I’m from an era when children played with each other; when no one had a cell phone, TV, or computer. Phyllis, my apartment building friend, and I spent much of our time together playing “house.” We were both the momma of our individual babies, our Dy Dee Dolls. Each windowsill became the baby’s bed, fashioned with a towel for the mattress and a washcloth for the blanket.
My Dy Dee Doll was my only toy. I owned no books, puzzles, games, or other dolls. I was lucky to have gotten my baby doll as a birthday gift from my rich cousin. I would not be surprised to hear you ask, “Hey, what’s a Dy Dee Doll?” I was surprised I remembered what my rubber baby doll was called. I Googled it and learned its history. In the 1930’s The Dy Dee Doll was an invention of two businessmen. It was a huge success as a “drink and wet” doll. It had an opening in its mouth for the nipple on the bottle. A tube inside the doll reached to an opening it the doll’s buttocks (not actually the correct place for the urinating process; accuracy was not an issue). I fed my baby doll pineapple juice so it would at least pee the correct color.
My Dy Dee Doll was a lucky baby to belong to me. While we were too poor to afford the assortment of clothing available in the doll catalogues, my talented seamstress mother (the doll’s grandmother) made her a huge wardrobe. I cannot recall all the many items of clothing my baby doll had, but I can describe my favorites. Baby doll (I never named the doll) had pajamas that were the exact duplicate of the ones my mother made me. Baby doll had a maroon velvet winter coat with a real fur collar and momma made her a beautiful soft orange velvet dress, trimmed with black piping. My Dy Dee Doll had a designer original, made to order wardrobe. She had a one-of-a kind wardrobe. I was always careful when she drank and wet. “Playing house” with Phyllis was good training for my future role as a mother.
I treasured my Dy Dee Doll. In my teenage years, but unbeknownst to me, my mother gave my niece (momma’s first grandchild) my doll. In that era, children had many toys. My niece owned a sexy Barbie Doll with a full wardrobe of gowns and bathing suits. That doll even had hair that could be combed and fashioned. The old rubber Dy Dee Doll couldn’t compete. It was tossed in a heap of discarded toys. I have an intense desire to hold that doll again.