Drowsy

I wouldn’t say I was one of those little girls who loved to play with dolls. I liked them well enough, but I always seemed to have more fun with toys that required lots of C batteries and ammunition for cap guns.  But I did have this one doll that my mom swore I took everywhere with me and her name was Drowsy.  


Drowsy was a baby doll made by Mattel who had gold-spun yellow hair and was dressed in a pink and polka dot sleeper. She had a plastic round pull string on her back and when you pulled it, her voice box said stuff like: “Mommy, I’m sleepy. I want another drink of water. Mommy, kiss me goodnight. I go sleep now, night, night. giggles”  Her painted plastic face easily conveyed that she was a sleepy little girl and ready to go to bed.  I loved her.


My mom told me that I chewed the thumbs off of Drowsy.  I have to suspect it was because I was a ferocious thumb sucker back in the day.  I’m ashamed to admit that I sucked my thumb until I was about eight years old or so.  My grandmother broke me of the habit pretty easily: she bribed me with dollar bills for every night that I slept without my thumb in my mouth.  Mom could never get me to stop, but Grammy knew what motivated me.


I also recall my mom telling me the story of a time when I came down with a serious case of pneumonia and had to stay at Hahnemann Hospital for a week.  I become inconsolable because I didn’t have Drowsy with me because my Mom threw her away without my knowledge a few days before I went into the hospital.  I guess I must have really caused a fuss because my Dad drove to the Child World Toy Store in Shrewsbury and bought me a new Drowsy-this time with thumbs intact.  


Back in the day when EBAY was still fresh and completely amazing, I found myself online searching for toys to bid on from my childhood.  My obsession with collecting my childhood toys all stemmed from an incident when I was cleaning out a basement closet after I had moved back home to take care of my Mom:  I stepped on a Weeble.  (Trust me, you’ll never forget the sharp shooting pain in the arch of your foot after stepping on a Weeble. It made quite an impression on me. )  I typed in Drowsy’s name in the search box and a whole page of Drowsy dolls appeared.   But I was shocked to discover the bid prices were hundreds of dollars!  


But then Mattel did a very cool thing-they reissued a Classic Collection Drowsy back in 1984.  I was able to buy her from Amazon and really the only difference was that her pull string had been replaced with a voice box that became activated if you squeezed her tummy.  I loved her!


This brings me full circle to why I’m writing about my favorite doll from the 70’s.  I was at work and my co-worker Sharon came into the office wearing this very, very bright pink dress with white polka dots.  She looked great in the dress and the first thing that came to  mind was that she reminded me of a Drowsy doll.  The day got away from me and I forgot to tell Sharon how much her dress reminded me of Drowsy.  But late in the afternoon, I decided to send the following email to her:
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Hi Sharon,


This is TOTALLY meant as a compliment!  I swear.   You look so nice today and I love your dress. I keep forgetting to tell you.


But I have to let you know that the dress you’re wearing reminded me of my favorite dolly when I was a little girl.  Her name was Drowsy and she had a little pull string on her back that said cute little things.  (This was hi-tech back in the ’70’s.)   It was made by Mattel.  They actually re-issued the doll and if I can remember I’m going to bring it in to work tomorrow so you can see the new version. My mom told me I ‘loved’ my doll so much that I chewed off her thumbs….not sure why I would have done that?  Any hoo, here’s a picture.  Note she looks DRUNK not DROWSY.
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Sharon replied back: Very funny……….I had the same doll.  “I want a drink of water.”  “Mommy, kiss me good night.”  I had no idea they re-issued her.  I would love to see her.  I loved my doll so much too.  I only had 2 dolls growing up.  The one below and a Raggedy Ann doll that you learned to tie and buckle and button.
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Then I remembered that my Aunt Barbara actually made me a Raggedy Ann doll, but my mother took it away from me when I stuck a needle into her stitched-on heart.  I’m not quite sure why I did this, but my mom did the right thing by taking away yet another one of my dolls.  I imagine she worried that I would squeeze the doll in just the right way and the pressure would make the dangerously sharp needle point out somewhere and poke my eye out.  My mom frustratingly yelled at me, “Why would you stick a sewing needle into your doll?

I have no idea what I said to my mother back then to justify what I did to my new doll, but  I’d like to think curiosity got the best of me and I simply couldn’t resist seeing what would happen if I stuck a needle into Raggedy Anne’s stitched-on heart. 



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