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...)