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Playing with dolls

I can't remember whether it was mother or my sister who gave me the nickname first but it was one that stuck.

Chatty Cathy is what they called me and continue to call me to this day.

It fits. Trust me.

Anyway, I thought about that when I visited with Imogene McDowell who has several Chatty Cathy dolls in her collection of more than 500 dolls at her Mustang home.

I had never seen my little namesake and I got to see several of them during my interview with McDowell. According to different sources on the internet, the Chatty Cathy doll was quite popular when it was introduced in the 1960's. 

The visit with McDowell was memorable for other reasons.

  • Does anyone play with dolls anymore? She said she didn't think children played with dolls like they did when she was a child. I tend to agree with her. The 93-year-old woman has spent much time with young people in her children's ministry work at churches over the years and she noticed that many youths these days are more interested in video games and tablets and such than dolls. Still, we both agreed that there are still some little people out there who appreciate doll babies.
  • Cabbage Patch Kids mania. I saw that McDowell had numerous Cabbage Patch Kids, including some that were black. I remembered when my grandmother stood in line to get Cabbage Patch Kids for me and all of her other grandchildren back in the early 1980's. I was a teen at the time and I was unimpressed with the little brown-skinned Cabbage Patch doll that my Granny gave me for Christmas one year. That lasted until I got back to school after Christmas break and found out that lots of other students had received one of the dolls and they were the "IT" items of the holidays. I went back home and grabbed the doll and felt grateful that I had one. I can't remember her name, but she had a birth certificate and all the other items that meant she was born in the "cabbage patch" destined just for me. I told that story to my grandmother many years later and she got a kick out of it. "That's what grannies are for," she said. Now, I wish I had kept that doll.
  • That one creepy doll ... . I wondered before I visited McDowell if I would feel that so many dolls in one place was creepy. But they didn't feel creepy at all, thanks to McDowell and her sweet spirit. She had stories for everyone of her dolls and it was a very pleasant interview. There was only one doll that was very creepy and it turns out that I'm not the only one who found it so, over the years. It was the No-Name Doll (pictured above) and it had large red alien-like eyes with what appeared to be a forlorn expression on its face. McDowell said that as the story goes, the little girl who was given the doll for her birthday didn't want it, it was so weird looking. If you look it up on the internet, you will find that people liked these dolls for their weird faces. Whatever!
  • She's a real doll. Finally, it was obvious to me that McDowell is young-at-heart and that's why children have been drawn to her over the years and she to them. She takes great pride in her many years of children's ministry and her fellow church members at First Baptist Church of Mustang like Sandi Burrow, said they love her dearly for her kindness and unfailing love for the church and its people.
  • Read my story about Imogene's Vintage Doll Collection here: "Hello dollies!"

Carla Hinton

Religion Editor

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Carla Hinton

Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide... Read more ›

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