|McCall's magazine - May, 1951|
The four-year-old cover girl was named Peggy McGregor. The minute I saw that photo of her, I recognized her haircut. Until my grandmother took me out for an impromptu makeover, I had long, curly hair down to my waist. When she and her hairdresser friend were finished with me, I had a really bad Peggy/Betsy hairdo.
Then I started looking at old images of Betsy McCall paper dolls, and I realized that much of my childhood wardrobe was based on her clothes. My mother was an expert seamstress, so I'm sure she rushed right out to buy the corresponding McCall's patterns so she could dress me like her own little Betsy.
See the cute little blue number with a white collar and red piping? Yep, I had that dress...same color. The only variation was that my mom made the sleeves like the red and blue dress...with banded puffed sleeves instead of ruffles.
|Betsy McCall - September 1951|
In January of 1952, my mother must have thought she had an idea for the most beautiful Easter dress ever made. Instead it turned out to be the most insidious instrument of torture I was ever forced to wear. It was like the little navy and white dress below. Mine was made of brown organdy with a white organdy apron. I still remember how itchy that dress was and how I begged not to have to wear it.
|Betsy McCall - January 1952|
Somewhere there's a photo of me in the little blue and white dress with the appliqued fish and the bias trim on the skirt that was in Betsy's Easter edition. If I'm not mistaken, the picture is of me a few hours before my birthday party in June of 1952, and my hair is still up in pincurls in preparation for the party.
|McCall's magazine - April 1952|
Then there was the red and white striped flannel nightgown for Christmas of 1952. Identical, right down to the yoke, ruffles and lace.
Betsy McCall paper dolls were such a big hit that Betsy McCall dolls and other toys, books, coloring books, children's dinnerware and cookie cutters were also made available and are now considered collectible. It's nice to know that our family photo albums preserve a little of that history.