Her name is Georgie and the dress she wears, a red and white plaid, is not the original outfit. To current children accustomed to dolls who coo and cry and resemble actual infants, she would look almost as old-fashioned in their eyes to a china doll. To me, however, she's still precious because she's a piece of my childhood, my first doll I carried and tended.

Her name is Georgie and the dress she wears, a red and white plaid, is not the original outfit. To current children accustomed to dolls who coo and cry and resemble actual infants, she would look almost as old-fashioned in their eyes to a china doll. To me, however, she's still precious because she's a piece of my childhood, my first doll I carried and tended.
My very first doll wasn't a toy. It is a tiny doll tucked into the top of a bright red Christmas stocking and I still hang it on my tree each December. Although it holds title as my first, Georgie is the first doll I remember.
I think my grandparents, Granny and Pop, bought her for me.  If so, they probably purchased the doll at either United Department Store or at Kresge's, the long ago forerunner to K-Mart.
Her original dress was a light pink sheer material and it tied in the back into a bow.
I named her for my Granny's mother, Annie Hayward, whose given name was Georgia or Georgie Ann.
Unlike later baby dolls of the later half of the 1960's decade, her hair is molded and it's not soft, faux hair. Since United's was an older business, they often had toys from earlier decades, dating back to the 1950's and 1940's.  I suspect but can't confirm that my doll probably had been manufactured in an earlier era than the one of my birth.
Her lips are parted so she could be 'fed' with a doll sized baby bottle.
I later collected other dolls. Some of my favorites included a bride doll, complete with lacy wedding gown and a veil.  I tucked her into bed with me at night so often the hair on the back of her head became flat and nothing I could do could fluff it back.  I named her 'Carol' after my mother and insisted that my younger brother name a teddy bear he received for the same Christmas 'Jerry' after my dad. Even as a child, I strove to be relentlessly fair.
I had a doll dressed in a ballerina's costume whose legs could be positioned to pivot and pose in other ballet movements. Made by Mattel, I called her 'Dancerella' but I think the name was actually 'Dancerina'.  I always was creative and independent.
 I also remember a doll with two faces, one happy and the other sad. I seldom turned up the sad face side because it disconcerted me.
My Raggedy Ann doll is now just that - raggedy but it's a sign she was well loved.
One of my last dolls in the later years of my childhood was called Baby Tender Love and she was soft, supposedly like a baby.
I had a few other dolls, one named Janie and another large baby doll. I kept those two in a red and white doll carriage at my grandparents' house where I spent most of my days before I went to school, while my parents worked.
Dolls, like me, have changed since then.
When shopping for dolls for my girls, I found it challenging to find a simple doll. So many walk or talk or cry or require special diapers because they also wet.  Some even giggle.
Call me old-fashioned but I think kids develop a better imagination when they pretend, when the doll or toy doesn't do everything.  I like to believe creative play worked for me.
Of course, I made up stories about my dolls and stuffed animals and other toys.  Perhaps I developed some storytelling skills along the way.  Between that and listening to my elders tell stories, it seems almost inevitable that I became a writer and a storyteller.
So, although I'm mature and long past childhood, my first doll, Georgie, stands in a place of honor in my home.
She's a reminder of those carefree childhood days, a time when life seemed much simpler and the future lay ahead like a wrapped gift, unknown but waiting.
Now, the future is here and I'm living it, one day at a time.


Lee Ann Murphy is a staff writer and writes a column for the Neosho Daily News.