Monday, January 26, 2009

It's an AG Kind of Day!

A brief break in the tour re-cap....

Today I'm at my friend Answer Girl's place. Her subject this year is "Things I Don't Know." My piece is called, "I Don't Know Why I Hate Rats More Than I Hate Mice." I hope you'll drop by to hear about my disturbing rodent issues.

There's another AG on my mind today:

When I was a little girl, I had a cousin who collected Madame Alexander dolls. Do you know them? They're terribly fancy as collectibles go. She had shelves and shelves of them representing countries all over the world, storybook characters, film stars, historical figures. They were gorgeous and I was never allowed to touch them because they were so special.

I always wanted a Madame Alexander doll, but I knew they were too expensive and that my younger sisters would probably just give them haircuts like they gave to my Barbies, anyway. So I never asked. I pretended that I was too sophisticated for them, that they were too childish.

(from The Pink Princess website)


When Pom was little, she adored dolls of all sorts. But she was very hands-on and never would've stood for looking at them on the shelf. When I discovered the American Girls catalog and dolls, I knew they were for us--I mean, her.

The company is owned by Mattel now, I think, and it's a major operation. But it began small, with high-quality dolls (the quality has not slipped). First were Samantha, Felicity and Molly dolls representing the early twentieth century, the American Revolution, and the 1940's, respectively. Josefina came soon after. They've added many dolls since the early nineties and have even recently retired Samantha.

First, I bought Pom Bitty Baby, the American Girl doll baby. Bitty Baby came with a high chair, outfits for herself and her tiny bear--plus I bought the bassinet, changing table and every theme outfit from the birthday party with its wind-up musical cake to the snowbunny playsuit. Ah, childish bliss. When she turned six, she graduated to Samantha, and I gave her a red damask hat box to keep all of Samantha's lovely outfits in. Did I mention each doll has a book series, too? I even met a young woman who wrote AG books a couple of years ago. In all, I think Pom had four AG dolls. We gave a couple away, but she still has Bitty Baby and Felicity packed away. I miss those days of indulging both of us in doll paraphernalia.

American Girl has several stores called American Girl Place. It's girly paradise, and I wish I'd been able to take Pom when she was younger. When we went to Chicago last week, we decided to treat ourselves to lunch at the store there--we had a terrific time, and made some new memories.



We only had my camera phone, so it was impossible to capture the cavernous quality of the place.




I loved the decor of the restaurant. Very Dorothy Draper.



If you didn't bring a doll with you, you could select one to be seated with you at lunch!



Pom wouldn't pick a doll, but I did! Kit is the Depression Era doll--I thought she looked most like me.



Doll Hospital.





And you can have your doll's hair styled!




And buy sweet treats!



Even the bathrooms are fancy and girly. We wondered what the boys' bathroom looked like...



There were lots of other things to see and buy. A whole room full of clothes to buy to match the dolls'. A separate salon for Bitty Baby and the Bitty Twins. Just good fun all around!

8 comments:

Michelle's Spell said...

Hey lovely Laura,

The pictures of this place are too cool for words! Love the one of you and Pom. You both look so very beautiful! I think there is something so lovely and spooky about dolls -- I will have to check this place out whenever I get to Chicago next.

Laura Benedict said...

You absolutely should, Michelle. You would have so much fun--we thought about you!

Danielle Ferries said...

A doll shop! Almost as wonderful as a bookstore.

the walking man said...

ha ha ha ha ha ha The only two dolls worthy of consideration for conversation is the two in the last photo.

Is that place the equivalent of Bass Pro shops for manly men?

Rosemary Harris said...

I confess I was not much of a girly girl. The only doll I can remember having was something called Hedda Get Bedda. Weird. She had a knob on the top of her head that changed her expression from happy to sleepy to Hedda with measles. I'm not sure why my mother thought that would be fun for me. Maybe it was a reflection of her own sense of what it was to be a mother!
But you and Pom looked so happy in your surroundings that now I'm wondering what I missed by not having the healthy dolls.

Laura Benedict said...

Danielle--Yes! I totally agree. Like a bookstore with a really good cafe!

Mark--You crack me up. And you're right. But it's also like Dave and Busters. There's even wine--but no beer, I think.

Rosemary--I don't know that I can post photos here, but here's a link to a Hedda Get Bedda. No offense to your mom, okay? But Hedda is one of the most frightening dolls I've ever seen in my life! http://www.dollinfo.com/acHedda.htm

Rosemary Harris said...

Who knows...maybe she wanted me to become a doctor.

Danielle Ferries said...

Books & coffee. Ahhhh, heaven.