Dolly Dearest?

When I was a child, my family tormented me with a Mrs. Beasley doll.

First, let me tell you about my family. Well . . . they are fun and lovable and unique and crazy just like all families. On my mother’s side – the tormentors – I was the oldest grandchild and the only grandchild for a while. My mom is the oldest of five, so as I grew up I had many interactions with my younger aunts and uncles.

Now, let me tell you about Mrs. Beasley. She was a doll that belonged to Buffy on Family Affair. Mattel produced the doll and marketed it to girls during the success of the show. She was a cloth doll, talked, wore a blue polka-dot skirt and black glasses. The doll in my grandmother’s house no longer had her skirt or glasses, so she appeared with just her naked, but still blue polka-dot, body. Her hair had been cut off giving her a terrible just-escaped-from-the-mental-ward look. I remember pulling her pull string in the back, but can’t remember if she could still talk (I should probably call my grandma and ask).

Here, let me help you with your mental image. Watch this vintage commercial for the doll:

Did you watch that? Did it terrify you? Now imagine the doll looking like she had been in a rough toy shop gang fight. That is the image I was up against.

Mrs. Beasley did not like me. She used to tease me and steal my toys. I responded by yelling, grabbing her, and giving her a right going-over. Of course, I took it all out on Mrs. Beasley, not my grandmother and aunt controlling the doll. Oh no, of course not. Not my loved ones. My family who was supposed to protect me. It was the doll, always the doll.

I’ll see you in hell, Mrs. Beasley.
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