One of the earliest "kid crazes" a mother had to endure was the Cabbage Patch Kids. Every little girl wanted one, and a parent had to stand in line for hours to get one. Luckily for me, I had sisters who were willing to do so. However, in four separate attempts, my sisters got to the front of the line and the dolls were gone before they received their ticket to get one.
My sister, Abby, had a big argument with an employee at Bradlees department store. Thank God she never got arrested, but that is my sister Lee's forte. My mom did not give up. She called every store in the tri-state area, and finally said, "Let's go! Clover has one." Remember Clover, the discount version of Strawbridge's?
We got to the store and on the shelf were five dolls left--all black. I still remember how excited I was as I looked them over and chose mine carefully. "Gwen Carla.. she's mine," I said and proudly carried my new little girl to the register. I bounced around dancing, waiting to get rung up to make her officially mine.
There was a black female customer in front of us in line who looked at me and snapped, "Don't you know you should stick to your own kind." Wow. Until that moment, I hadn't realized there was a difference. As an adult, I'm a little mad at the woman who tried to push her racist bull crap attitude upon an eight-year-old kid. I'm also sort of proud at the fact that I saw no difference in the doll, nor did my mother try to talk me out of it. That says a lot for the way my mother raised us.
My brother was the one who tormented me over Gwen... not over the color of the doll, but just him being a little bratty brother and wanting to torture me. He would stand at the top of the stairs and throw Gwen down and scream, "Flight Lessons!" As an adult to get him back, I would occasionally throw something of his and scream the same.
I still have Gwen Carla, sitting on top of my dresser. Thank God she's just a doll, cause I would never have been able to afford college for a real kid. I sometimes wonder why adults can't rid their prejudices, not just of race, but of religion, social class and more.