When you’re a young girl getting something in the mail is a joyous occasion. Getting mailed a magazine with pictures of dolls and the prospects of buying one, as a young girl, is something else. Torture? For some cruel reason I started receiving the American Girl Doll catalog when I was just seven years old. I’d pore over each page of my catalog pining for the dolls, their clothing, and furniture sets until each sheet was crinkly and tattered.
American Girl characters portray girls who live during specific periods of time in American History. They have different ethnicities, personalities, and may identify with the young girls to whom they are marketed towards. I loved “Kirsten,” the doll with golden locks who lived a Little House on the Prairie lifestyle. But since there was a doll named “Molly” it seemed disrespectful to ask for an American Girl by any other name. By reading her six-book series I learned that we had plenty in common. She loved school, I loved school. She wore big round glasses, I wore big round glasses. She had bangs, I wanted bangs. I wanted mail-order American Girl “Molly” more than anything and for at least three consecutive years she topped all of my Christmas and birthday wishlists.
One Christmas morning I opened a present. It was my “Molly” doll and she was beautiful. Wearing her signature red and blue uniform, with school books in hand, she beamed that familiar “we’re going to be best friends” smile. Something though, and I wasn’t quite sure what, was different. Mom explained that the company had sent me a “special” doll and that her glass face and appendages were “upgrades” not mistakes.
My best friend Michelle visited over Christmas break and I proudly showed the doll to her. Since she had an American Girl or two of her own Michelle looked at me like I was crazy when I insisted that, “My Mom said so!” Looking back, I know that Michelle was wise beyond her years, knew better and probably just went along with the charade. She knew the truth long before I did. Although I had my suspicions. We ended up playing Barbies instead.
The truth is… my “Molly” was a knockoff. She was the kind that old ladies collect and put on pedestals in glass cases. She was the kind that you get at Family Dollar for 25 bucks. She was the kind that resemble American Girl characters and Mothers buy for their daughters so that they quit asking for one!
I was naive then but now, I know the truth. Because I checked. The company doesn’t even make dolls with glass arms or legs and if they didn’t charge an arm and a leg for them, I may have gotten a real one for Christmas.
Mom Santa liked to keep the amount of Christmas presents equal between Mason and I. Therefore if I opened an authentic Molly McIntire my other presents would likely have been gum ball machine tattoos. It saddens me to think that I never got an American Girl doll and that I probably never will. Mom…I know that you’re reading this and I’m still waiting for an apology… or a doll. Why now? The company is retiring “Molly McIntire” after 27 years and my birthday is on the 27th of November. I did the math and the going rate for these little gems is four easy payments of $27.50, plus shipping & handling. Coincidence? I think not.