WHAT A DOLLPosted: June 23, 2016
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?”