American Girl, the enormously popular maker of enormously expensive dolls and accessories, is introducing two new dolls to their historical roster. But the crazy thing is this: these new dolls grew up in the 1970s.
Hey, that’s not historical. That’s Smartmom’s childhood. Just a few years ago.
Talk about feeling old. When American Girl makes a ’70s-era doll, you know your childhood is officially the olden days.
This reminds Smartmom about the time a second-grade friend asked her mother if she had any pilgrim clothing left over from when she was a kid.
Smartmom felt really bad for that girl’s mom. She wasn’t that old and her kid sure had a weird sense of time.
Kids have a funny way of conceiving of history. Ten years seems like an eternity. Your parent’s childhood is, like, forever ago.
The truth is, it was forever ago and to kids like Teen Spirit, it’s more than a little interesting to hear Hepcat’s stories about New York City during the heyday of the Ramones, Talking Heads, and Pylon at the Mudd Club and CBGB.
On the other hand, he barely lowers the volume on his iPod earphones when Smartmom reminisces about the Be-In in Central Park and the Tall Ships during the bicentennial.
Truth be told, family pictures from those days do look old fashioned or, more to the point, like something out of “That ’70’s Show.” The hairdos (and don’ts!). Smartmom’s mother’s mini skirts. Her father’s black turtleneck and beard.
In pictures of Hepcat from high school, he looks like a cross between Bottocelli’s Venus and Jesus Christ. And Teen Spirit loves to go through his dad’s closet to find cool duds like Hepcat’s hand-painted denim jackets and hand-embroidered shirts.
But Smartmom isn’t old, she’s just full of history. So she’s starting to wonder when she’ll wake up from this dream — the dream that she’s 50 years old.
How did she get to that old-sounding age, anyway?
Everyone knows that Smartmom is really 10. It’s 1968 and she’s at an anti-war demonstration, where Peter, Paul, and Mary are singing, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”
OK, she’s 12 and she’s having a bake sale for George McGovern at her progressive private school.
Alright, she’ll admit it, it’s August 1974 and she’s just back from her American Youth Hostel cycling trip and Richard Nixon is about to resign on the evening news.
Or maybe it’s 1975 and she’s just lost her virginity and her parents are splitting up…
This age thing just isn’t fair. When Smartmom looks in the mirror, she sees what she wants to see. She’s still as fit as she was when she was one of the top runners on the Walden High School Girl’s Track Team.
But the other day at a California mall, a little girl asked her if she was OSFO’s grandmother. Smartmom didn’t take it too hard. The girl was standing with her own grandmother who looked no more than 45. But still.
Does Smartmom really look like someone’s grandmother?
Maybe not. But she sure is wise. She can practically guarantee that OSFO is going to want Julie or Ivy, the two new 1970s-era dolls to add to her already huge, messy haired collection of American Girl, which includes, Felicity, a feisty girl living in colonial Williamsburg; Kit, the Depression-era doll, who hangs out with young hobos and even gets a chance to ride the rails; and OSFO’s fave, Molly, the World War II-era doll, whose doctor dad is overseas while her mom works for the war effort stateside.
OSFO has learned quite a bit about American history with these girls.
But does she really need a doll to teach her about the birth of feminism, Studio 54 and “Ford to NYC: Drop Dead”?
She’s got two parents who can teach her everything she needs to know about the time of their youth.
And those parents are at least as much fun as an 18-inch plastic doll, with an expressionless face, who doesn’t even know how to talk.
Now, if OSFO was just willing to listen!