Pipi’s Pasture: Memories of a cardboard barn | CraigDailyPress.com

Pipi’s Pasture: Memories of a cardboard barn

Diane Prather
Pipi's Pasture
Pipi's Pasture

My love of ranch life and cows began when I was about 2 years old, and I have a photo to prove it. The photo is a cherished gift from my brother Duane (Osborn). He enlarged and then framed the old photo of me as a 2-year-old. In the photo, I’m standing with my hands on a Hereford calf, and I’m smiling.

It’s no wonder, then, that my favorite childhood toy was a cardboard barn with animals. I’m not sure just how old I was when I received the barn, but I can remember some things about it — enough to know that I loved the toy. It was made of a heavy cardboard and came in pieces that had to be assembled. It was a colorful barn, and I enjoyed pretending to be a rancher. Sadly, the barn did not survive all those hours of play, but I still have the pleasurable memories.

Probably the next favorite childhood toys were dolls. My sisters Charlotte (Allum) and Darlene (Blackford) and I each received a doll from Santa every year. (A note here: I’m not purposely leaving our brother Duane from toy memories. He came along when I was 14 years old.) When the Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward catalogs came in the mail each November, we girls pored over the pages, studying the new trends in dolls.

I still have a baby doll that one year was especially intriguing because the doll “wet” her diaper. She was made from a heavy rubber so she wasn’t quite as cuddly as some dolls, but her arms and legs were movable.

She came dressed in a baby outfit and a diaper. The included bottle could be filled with water and then fed to the doll through an opening in her mouth. Then the doll “wet” through another opening, and her diaper had to be changed. Charlotte and I had these dolls and we played with them, but I don’t remember that they were our favorites.

When I was nearly the age to no longer play with dolls, the Toni doll came along. She had movable eyes and pretty facial features and hair made from a new fiber that could be combed, styled, and even washed. My doll had red hair; I can’t remember Charlotte’s doll. The Toni Company, known for its production of home permanents for humans, produced the doll. I still have the Toni doll today.

My favorite doll ever was Sparkle Plenty (or perhaps Plenty Sparkle — it’s been a long time). She was designed for a character in the Dick Tracy comics. I still have my Sparkle Plenty doll, but she looks a little bedraggled; after all, I played with her a lot. Her body was fiber-filled and covered with a new sort of rubber that was much softer as that of the baby doll described earlier. She had yellow yarn hair and a porcelain head with movable eyes.

I loved this doll and carried her everywhere. One day Charlotte and I got into an argument over Sparkle Plenty, and in a tug-of-war she got her arm pulled off. One day I hope to have a seamstress who specializes in doll repair fit Sparkle Plenty with a new body.

Memories of childhood toys are wonderful.

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