Monday, April 18, 2011
Another Birthday Means More Nostalgia
It's odd as you age, each occasion spurs memories. I think the older you get, the more you reminisce. A recent birthday brought back a flood of old memories.
When I was just a few years old, my parents moved us to the suburbs from Detroit. It was a huge thing in those days to live just a few blocks north of eight mile (yes.. the very same Eminem 8 Mile) and it was considered "out in the country."
Warren had a small town feel then. Most stores were independently owned, and Dad wouldn't dream of not shopping local. We all knew the grocer, the hardware store man and all the shop owners by first name.
This of course included the "electronic store" owned by Joe Sunday. He was the nicest man, and dad was often in his "Sunday's Appliance" store. We also got anything that plugged in from him, from radios to washing machines.
I was born loving music. It was only natural that the spring I turned 13, I wanted my very own record player. A portable one. With a handle. That I could take to my girlfriend's house, or could play my beloved 45's in my bedroom ~ The Beatles, Herman's Hermits, The Rolling Stones and lots of our "native" Motown.
That's all I asked for that year. The only thing I wanted. Of course, Dad went to Sunday's Appliance. Joe and Dad found the "perfect" record player for me. Joe assured Dad I would love this special one. What young girl wouldn't? Joe of course had only sons. That should have been a clue for Dad.
To make matters worse, my parents decided to have a surprise birthday party for me. Thirteen was a big deal back then. An occasion to be celebrated. You are officially a teen ager, no more little girl. I don't remember specifically how many of my school friends and neighbors they invited, but I do remember walking into the kitchen to be surprised by lots of them. I hate surprises. Then and to this day. No surprises please.
It was a great party, and we had a wonderful time. Food, cake, ice cream, games and presents. As I got through the pile of gifts, there was one box remaining. It had to be four feet tall. I couldn't imagine what it was, especially since a record player is much smaller.
I opened the box. It was a DOLL. omg! Total humiliation! A doll for a 13 year old? and worse, given in front of all her classmates? I would never live that down! I was an official teen ager now!
In retrospect, the doll was amazing, and she came with a record player. Thus Dad & Joe's conviction that I would love it. What girl doesn't like dolls AND record players? A completely unheard of SINGING doll? Well, maybe a 13 year old.
Very progressive for its time, the doll had a speaker concealed in her. When you played a record on the special record player, the song would come out of the speaker in the doll. Saranade was her name, and the record included was one she would sing, about her name and what she can do.
Needless to say I acted a spoiled brat that day. Having a fit that my parents would insult me with a doll for my birthday. I immediately gave the doll to my sisters, and kept the record player. My sisters would use the player to make Saranade sing, at the same time taunting me with verses of "Saranade, saranade that's my name! I can talk, I can sign a song or two ~ with you, I'm you're Saranade!"
The taunting was endless. They really enjoyed rubbing it in that I got a doll for my birthday.
Ten years ago, searching for something unrelated on line I suddenly discovered I was looking at a Serenade doll! The memories of that birthday flooded back, and I laughed as I remember Laura and Sabrina singing the Saranade song, and the doll now long gone.
I don't know how or why it appeared on my screen, but obsessed with nostalgia, I absolutely had to have this piece of my childhood. So I bought it, paying way more than planned.
The doll arrived and was exactly as I remembered in the original huge box. It's missing the record player, and every once in a while I search "Westinghouse children's record player" in hopes of finding one.
I've long since apologized to my parents and specifically to my dad for my child like behavior as a young teen. We laugh, and my sisters still know the entire Saranade song.
The doll is in my bedroom, she's too big to really display anywhere else. She's never even been removed, still mint in her original box. Once a month I dust her off.
Hopefully one day I will have a granddaughter. I'll give her my doll and my memories for her 7th or maybe 8th birthday. I wouldn't dream of embarrassing her with it at 13.