Who doesn't remember American Girl dolls? Each one came with her own story. A doll AND a book series? It's like they were made specifically for me. Each of these dolls told a story about a different era of American history from the perspective of a girl that any 10 year old could relate to. Who could forget Samatha, Josephina, Felicity, Molly, Addy, and Kit? Actually, I think I still have Josephina somewhere in a closet at my parents house, along with the matching nightgown set that Mamaw made so that Samantha and I could rock our floor-length matching pajamas in style.
Bitty Baby was part of the American Girl family. You could customize the way she looked and she always came with her own little teddy bear. Bitty Baby had an outfit and accessories for every occasion. She had her own carrier and diaper bag and suitcase so that she could go everywhere with you. Even a 5 minute trip to church or a friend's house meant I had to pack a full suitcase for Bitty Baby, not to mention long road trips to visit Aunt Ann, my cousin Katy and Mamaw. And I had to make sure to have the latest in all Bitty Baby fashion so that Katy and I could compare Bitty Baby Couture. It was serious business, people.
My Size Barbie
Who wouldn't want a barbie doll they could share clothes with? She wasn't much good for playing with, but she was great for practicing your braiding skills and she came with a combo ballerina/princess dress and slippers. My Size Barbies got more sophisticated as time went on. I remember by the time my younger sister was in her Barbie phase she had a Rapunzel version. Not the Disney "Tangled" Rapunzel either, this was before her time. This Rapunzel was from the "Barbie as Rapunzel" movie and she had a detachable Rapunzel-length braid that you could attach to your own hair. I did it once as a joke and went to flip my hair around and that dang thing was so heavy I went further than expected and knocked my head on the door frame. Not one of my proudest moments.
When I was in elementary school - probably between 2nd and 3rd grade - Tamagotchis were all the rage. You'd actually be surprised at how hard those suckers were to keep alive. I remember my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Overall, getting on to some of us for taking out our Tamagotchi's to feed them. They were the cell phones of that time period. We obsessed over them at lunch and recess. We tried to see who could keep her Tamagotchi alive the longest. We sincerely believed that if we killed our Tamagotchi then we were destined to be a terrible mother.
Jelly sandals were the most coveted of all the footwear options. Some people even wore them in the winter with colorful socks. They made the most obnoxious clacking and scraping noises when you walked on any hard surfaces, and they were the most uncomfortable shoes EVER! My jelly sandals gave me blisters pretty much everywhere they touched my feet. I'm glad that fad didn't last long because I'm not sure my feet could've taken much more.
This may have just been a trend with my friends and I growing up, but it was a pretty big part of my childhood all the same. I had an older cousin who wanted to be a teacher from a young age (and she actually grew up to be one). She asked for an overhead projector from Santa for Christmas one year and I thought it was the coolest toy I had ever played with. So, naturally, I had to have one of my own. The next Christmas I got my own overhead projector from Santa. I spent hours playing "teacher" with my friends. Of course those projectors are now a bit outdated, but back then it was cool to play teacher with the exact same tool that our teachers used every day. It made the experience that much more authentic.
I chose these images very carefully, because these two dollhouses were the exact ones that I had. The family pictured above lived in the pink house, complete with another sister, brother, and twin baby girls (they were big families because I had lots of dolls but only two houses, I wasn't going to make anyone homeless!). There was another family who lived in the blue house. They were neighbors and the younger brothers were best friends. The twin babies got into all kinds of shenanigans and the older sisters were initially enemies, but they soon got over that and became inseparable. The story line was very well thought out and detailed. I could occupy myself for hours with these two dollhouses.
Talk With Me Barbie
This Barbie was pretty revolutionary for her time. She came with a CD and you could use the CD to download a program on your computer that allowed you to program Barbie to say what you wanted. Her mouth would actually move when she talked to you! Obviously, this Barbie has gotten much more sophisticated over time, but back when I got the "Talk With Me Barbie" she was pretty technologically advanced. That being said, she never did work the way she was supposed to. . .
My First Cell Phone
This beautiful piece of engineering was my very first cell phone. It looks like an ancient piece of technology, doesn't it? Seriously, this thing probably belongs in a museum. It didn't have a camera, I couldn't text, it certainly didn't have internet or GPS, and if I wanted it to play a song for a ringtone I had to pay $0.99.
I believe the slogan for this instant messaging service was "the future of Messenger." This was the premier means of communication from middle school all the way through the first half of high school. My friends and I always used MSN Messenger, but when I moved to Arkansas I learned that everyone here used AOL Instant Messenger. (For the record, MSN was better). I changed the emoticons on my screen name at least once a week. Of course, texting and the evolution of social media and iPhones gradually made this an archaic and unnecessary resource, but it was fun while it lasted.