"I'LL BE THE LADY", announced 7 year old Monica, arms akimbo,
"AND YOU, she said with authority,
"BE THE MAID!"
And thus began my Saturday play date with our attorney's upper crust daughter.
I was a shy child and a bit intimidated by Monica,
but I played my assigned role to the hilt ~
forming tiny round mud-pie cookies in jelly jar lids and baking
them in the sun for her ladyship! Later, when she dismissed me
with an imperious toss of her small
bejeweled hand, I crept backwards through the door - bowing,
In all the months we played house together I never got to be
THE LADY ~
but I did develop a strong aversion to authority and
a lifelong unwillingness to bow to convention.
Despite those horrid play dates with Monica, PLAYING HOUSE was, and is,
a pure delight to me.
When I was 2 years old, holding my rag doll, PityPity,
(my toddler's version of PrettyPretty)
I would knock on the kitchen door
where Mother was ironing. "Who's there", she would call.
"Mrs. Lady and PityPity", I answered.
"Please come in Mrs. Lady" - invited Mrs. Anderson.
I reached up and opened the door and there in the corner of the kitchen a little
table was set with tiny cups and saucers. I sat PityPity on her wee chair while Mrs.
Anderson poured pretend tea for us and we held polite conversations about
our babies and their health.
By age eleven, when lots of girls scorned "playing dolls" I had one last birthday party
for Gloria, my Baby Precious doll. She had arrived when I was nine - in a box dressed
all in white - like a wedding gown - and had blue eyes that opened and closed.
I loved her.
Gloria seemed too stiff and formal in
her white starched dress - so I sewed
her a little night gown out of baby blue
flannelette with tiny white lace around
the neck and hem. And in red thread
I stitched a funny little bunny
on the front.
One day my Daddy and I walked down
Portage Avenue in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
I spied a sweet little pink doll's
housecoat in a shop window.
It cost $.39.
I begged Daddy to get it for me ~
and Gloria wears it to this day ~
72 years later !