Saturday, July 16, 2011

Christmas Past--Dolls and Cap Guns

Vintage Bride Doll
Dolls were a big part of my Christmases. I loved my dolls, and still have a few, those that did not deteriorate and mold and finally went to Doll Heaven.
The first doll I remember was a bride doll about a foot high. I was four years old and I still have her. God bless her little hard plastic body, she's one of the few that has held up all these years. Later, I received bride and groom dolls—which I still have--and a Margaret O'Brian doll complete with a darling little dress, straw hat, and white shoes. She still wears those today. We couldn't afford the Shirley Temple Doll I wanted, so got Margaret instead.

The last doll Santa brought was a life-size boy doll. Don't laugh. I was ten and my boy doll was the size of a one-year-old child. Since I was too old for dolls at that point, my boy doll—he never had a name—sat on my bed next to my white Persian stuffed cat and my pink Teddy Bear.

But what I really wanted…and got…was a six-shooter cap gun in a holster and belt so I could strap it on around my non-existent eight-year-old waist. With it came a red bandana to tie around my neck, a plaid button shirt, and girl jeans (the kind that zipped on the side—no boy jeans for me, my mother declared.) I was in heaven with my Western get-up. You see? My love of the cowboy sprouted in my little girl heart from an early age.

Since this is Christmas in July at HEA, I'd like to give you a present—a 1500 word Free Read titled Merry Christmas, Victoria. To read this story, email me here: and I will send the pdf of this story. You can also find this one and two more Free Reads on The Wild Rose Press website. Just click on my name for my pages of books.
A Christmas story available on Western Trail Blazers and on Amazon: Angel and the Cowboy, 99 cents in the Dime Novel section of Victory Tales Press.

He needs a wife…
Because the sheriff summons him, U.S. Marshal Max Garrison rides to town. He resents learning he must supervise a young man just out of prison who will work at his ranch for a time. But when he meets the beautiful young woman who owns the teashop, he knows his trip is not wasted. Max decides she's the one for him.

She faces another lonely Christmas…
Daniella Sommers lives alone above the book and teashop her English parents left her. When U.S. Marshal Max Garrison walks in and asks for tea, she almost laughs. Soon, her merriment turns to hope. Then Daniella learns a shocking truth about herself. If she reveals her past, will Max still love her?

Christmas is near, the time for miracles and surprises. Will the message of the season bring Max and Daniella the best gift of all?

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas


Lindsay Townsend said...

Wonderful, Celia! I love your Bride Doll and the story about your cap guns. (I had those, too, when I was a kid.

Happy Xmas memories!
Thanks for sharing.

Cheryl Pierson said...

Hi Celia,

I got a doll every year for Christmas. It was a tradition with my mom, I suppose because being a child of the Depression here in Oklahoma in the Dustbowl days she remembered the few dolls she ever got growing up. When I got too old for baby dolls, she started buying me Madame Alexander collector dolls. I have about 5 of them, but although they are cute, I never was much of a "collector" doll person. Like you, cap guns were more favored. LOL I had an "Annie Oakley" outfit.Red cowgirl hat, red twill skirt with some sort of embroidery on the front, and a checked flannel shirt with shiny buttons. LOVED THAT OUTFIT SO MUCH. Also, I always begged for a horse, but my dad would say, "Where would we put him, Cheryl Kathlyn?" (we had a very tiny backyard, huge front and side yard.)

LOVE your Jimmy Thomas cover, Celia! Karen did a fantastic job on it, and of course it goes without saying that the story is great!


Sarah J. McNeal said...

I didn't get a doll every year and certainly not a bride doll but the time I do remember getting a doll, I hated that it had holes in its plastic stomach so it could cry, "Mama". My mother loved to sew and made everything for my and my sister's dolls from pajamas to coats and hats. Whatever we did, our dolls did and dressed for the occasion.
I became a tomboy when I was eight and the doll buggy became a stage coach. I too, strapped on a six shooter and went after imaginative villains. Later, I got a magnifying glass and plastic bubble pipe and morphed into Sherlock Holmes.
Great blog, Celia. I loved reading about your childhood toys.

Bekki Lynn said...

I was never one for dolls, ever. However, there was one my favorite uncle bought me when I was about six, I guess. I don't know if he's still at my mom's or not. He wore a blue sleeper outfit. No pink for me - he knew me well. lol

My mom, however, never gave up on trying to turn me into a girlie girl, so at age ten, I put my foot down. I told her if she insisted on getting another doll, it had to be one that did something. I wanted one tall enough to walk beside me. No whimpy thing I didn't want to carry around. lol I could have sworn it was an impossible task and had hopes of no more dolls. Wrong! Under the tree that Christmas was a two foot tall doll that could walk and talk. I gave it a whirl for as long as I could stand it. lol She was annoying - couldn't climb trees, or run the bases.

Never did get the cap gun or bow & arrow set or the baseball bat. I probably would have used it on my prissy sissy anyway. So glad she grew out of that. My dad bought me fishing equipment much to mom's dismay, but divorced parents weren't known to see eye-to-eye. lol

My husband bought me my first gun when I was nineteen. 20ga and I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. I like to say it was my moms fault for not getting me guns to practice with as a child.

Childhoods are so full of memories. I laugh a lot when I think about most of them.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Celia, I got my gun and holster at age eight, breaking my mom's heart. She wanted a girly girl, and I wanted to ride the range with Roy Rogers. She still gave me a doll for Christmas.

Savanna Kougar said...

Oh, Celia, thank you so much for this post! You bring back so many good memories for me.

And oh, this is too good! I absolutely loved my Annie Oakley outfit, and would strap on my guns and wear it all the time. Sometimes, I mounted my stick pony, and took off to run the neighborhood... much to the dismay of the neighbors... I discovered later.

I wasn't a big fan of dolls, except I did like my Betsy McCall doll, and a life-size one like Bekki had.

Celia Yeary said...

Wow! You all have made my day. I never knew there were so many of us who preferred our guns to dolls.

LINDSAY--You had capguns in the UK? I never knew--I would have thought that was a purely American thing. Good for you--you're one of us!

CHERYL--I think our mothers were the ones who wanted the dolls--don't you? Or maybe they thought it was required that their little girl get a doll. Oh, I'm so jealous of your Madame Alexander dolls--see? I wanted those to arrange on my dresser, but they were too expensive for us. I can just see you in your little Annie Oakley outfit. Me? I wanted to be a cowBOY, not a cowgirl.
Thank you for the comment about my Jimmy Thomas cover. I, too, love it. And thanks--I'm glad you liked the story.

SARAH--you made me laugh, thinking of you as a little girl using your doll buggy for a stagecoach! That is too cute. So, you're another one of the cowboy/sixshooter group. I never knew there were so many. Sherlock Holmes? That would have been fun!

BEKKI--I remember those walking talking dolls. You must be closer to my daughter's age than mine--I remember those dolls scared her. Guess she thought they were real.Oh, and I had one of those sisters, too. We were each other's best friends as kids--always played cowboys and would argue who got to be whom--She always had to be Roy Rogers because "he was good-looking and could ride and shoot better." I had to settle for Gene Autry, and she said he was "fat and couldn't shoot straight." Argue, argue. Thanks for a highly entertaining comment!

CAROLINE--maybe more little girls got guns and holsters than boys did! I wanted a Red Ryder BB gun...but no..... no way.

SAVANNA-You and Cheryl were Annie Oakleys! I love these memories, too. When you stop and starting remember, sometimes all kinds of things pop up.
I didn't have a Betsy McCall doll, but my sister and I fought every month who would get Betsy the Paper Doll in the McCall's magazine. Mother would have to keep it straight, whose turn it was to cut her and her little outfits out of the magazine.

Thank you all, ladies--I feel like we had a little party! Celia

Jacquie Rogers said...

I had a pair of Roy Rogers six-shooters with the gunbelt and holsters. My shetland pony and I rode the range many a day chasing bad guys.

We all had BB guns when we were little, and when I was 6, I got a .22 rifle, and a 20-gauge when I was 12. Firearms, however, were never considered toys and woe be unto anyone who mishandled them.

I had a bride doll but she was for decoration, and a baby doll that I played with only when other girls came over, which wasn't often.

Thanks for your trip down memory lane, Celia. I loved reading the comments, too. :) Yes, what a bunch of tomboys we all were!


Celia Yeary said...

Jacquie--this has had me entertained all day. I never knew there were so many tomboys among us! My little sister and I were each other's playmates, and we loved our guns and little cars. Our dolls, as you say, were for decoration. We did love paper dolls, and had shoeboxes for each kind and we played make-believe with those for a very long time. I believe that's where my creative spark came from. My paper dolls had names, they went to parties,traveled to Paris, they had boyfriends...sort of the beginning of romance novels!
Thanks for your comment. I loved it! Celia

Savanna Kougar said...

Celia, I loved my paper dolls too. I would carefully cut them out, and ended up drawing/creating them outfits.

Thank you for all this memory-loveliness.

Teresa K. said...

Hi Celia,

Growing up as a little girl, I was always tagging along with my daddy and grandpa. I was 4 or 5 went I went hunting with my dad. I will never forget it. It was winter time and we went into the woods up into the hills hunting for Rabbit. My dad pointed out how to look for tracks. As we were tramping up the mountain I kept slipping and falling a squealing like a girl. Needless to say we didn't get a Rabbit that day because I scared all the game away from my screaming.
However, that was my first taste at being a tomboy.

Yes I got dolls over the years at Christmas. I remember my first Barbie doll. She had brown hair. I played with my dolls. Because my sisters were too little to play with me. My aunt had boys and boy did we have fun with our cap guns.
I had a Red Cowboy hat & red cowboy boots.
Once I got those I was done for. I had to do everything my boy cousins did. Hunt, fish, sports. I didn't start being a girl until after high school. Even than I was reluctant. I'm 48 now and I still am very much a tomboy, however I collect some dolls now. I'm Native American and I collect Native American Porcelain dolls and Barbie Dolls. I'm very selective about my dolls.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your life, thanks for sharing. Oh and even now I still do the hunting thing from time to time, but I much enjoy the turkey shoots now better. That is something me and my son do for fun in the fall. We love it. I thought my son to shoot and he's a marksman now. He's a much better shot than me. I thought him to make sure your first shot counts because ammunition is expensive and as a single parent I couldn't afford a large quantity.

Thank you for all the memories.

Teresa K.

Celia Yeary said...

SAVANNA--I think my paper dolls were the beginning of my creative story-telling. Never wrote anything down, but my paper dolls went to balls, traveled in France, married cowboys--many things we put in our romance novels. I was young, though, so none of my dolls kissed a boy. Ewwww!

Celia Yeary said...

TERESA--I still it's odd how many girls were tomboys and played with cap guns. Are girls like that today? It seems to me most like all the girl stuff--that Princess thing, etc.
Maybe it was the time, those decades, when our entertainment lives weren't wrapped up in TV and computers.
Thank you so much for your memories and stories about teaching your son to shoot!
I loved your sharing with us...Celia

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Celia,

I love your dolls and cap guns post. I had a couple of baby dolls but between the mud puddles and the salt marsh they didn't last long. I always hated that my dolls had longer eyelashes than me.

Though my brother got cap guns, he didn't seem to want to play with them - fine with me. I love the smell of a cap gun first thing in the morning.

I best we would have been best pals back then, too.

Enjoyed the trip down memory lane!


LK Hunsaker said...

Loved this, Celia! I wasn't much into dolls, either, and yet I do have one that's dear to my heart I still have from when I was five. A couple of others are sitting in my "future grandchildren" area alongside the full bookshelves.

My daughter isn't into dolls and sewing and such, either. She does love to shoot guns, though!