Saturday, October 2, 2010

Ode to Barbie Dolls, Rubber Rats...and Blogging

You know, I've always thought that I was a pretty typical little girl growing up...

I played Mommy with my baby dolls (oh, how I loved my dolls!) and then it was Mystery Date with Barbies and my brother's one-armed (he had an accident) G.I. Joe.

I was a bookworm and had my nose buried in a book much of the time, but also had a bit of the tomboy and daredevil in me too.

I remember riding my bicycle down the street near my grade school - with hands raised high, and both eyes shut. Yes, I fell. But I was proud to show off my scuffed knees and elbows to my sibs, daring them to give it a try too.

Typical kid stuff.

But this morning I suddenly remembered The Rat.
When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I bought myself a black rubber rat with babysitting money. It had sort of a slick oily look to it, with a long winding tail and beady red eyes. me the creeps thinking about it. But I slept with that thing! Its name was Oscar.

I'm not sure what I was trying to prove. I suppose I was at an age when I wanted to show that I wasn't a little girl anymore. (Little girls sleep with dolls, not rats.) Plus, growing up as daughter-number-three in a lineup of 7 girls and 2 boys, I think that I was continuously struggling to stand out in some way. I wanted to be unique. The rat made me eccentric, but that was fine too.

I'm not sleeping with rats anymore. (Or at least I try not to very often. :-) But I know that I've got a lot of that doll-loving, book-crazy, risk-taking, attention-craving girl still in me.

I think I can learn a lot from that little girl - and her rat friend.

As adults, it's important for us to look back often at who we were at 5 and 9 and 12 and ask: What did I like to do? What made me happy? What was I good at? And what did I dream of becoming when I grew up?

"Lucy Writes a Novel" - I Love Lucy episode 90, season 3, originally aired 4/5/1954. Photo courtesy of Clown Ministry

For instance, the career at the top of my "What I Want To Be When I Grow Up" dream list back then was Writer.  But somewhere along the way that dream got lost.  I don't think it was a conscious decision.  Life happens, other options presented themselves, and I chose another path.  

But look what I'm doing right now.  Blogging.  Writing!  In a way that I could never have predicted back then, I have become a writer of sorts - and in a very public venue, the internet!  

No wonder I've been having so much fun blogging. My inner child is finally feeling satisfied.

"Que sera, sera. Whatever will be, will be.
The future's not ours to see. Que sera, sera..."

Doris Day sings Que Sera Sera in the 1956 Alfred Hitchcock film, The Man Who Knew Too MuchYouTube video courtesy of Zennmann

Curious - as an adult, do you find yourself doing many of those same things that you enjoyed or were especially good at as a child?  For those of you who have a blog - was writing one of those things?  Or does blogging satisfy another need - a creative outlet, perhaps?

I didn't mention that #2 on my list of "What I Want To Be When I Grow Up" was......
Psychologist.  ;-)

Enjoy your weekend! 

p.s. - In case you were wondering about the old family photo - I'm the little girl behind (and above) the sister in the white communion dress. Just five, but I look so cocky and sure of myself.  I want her back...


  1. I do remember as child I wanted to be a movie star. Not because I liked acting, or movies in particular, but because I wanted to dress up and be glamorous all the time. My favorite thing to do when I was a child was dress up in my mother's nicest cocktail dress and put on her make up. I wanted to be Marilyn in "Gentlemen Prefer Blonds" singing "Diamonds are a girls best friend." Funny, how career wise I have it dull, but still embrace being glamorous.

  2. Oh, S !

    I really Love strolling down the lane with you and your memories,great fun! You're a good writer it all rolled through my mind like a old film . I used to play with my kitten and dress her in doll clothes and stroll her in my doll buggy.Running down the sidewalk very fast, as if the centrifugal force would keep her inside. You Must keep your blog postings, compile them and bind them dear girl.
    I leave you with this quote~"Too many people grow up. That's the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up. They forget. They don't remember what it's like to be 12 years old. They patronize, they treat children as inferiors. Well I won't do that."
    ~Walt Disney
    I'm glad Sarsaparilla, you won't do that either.

  3. Dear Susan,
    What a great blog posting!! So well written! One thing I found out is that we are absolutely kindred in so many ways. I have a list of silly little errands to do today but I am going to take the time to say hello again to the little girl who is still such a part of who I am!! My twin sister(a sort of middle child as she is a few minutes older than I) slept with a mouse made out of my Mother's silver fox fur coat(she loved vintage even back then I guess). He was a very fancy mouse indeed, and made all his country mice friends quite jealous. Sleeping with her mouse and toting him everywhere did get her the exra attention she craved. My Grandmother made him a beautiful bed out of a fancy silk stocking box and even went so far as to honour him with a birthday party with a slab of cheese with a candle stuck in it...
    Thanks for your posting!
    Sheila and Sherrill

  4. Kim - I just saw the photo you posted on your blog, and you look as glamorous as the movie star you dreamed of as a little girl.

    Elise - I love that Walt Disney quote! I can just imagine you with your kitten and buggy, running down the sidewalk.

    Sheila & Sherrill - which one of you wrote the note, and which one is the twin with the mouse? What a darling story!

    E, S & S, Thanks also for your kind words. Now I'm blushing...

  5. What a lovely and well thought out post, thank you for sharing that. I am always fascinated when people look back at their childhood with fondness, I feel none of that, and it saddens me sometimes. I definitely don't want my childhood self back, I am so much happier now.

    Blogging for me, as a new starter, is definitely something of a creative outlet. I never had much success at keeping a journal or anything as a child but I am hoping I can keep my blog up.

    Thanks again!

  6. This is such a heartwarming post and I am enjoying your writing very much. Your outlook on life and childhood is very thought-provoking. The dreams of childhood are still within us and we are curious and wondrous even today. I am very childlike and I will never let that go. It keeps me happy as I age. May we all enjoy the wonders of life.

  7. I'm loving your post, made me smile. When I was little I wanted to be a fashion desingner, and used to dress my Sindy dolls in tissue paper and my Mums handkerchiefs!
    G x

  8. I always wanted to be a designer - and thats just what I am :) Its nice to 'live the dream'!

  9. I wanted to be a writer too. Someone who wrote like Enid Blyton (do you know her, she is English). I would call the bad character Sonja, as my classmate who was always talking behind my back. That would teach her!

  10. My mother was an amazing artist and I always wanted to be one too -- so far, so good. I also thought Mary Richard's life looked pretty wonderful -- her cool job and great apartment and fun neighbors. I did that for a while too but I think it was more by accident than design. :-)

  11. Susan,
    When i read your first part, my initial thought was "a psychologist." Yup!
    I wanted to be a Special Education Teacher from third grade on. I became one for about fifteen years and then I became..."a psychologist."

    I was forever making messes at the table, trying batik, cutting balsa wood, mixing tissue and some toxic varnish to make a Christmas tree. No though given to the messes I was making. I once cut a hole through my dad's new leather chair. He was not happy.

    Hopefully I am more thoughtful!

  12. This is such a great post and also a good suggestion to look back, we so often just let life get in the way without doing what makes us happy!

    I always wanted to be a singer and I was for a lot of years, gigging all over Europe, wearing the most glam dresses and loving it. Unfortunately a life incident got in the way and I haven't done it since but I did do it and loved it.

    I'm realising now that I've always been artistic/crafty and I just don't do that enough so I'm sorting that out right now!

  13. I am really enjoying all your comments. Wow, what a talented and creative group this is! And many of you seem to have followed some of those dreams that you had in childhood, in big or small ways. Or you're in the middle of pursuing them now.

    These are wonderful stories - thank you! I'd love to hear more...

  14. Lovely post Sarsaparrilla! I loved the photo of your family!
    AS a child I used to play with my barbie dolls too, perhaps I've done some of the things I used to played and others I haven't, right now I'm doing something, I used to play with my paper dolls and draw all their dresses...always 50's fashioned, now I'm trying to do them in real...

    Thanks for follow my blog! =)

  15. To me blogging is a way to share the things I like with people who like it too...cause most of my friends are not into old things. So I think that blogging helps me to be who I really am...and it also makes me forget about my carreer which is not going the way I want...
    Anyway lovely post as usual!

  16. Great post! I love the family photo! Those are some fabulous curtains in the background! I love your mother's dress!!

    I had one Barbie doll when I little but I was more into He-Man and Tonka trucks! I was girly in style but tomboy at the core! I wanted an Easy-Bake oven and a Castle Greyskull playset! lol I played war with the neighborhood boys and got in fights with a few. Despite my boyish ways, I was fascinated by pretty dresses and makeup!

    At one point, I wanted to be a marine biologist. I was obsessed with whales in 4th grade. By the time I was in high school, I knew I was to be either a linguist or an artist. And interestingly enough, I was both. I am no longer a linguist but I am still an artist, albeit strictly as a hobby now. I am a technical writer for a government contractor in the DC area. I love writing and I started my blog to maintain a creative element that often gets lost in my daily work.

  17. So Lady Betty was a tomboy! I never would have guessed. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Lexy - None of my friends are into old things either - so it's great to have blogging friends who get who we are, isn't it?

    Lizzy - I really enjoyed your blog! - I'm glad you stopped by to share about your paper doll designs...

  18. how funny!! a rat. i like that. i actually have 2 pet rats and i'm 46. what does that mean? yes, the rats are real!! sometimes when i hold them, i get just a tad of heebie jeebies and then i remember that they really are kind of sweet and enjoy companionship. they are smart and engaged...not distant like hamsters can get. my rats are actually quite fun, but so much work! so see...a rat is a good thing to sleep with at 12..not so creepy.
    funny you should post this. i was thinking there should be a reality show on tv called DREAM JOB profiling like 3 people every episode that get to do there dream job for an entire week!! mine would be a rock star of course. a writer i am not, but blogging has created a great outlet for the creative parts of me for sure. i love it!
    thanks for such a great post. i've rambled enough. good luck with all your blog writing!! you write...we'll read!


I love all of your comments - it's what makes blogging fun! C'mon, let's get a conversation going...

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