As little ones, we are often given a baby doll at Christmas or birthday. As children we are delighted and mother them, or throw them aside in favor of some other toy. I played with my dolls incessantly. I loved them and fed them cookies and poured pretend milk in their bottles or strolled them through the cul-de-sac we lived in. For most of us, regarding dolls as historically relevant or important contributions to the art and collecting world, doesn't occur until one of several things happen:
We are introduced to doll collecting by an adult or peer.
We grow up and become nostalgic for our long-lost childhood doll.
We stumble into a book, video, event, museum or web site that stirs our curiosity and desire to learn.
In my case, it was a bit of all three. Daddy brought home a doll from every foreign port he visited from the time I was three or four until my early teens. Although these were travel dolls, they fostered seeds of intrigue and curiosity. At, age eight, we visited my Grandmother's dear friend, Elsa, originally from Norway. Elsa had prepared a feast for us and much to
my delight, she had cases and cases of incredible antique of dolls. I was thrilled! I had never seen antique or vintage dolls and had so many questions!
She was kind and patient and showed me her precious treasures one by one, answering my questions and explaining just a bit about each doll. She looked at me with a smile and a wink and whispered in my ear that if I did something very special for her, I would get my very own doll to keep! I hopped up and down with eagerness!
"If you will learn the words in Norwegian, 'Thank you for the food' and say it after dinner, I will give you a doll of your very own!"
"Oh, yes, I promise!" So, I practiced and practiced, quietly whispering to myself the words she taught me.
I could hardly eat the wonderful meal she made, but after dad's stern look, I managed to get down a few bites. I was simply tooooo excited! Finally, dessert came! After a few bites, she could see I was practically squirming out of my chair and she smiled at me and said,
"I believe Valerie has something she wants to say."
Everyone looked at me expectantly. I blurted it out,
"Takk for maten"! My grandmother and parents were so surprised! Elsa smiled warmly and explained. Then, she asked if I could be excused and seated me in her overstuffed chair in the living room. Gently, she laid her in my arms; a pretty composition doll with blinky-blue eyes and a froth of golden hair all dressed in pink sateen. I was over the moon! She was mine! All mine! My very first vintage doll.
I will never forget that first doll. Or the curiosity she stoked in my heart. And, I will be forever grateful to Elsa. We moved to France shortly after that dinner in Los Angeles and I never saw her again, however, her warmth, generosity and kindness lives forever in my heart.
Curiosity is the foundation for every great thing we ultimately become proficient at. Curiosity lights the fire of passion and passion drives our destiny. If you are curious about something, follow that inkling and sate your curiosity. One of two things will happen; you will become passionate about the subject and dig for evermore information, becoming ever increasingly knowledgeable, or, you will conclude that your initial curiosity is satisfied, and does not ignite your passion for that particular item or type, and you move on to the next interest.
Dolls are more than something to put on a shelf. They are time capsules, reflections of the accomplishments, artistry, fashion and economic influences of the time they originate from. They are the result of another human being's curiosity and
passion. They are representatives of their creators, their cultural origins, and the countries they come from. For this collector and seller, they are the fire for my passion to learn evermore about them.
So, treasure that which makes you curious... follow it down the rabbit hole and discover what passions it may ignite for you. Wake up everyday curious and close everyday with the knowledge that your curiosity is leading you forward to the next chapters of discovery and joy!
This is a very similar doll to the one that Elsa gave to me... the doll that lit my passion... Elsa fired my Curiosity! Thank you dear Elsa!