One evening when I was in the fourth grade, we went over to a new family friend's house after a high school basketball game and I met Barbara. She was one year older than me and welcomed me into her world that night - her world of troll dolls. We played troll beauty shop in her lovely, new bathroom (my family of five kids did not possess a fancy bathroom, even though my mom and our kind cleaning helper kept it VERY sanitary) and I was hooked on these hairy, little dollies. My mother and her mother's friendship grew, so I was privileged to spend a great deal of time learning the troll doll ropes from Barbara. We began sewing clothes for them. The most popular style was what we called "tie dresses" and these began with a sturdy piece of felt. We would estimate length, cut two armholes, sew on a snap and add a cotton printed tie. We also made fairy style clothes when we mastered "gathering" skirts. We pierced their ears and made tiny earrings with straight pins and wire cutters, adding on sequins and beads. We polished their lips with nail polish. We made lists of future sewing plans. I made many lists and not quite so many clothing items for MY trolls. We staged weddings with candles, lovely gowns, flowers, and Dream Pet guests. One time, as the troll bride came down the aisle with her Dream Pet husband, his ear caught on fire! My mother did not know about the fire-y weddings! Barbara had a wonderful imagination. She made lovely, cozy beds complete with linens for her trolls. She made tiny appliances (stoves and refrigerators) for her dollies. One beautiful summer day we played out at her farm and decided to make summer homes for the trolls, so she produced hammers, nails, boards and glue and we built four walls and then covered the walls with old grass clippings. When I brought my grassy square home, it didn't look quite so magical, even to me. We named them. I had many and my names were dumb: pink haired Bologna, black haired Jelly, a tiny, blue boy troll name Peanut Butter, a yellow haired girl named Kelly (I moved away from the sandwich ingredient names) a citrus haired later model named Pam (pictured above) and then I began to lose interest. My mom suggested I deck the trolls out in nativity garb for Christmas and I made one outfit for ONE of the three kings and abandoned the hobby. For the time, I loved creating and if Barbara hadn't been so much fun to play with, it may not have lasted so long. She had so many wonderful ideas (a post office complete with tiny letters, for another example) and every time I played with her, I was delightfully inspired. I love her for that. I've lost touch with her now, but she is so firmly planted in my memories. I must figure out a way to tell her. I'm so glad I kept a few of my old trolls.