa and Jenn had gone. All I knew was that they weren't in the hotel room. I think the next time that Treesa wants to bring a doll along on vacation, I'm going to suggest that she brings two dolls, so they can keep each other company. I also don't think I'll be volunteering to go on vacation again any time soon.


Friday, May 25, 2018

Geek Pride Day Photo Shoot (featuring Mulder, Scully, and K9)

Happy Geek Pride Day, friends and visitors! This is Treesa. I'm happy to report that the weather cooperated enough earlier this week for me to take some dolls outdoors for a special Geek Pride Day photo shoot. Scully and Mulder are from the Barbie and Ken X-Files Giftset, and K9 was originally a Doctor Who Christmas tree ornament from a store called Five Below. Hope you enjoy.
Signed, Treesa

(Agent Fox Mulder and Agent Dana Scully travel deep into the Pennsylvania woods, investigating reports of an unexplained flashing light accompanied by a strange 'vworp'ing sound.)

(Little do they know that they are being observed by K9, loyal companion to the Gallifreyan time traveler known only as...The Doctor.)

(Note From Treesa: Sorry, that's all I've got. I didn't have a doll who could've pulled off playing The Doctor. Costuming would've been a problem too.)

Friday, May 18, 2018

Clara's Story (1970s Ballerina Barbie)

Hope is a powerful thing. When we're struggling or facing a crisis, hope can keep us going. It's kept me going a long time, even though I know that the more time that passes, the more the odds are stacked against me. Some people might think I need to 'face reality' and 'accept' what's happened. Maybe they're right. But I know if I ever lost all hope, I'd be broken inside. So I won't give up hope, hope that someday, I'll see my twin sister again.

My twin sister and I used to belong to two little girls. They were sisters too. They often played with us together, so my sister and I were very close. But those two little girls grew up, and we were put in storage. Then we were donated to a thrift store.

I was happy when my twin sister and I were sealed in the same bag at the store. It meant we would get to stay together, that whoever bought us would get us both. My sister and I talked a lot after the store closed for the night, wondering what our new owner would be like. The next day Treesa came to the store.

Treesa bought us, and brought us home with her. But we didn't seem to hold her interest for very long, and we quickly ended up in storage in the basement. Every now and then Treesa would come down and sort through the boxes. Sometimes dolls were brought upstairs. Sometimes other dolls were brought downstairs and packed away. In all this confusion, my sister and I were separated.

Even though neither of us liked being in storage, it was easier to stay positive when we were together. We would keep each other occupied by talking about the old days, remembering all the fun we'd had together at our first home. I felt lonely without my twin sister, and the more time that passed the more I missed her. There were still other dolls in storage with me for me to talk to, but it wasn't the same as talking with my sister. Because we went through so much together, and because we're twins, I've always felt that my sister knew me better than anyone else ever could.

The next time I saw Treesa, I could tell that she'd changed somehow. She was very quiet as she looked through the box I was in. Normally she would've been singing quietly to herself, or at least humming. And when she picked me up out of the box her hands seemed more gentle, as if she was afraid of hurting me. Not that Treesa was ever rough with her dolls, but I could still feel a difference in the way she held me.

Treesa decided to bring me upstairs that day. My face must've been a little smudged from being in storage, because Treesa cleaned it with a damp towel. Then she found something for me to wear.

 The dress is a replica.

After I was dressed, Treesa did something that seemed strange at the time. She looked right into my eyes and said, "I'm sorry."

I didn't understand then why she was apologizing, or why she was even speaking to me at all. But I could hear real emotion in her voice. She sounded ashamed, and there was a look of guilt in her eyes. After Treesa went to bed that night the other dolls in her room cleared up part of the mystery, telling me that Treesa knew we were alive.

The next day I saw with my own eyes, and heard with my own ears, some of the other dolls talking to Treesa. Treesa spoke to me a little, telling me that she'd decided to name me Clara, after the character from the Nutcracker ballet. But I didn't answer her then. This was all still too new to me, both being out of storage and having a human trying to talk with me. But Treesa didn't seem offended, or even surprised, when I didn't answer.

It was a few days before I felt comfortable enough to try talking to Treesa, and I think I might've waited even longer if it weren't for my sister. I still missed her, but more than that I wanted to share all of this with her. I was hoping I could convince Treesa to bring my twin up from the basement. So, after I explained the situation, I asked Treesa if she knew where my twin sister was.

As I was talking, I noticed Treesa's expression changing. At first she just seemed nervous and worried. But after Treesa heard my question I saw the same look of guilt on her face that I'd seen when she'd first brought me upstairs. Treesa then admitted that she didn't know what had happened to my sister. Treesa had realized, without being told, that the doll I'd been bagged with was probably important to me, and she'd been searching the basement for my twin. But Treesa hadn't been able to find her. Then Treesa told me that my twin sister might have ended up in a box of dolls that Treesa's sister had sold at a yard sale.

I felt as if my world had turned upside down. My sister, my twin, was gone, maybe for good. My mind just couldn't make sense of it. How could this happen? How could we have managed to stay together all those years, even ending up in the same bag at the thrift store, only to be separated now?
"I'm sorry," Treesa said again, and I could tell she really meant it. But I couldn't say anything. The news was still too fresh.

"I was going to name her Marie," Treesa said quietly.

"Marie?" I asked, curious in spite of myself.

"Some versions of The Nutcracker use the name Marie instead of Clara," Treesa said. "I thought, because you're both Ballerina Barbies..." Treesa trailed off then, as if she wasn't sure what else to say. I'll admit, I wasn't sure what to say either. It was obvious that Treesa felt badly about what had happened. The fact that she'd picked out a name for my sister told me that she'd been determined to try and make things right. Even though she hadn't succeeded, I was still touched by her effort.

"She'd like that," I said finally. I saw Treesa's shoulders relax a little, but it seemed from the look on her face that there was still something bothering her. I didn't have to wait long to find out what it was.

"I'm so sorry Clara," Treesa said. "I'm sorry I didn't take better care of you and Marie. I'm sorry I put you both in storage. I should've given you more of a chance. Before I bought you and Marie I wanted a Ballerina Barbie for my collection so badly. I don't remember why. I'd never even seen one in real life. I'd just seen pictures. When I found you and Marie at the thrift store I was so excited. But after I got you two home...I didn't know what to do with you. I should've been over the moon about finally having one of my grail dolls. And I was when I first found you. I don't know why the feeling wore off so fast. And I didn't know you were alive when I put you both in storage. I can't even imagine what you must've gone through. When I found you in the box downstairs, I felt so bad. I brought you upstairs so I could try and make it up to you." Treesa stared at the floor as she talked, unable to face me, or even look me in the eye.

I can't really explain how I felt after hearing Treesa's confession. I now knew how much Treesa had wanted me and my sister in the beginning, that we weren't just an impulse buy. I also knew that we'd somehow failed to live up to Treesa's expectations. It was obvious that Treesa blamed herself completely for Marie and I ending up in storage. But I still found myself wondering if there was something I could've done to make a better first impression on Treesa, some way I could've saved my sister from having to go into storage.

After a moment's silence, Treesa looked up at me. "I'll keep looking for Marie," Treesa promised. "If she's still here, I'll find her. There's still some places I haven't checked yet."

Treesa's tone was so earnest that I knew she wouldn't give up until there really was nowhere else to look. "Thank you Treesa," I said. I'll admit, knowing that Treesa hadn't completely given up hope of finding my sister gave me back some hope of my own. That hope is still inside me, not a bright flaming hope, but more like a glowing ember. It keeps me going, keeps my world steady when I feel alone and overwhelmed.

I have made friends with some of Treesa's other dolls. My sister, Marie, wouldn't want me to be lonely just because she's not here. But I still miss my twin. The thought that she could've left the house without even a chance to say goodbye makes me want to cry. But I keep going, because I wouldn't want to let her down by giving up.

I don't talk about Marie much with the other dolls, and they try not to bring her up because they know it makes me sad. Even though my life still feels incomplete without my sister, I try not to spend all my time moping or dwelling on the past. Marie wouldn't want me to. She'd want me to smile, to laugh, to dance just because I can. She'd want me to have plenty of stories to share if...when I see her again. So for her I try to do more than just exist. I try to live, to soak in all the small joys that come my way. And I still hope that someday, we'll find each other again.

I Hope You Dance, Clara

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Odessa's Story: Continued (unidentified Disney Frozen Elsa by Mattel, redressed)

It was over the Christmas holiday, when Treesa was showing me off to her sisters, that I overheard from Treesa herself why she'd bought me. Basically she said that the 'juxtaposition' of a Frozen Elsa doll wearing a tropical print dress that almost perfectly matched the doll's eyes 'amused' her. I learned pretty quickly that Treesa likes 'specialized' words, as she calls them. And yes, Treesa was waiting for my tag color to go half price before she bought me.

Treesa's reasons for naming me Odessa should also give you an idea how Treesa's mind works. Because most people assume that Frozen is set in a fictionalized version of Norway, and because I'm wearing a summer dress, Treesa looked up who the summer deity is in Norse mythology. Apparently the name of the Norse god of summer is Od. So Treesa added Od to Elsa and got Odelsa. But Treesa didn't like the way that sounded. However Odessa was only one letter different, and Treesa knew that Odessa was the name of a foreign city. Treesa does sometimes make up names for her dolls, but she likes being able to use real words. Treesa also thought Odessa sounded pretty. So she named me Odessa.

Treesa's still trying to work on my hair. She said she's having trouble making sense of the different part lines. Treesa also said she's thinking about trying a 'Downey dunk' because she doesn't trust herself to do 'boil washes' anymore. She said the hair loses too much body when she tries to do boil washes.

I've met some of Treesa's other Frozen dolls. Elsa was very polite, and her sister Anna was ready to give me the cape off her back because she said I looked cold. Treesa was also worried about the same thing, but she couldn't find a jacket that looked good with my dress. Elsa and Anna's little brother Christian is adorable, and Sven the baby reindeer is very well-behaved. I know Treesa has at least one other Frozen doll, Christian's friend Nora. But I haven't met her yet. I've heard she's very shy.

Things have been going really well here at Treesa's house, and I'm very happy. I'll admit, after Treesa bought me and Halle told me how many other dolls Treesa had I was a little worried. I was worried how the other dolls would react to my damaged hand. The toys at the thrift store had felt sorry for me, because they thought that I wouldn't find a new owner. Now I had a new home, but I wasn't sure how Treesa's other dolls would treat me. Would they think they were better than me because I was damaged and they weren't? Or would seeing my damaged hand make them uncomfortable?

As it turned out Treesa has a number of other dolls with 'condition issues', as Suzanne calls them. Suzanne and her family have been with Treesa the longest, and Suzanne has some 'condition issues' herself, so she tries to help Treesa make sure that every doll in the collection feels welcome. Treesa also told me that if I'm really worried about making the other dolls uncomfortable with my damaged hand, she's found a seller on Etsy who makes gloves for various types of dolls, including modern 'Barbie' dolls. I didn't think gloves would work with a summer dress, but Treesa told me there was a time when it wasn't considered 'ladylike' for a woman to go out without gloves, and that a lot of vintage Barbie outfits came with gloves.

However, Treesa's other dolls have been so considerate and welcoming that I can't be sure if I need the gloves or not. I don't want to turn my damaged hand into an issue if none of the other dolls think it is. But I'm worried that seeing my hand might be making the other dolls uncomfortable, and that they just haven't said anything because they don't want to be rude. So I told Treesa that I'd think about the gloves, and let her know when I make a decision.

They say that a new year can be a time to start fresh, to make a new beginning. It certainly has been for me. I have a new home, new friends, and a new chance at life. I do realize just how close I came to being thrown away. My first owner, her parents, or the thrift store employees could all have decided that I was no longer worth anything with my damaged hand.  But luck was on my side, and I plan to make the most of this fresh start that the new year has given me.

Happy New Year to all, and to all a good night, Odessa

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Odessa's Story (unidentified Disney Frozen Elsa by Mattel, redressed)

Twas the day before Christmas, and all through the thrift store's toy department the air was buzzing with excitement and worry. Every doll, action figure, and plush toy knew this was the last shopping day before Christmas morning. Christmas and the other winter holidays have a special place in toy culture. Most playline toys are given to their first owners as either a birthday present or a holiday present. But because birthdays can be any day of the year, toys bought as birthday presents aren't expecting it. Most playline toys do want to be sold. But going from sitting on a store shelf to being played with is a big adjustment, and it sometimes helps if toys have time to prepare themselves before they're sold. Because the winter holidays are the same time every year, toys learn to predict when the holidays are coming.

Also, a human shopping for birthday presents usually has only one person to shop for, unless the birthday girl or boy has a twin. But during the winter holidays, everybody seems to be buying presents for everybody else. So something every toy learns is, when the decorations go up, the humans start shopping like crazy. This is good news for new toys who want to find owners. And really, not many new-in-box, playline toys don't want owners. To quote King Moonracer from Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, "A toy is never truly happy until it is loved". Even toys made for adult collectors hope for some amount of attention from their owners, though collector toys tend to have a whole different mindset than playline toys. Collector toys usually don't want to be played with, or at least they start out that way. But they still want to be cared for and admired.

Thrift store toys, because they're mostly used, sometimes have different dreams than newer toys. Some thrift store toys miss their former owners so much that all they want to do is go home. Some toys who end up at thrift stores were separated from their toy families and can't deal with losing their loved ones. And some thrift store toys were so badly damaged or mistreated at their previous homes that they're ready to give up on humans. But many thrift store toys still want the same thing that other playline toys want, new owners.

Of course when you're a used toy there are some things that up the chances of someone buying you. Usually the better condition you're in, the better your odds of being sold quickly. There are some humans who deliberately buy 'played with' dolls and toys, so they can restore them or customize them. But the price has to be right to make the toy worth fixing, and the toy has to actually be repairable.

I definitely fit into the 'played with' category. My hair is a mess, and I don't have my original outfit. Because I'm a character doll, the missing outfit was a real drawback. Character dolls tend to sell better if they're wearing their original outfit, or at least something close to it, and the tropical print dress I was wearing didn't look like anything my character would've worn. It's difficult to picture Elsa, the 'Snow Queen' from the Disney movie Frozen, wearing a tropical print dress.

Not to mention tropical prints were completely wrong for the time of year. It was December after all, and tropical prints are mostly popular in summer.

However, my biggest hurdle to being sold was some damage to my plastic. My first owner's pet had gotten hold of me and had chewed my hand to bits. I could tell that none of the other toys at the thrift store thought that I would find a new owner. I could see it in the looks they gave me, like they felt sorry for me. One of them tried to raise my spirits by saying that maybe someone would want my clothes and would buy me. I know they meant well. But they made it sound like they thought I was worthless except for my dress, and that hurt.

I wasn't the only doll at the store who had the odds stacked against them though. There were some Monster High dolls with missing hands who seemed to have given up on finding new owners, but they were determined to make the best of things. Because they didn't think they'd be sold before Christmas, and because the store would be closed on Christmas Day, these dolls had been exchanging ideas for holding a Christmas celebration for the remaining toys in the store. Like everyone else, they assumed that I'd still be there on Christmas morning, and they included me in some of their discussions. I paid close attention to what they said, and I even offered suggestions of my own. But I had a secret, a hope that I hadn't shared with anyone.

There was a young looking woman with dark hair who'd been coming to the store at least once a week since I'd been there. She didn't always stay long, but she seemed to take her time in the toy department. And whenever she saw me there she always stopped what she was doing, just for a moment, and smiled at me. Even on days when she came in looking tired or unhappy, seeing me always seemed to make her smile.

I looked forward to seeing her too. Every morning I woke up hoping she'd visit that day. Knowing I could make her smile like that gave me hope that some day she'd give in and buy me. I assumed it was my damaged hand that put her off. I found out later that that wasn't exactly true.

The reason that I kept this a secret from the other dolls and toys at the store was because I knew how they'd react. They'd just think I was reading too much into things. I didn't want to see any more pitying looks, or hear them give a perfectly logical reason for why this young woman only seemed to be singling me out. I knew my hope was built on a shaky foundation. But as long as no one challenged that hope I could keep it alive. I did try to keep my expectations low, so I wouldn't be crushed if things didn't work out the way I hoped. But I'll admit, I did like to imagine the looks on the other toys faces when I was carried out of the toy department to the cash registers.

But by the time Christmas Eve morning came along it was getting harder to stay hopeful. I knew that there would be other shopping days after Christmas. But I really wanted a new home before then, preferably a home with the dark-haired young woman that I could always make smile.

The store must've been open for less than half an hour when the young woman came in. I was a little surprised that she'd come so early. But then I remembered that she'd sometimes do that on days when the store had their regular, weekly sales. I knew it was a sale day, but I wouldn't find out just how important that was until later.

The dark-haired woman seemed to be in a hurry. Instead of taking her time, she was rifling through the racks like she was looking for something. Then she found me. She plucked me off of the rack, just like I'd always imagined she would, then she headed straight for the registers. She practically raced out of the store after she paid for me. It was Christmas Eve after all, and she had other places to be. However I didn't realize just how short on time she was until we got to her house and, instead of taking me out of my bag right away, she left me on a chair.

I'll admit I was disappointed. I was even worried that maybe she did only want my clothes. But I didn't have much time to dwell on those thoughts before another doll came to investigate. Her name was Halle, and after she poked her head inside the plastic shopping bag I was in and saw me she quickly got to work explaining things. I learned that the dark-haired young woman was Treesa, and that she had a large collection of dolls upstairs. I also learned that Treesa knew that her dolls were alive.
The one thing that Halle couldn't tell me was why Treesa bought me. Halle had a theory though. According to her you could always tell when there was something at the thrift store that Treesa really wanted but was waiting to go half price, because it would be a sale day and Treesa would try to get to the store right after it opened. Halle seemed to think that I must be 'real special' if Treesa was willing to 'head up there' on Christmas Eve.
(To Be Continued...)