Wednesday, September 2, 2009

If you give a girl a carriage....

I remember the day like it was yesterday. I was 7. And toothless. And wanted a dolly carriage more than life. I had a pretty extensive doll collection, complete with dresses and shoes and hair clips and jewelry. I'd lock myself and my cat Smudge Pot in my room and play fashion parlor for hours.

My mom made me the happiest girl on the planet when I woke up on my birthday to find the perfect pram to take my favorite doll on a walk. She was about 18 inches tall and had her own closet; a blue metal chest that opened to form a dressing room with drawers and hangers. Her wardrobe was to die for! Prairie dresses just like Holly Hobbie, fabulous hats to match, even socks. She had eyeballs that rolled back in her head if you laid her down.  She was the best doll ever. Then one day her head just popped right off her shoulders and couldn't be reattached, not even by my brother David who could fix anything.

I was devastated. Nothing could get me out of the dark mood that shadowed my afternoons. Well, almost nothing. Smudge Pot had been trained to sit for hours and watch the "purple and sparkly" develop in me. It was a natural progression, I suppose, to try the decapitated doll's clothes on the poor cat, and since she didn't complain (with claws, anyway) I was off and running with my new hobby: cat dressing. She loved it, I swear. I taped her dressed up little body in the stroller and took her for walks. She never left the house without a hat.

30-something years later my mom still shakes her head when I mention Smudge Pot. She was the first cat of many in my life, and she taught me a lot about unconditional love. And how to clip extensions to very short hair.

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