When I was 10, I thought if I got one more stupid porcelain doll I would literally go mad. Being insane is a highly-respected career choice for a well-bred Southern woman, and I was one be-ringleted Jane Austen commemorative dolly away from becoming the fifth-grade inspiration for a posthumous Tennessee Williams play.
The problem was, I’d discovered, that after years of being notoriously difficult to shop for I’d accidentally mentioned that I liked a doll. A doll, as in one particular doll.
Well, I got that doll.
All would have been well had the clarion call of “Plumcake Likes Dolls” not gone out to my four wonderful but completely clueless-in-the-ways-of-young-girls uncle. But it did.
I think you see where this is going.
I was inundated by porcelain dolls, I had dolls for Christmas and my birthday and for times when I’d helped them pick up cute girls, which SOUNDS like a nice problem to have EXCEPT:
Dolls have eyes.
They don’t blink.
I’m not afraid of dolls like my friend Cassie is –well, she’s really afraid of doll PARTS, not dolls in general– but when you wake up and the moonlight is streaming in your bedroom, illuminating dozens upon dozens of cold, unblinking eyes staring out of faces without emotions or flaws…well, actually that’s a lot like an initiation rite of The Junior League, but honestly, that just adds to the creepiness.
The same thing happened to my grandmother, apparently, and her affection for owls. I imagine she at one point liked them; the little carved alabaster objet I’ve got on my desk is an owl she picked up while she was on Capri, and their racing yacht was The Night Owl (always a good gift). I do not, however, suspect she particularly yearned for a paint-it-yourself owl-shaped ceramic umbrella stand which my brother and I affectionately called “The Hoo” all through our childhoods.
The Hoo lives with me now –you twitterati will recall I woke up spooning him on Saturday morning for reasons known only to God and the makers of my freakishly potent melatonin capsules– and I love it as a cherished token from my childhood. I haven’t received a doll in nearly twenty years and even my grandmother was eventually able to end to the slew of Strigiformes (that’s Latin, yo. You think I don’t know stuff, but I know stuff. You’re not the boss of me.) but we can’t be the only ones.
Today Miss Plumcake wants to know:
It was dolls with me and owls with my grandmother. What was the theme-gift YOU couldn’t escape?
If you were fortunate enough NOT to be riddled with 300 My Little Ponies or nylon loop potholder kits, tell me another funny story about presents.
finally, if you just CANNOT LIVE another moment without your very own ceramic owl umbrella stand –which looks a good deal like mine, although mine is painted in harvest gold, white and avocado– you can get one here:
meaningful spooning sessions and childhood conversations not included
It is indeed the self same Hoo! This one is dated 1972, which happens to be the same year as my Caddy. Astute readers will notice the Neiman’s bag peeping out of its head and the fabulous cobalt blue pony hair pump behind it. Also for what it’s worth this is about the closest I’ve ever come to actually USING the baby grand piano I bought on a whim.