Crissy is not a doll familiar to me. Recently an old childhood friend asked if I had ever owned such a doll, and I had to confess I’d never had any interest in a Crissy. What I coveted, at two years old, was an African American baby doll.
Can I tell you how proud I am of this fact? I mean, as a precocious toddler, how progressive was that? I made it perfectly clear what was on my wish list. (My mother claimed although I rarely had much to say, I never spoke “baby talk” rather, I used clear, concise sentences.)
“Mama, I want Santa to bring me a little, brown, chocolate baby for Criss-muss, Okay?”
Now, what puzzled everyone involved in the request was that we lived in Idaho and I had never even seen a colored person, in person. And it couldn’t have been on television as I refused to watch any program unless there were a monkey or two on the screen. Thus, my older brother Biff pointed out. “As a kid, Nance, your T.V. viewing was pretty limited!”
Only years later did I learn what a difficult time Santa had locating a dark brown baby doll to place under our tree that year. I think she, I mean he must’ve ordered it from a store back east, where my mother had grown up in a rich environment blessed with Jews, Christians, Negroes, Protestants and even some celebrities. She always told us Kilmer kids we were deprived to be growing up in such a “white bread” town. So she regaled us with stories of her privileged childhood, albeit without a father. But that’s another story. One you can read in my upcoming book, NAKED JOY, Confessions of a Skittish Catholic from Idaho.
And so it happened, I woke up Christmas morning at the tender age of two to a plastic,chocolate brown baby doll under the tree. Plus, Mommy had sewn my baby a wardrobe of cuddly infant gowns and blankies.
“And what will you call your new baby, Nanner?” Daddy asked as I changed its tiny diaper.
Without hesitation I declared the name I had decided upon weeks before.
“CHOCO-BABY! What else?”
You might call me a “trip-a-holic”. Boise in February, Palm Beach in April, Peru in late May then Scandanavia and Russia last week. At the risk of sounding decadent, let me tell you…I NEEDED these vacations.
“Vacations from what?” My frivolous friend Faye* in Florida wants to know.
“Well”… I respond, trying not to sound conceited or the least bit agitated.
“A break from all these darn plugs. Do you realize what I endure every morning here in this huge, hideous house?”
Not patient enough to wait for her response I begin my tirade:
Every single morning I drag myself out of bed, unplug my Walkman and Kindle, fumble around trying to plug in the lousy laptop, and head down to the kitchen. There I plug in the coffee pot and while waiting for it to decide what to brew, wander over to the den to punch in the TV…
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