She was my favorite toy when I was growing up.  She was everything that a chubby, half-White, half-Hispanic little girl was not.  Tall in proportion, her pale flesh was accented by blushed cheeks, deep-blue glass eyes (that opened and closed) and dramatic shadowed eyelids and lashes that were expertly

painted on.  Her ash blond hair was pulled back into a bun, yet golden tendrils fell across her forehead. 

Her satin and net tutu hugged her tiny waist and then flared out like sun rays.  It was pink.  Not bubble gum or Barbie pink, but that luscious color that comes from the way light plays on satin. Flashes of silver glitter were sprinkled on the skirt. 

She had smooth, creamy shoulders, too, but the glory of this doll was her jointed ankles that put her beautiful feet, covered in pink plastic ballet shoes, “on point”.

I played with her a lot.  I imagined myself as the grand dame who taught her protégée the finest dances. I was also the ballet attendee, arriving in fur and tiara ready to enjoy the program.  I got my ideas from what I saw on television because I never took a dance class or attended a live theater performance — ballet, concert or otherwise.

As with all well-loved toys she got dirty, the net of her dress tore, she had more than a few tendrils falling from her bun and those creamy shoulders were scuffed. As I got older, I stopped playing with her.  But she remained a favorite.

One Christmas I opened a box to reveal my ballerina doll revived and beautiful again.  Mom had worked hard to clean her skin and hair and to restyle her bun.  But the big “wow” was the dress.  Mom loved to make doilies and she had crocheted a glorious new tutu.  It was rose pink, fit perfectly, and was starched to perfection.

Funny, I can’t remember ever naming that doll.  It seems she was always simply, “Ballerina.” 

Georgene (May ’11) adds, “I can’t remember when I stopped playing with my toy or what happened to her.  My mom saved a bride doll that I also loved – I still have her – but Ballerina disappeared.  If I know my mom, my favorite toy went to a cousin who lived in the projects.”

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