Thursday, August 11, 2022

Throwback Thursday - Casper the Ghost Doll

 


It seems like a wave of nostalgia has washed over the Blogosphere. It started with Divers and Sundry posting the song Remote Control and BioArtGal posting a back to school journal page.

The one who sent me wandering down memory lane was Andy Fish posting about his visit to The Harvey Mercheum - A Celebration of Harvey Comics.

I read some of the Harvey comics: Lil Lulu, Lil Audrey, Richie Rich, but I liked watching Baby Huey, Casper the Friendly Ghost and other cartoons on Saturday mornings. 

When I was 5 years old, I had been very ill. It wasn't measles, but I don't remember what the illness was. Maybe the flu. Just that I had a very high temperature and was in bed for a long time. 

 I remember Ma had called Dr. East, and was upset with him that he wouldn't make a house call. Dr. East said Ma could bring me to the office. It was Winter, and Ma bundled me up in my fuzzy, blue jacket that smelled of Mr. Whitaker's stinky cigars. (Mr. Whitaker was the driver that picked me up for nursery school and kindergarten.) Dad wasn't home from work yet and Ma didn't drive a car back then. She called her friend, Isabel, who lived down the street and gave Ma rides into Boston when Ma worked for the Carver Dress Company in Boston's garment district.

The doctor's instructions were to put me in a tub of lukewarm water to try to bring my temperature down along with doses of orange flavored St. Joseph Aspirin for children.

On the short ride home, I remember being very hot and the stinky cigar fumes from my coat making me feel even worse. Ma grumbled that the doctor made her bring a very sick child out in the cold when he barely did an examination and could have told her to put me in a tub of lukewarm water while she was on the phone with him. 

I must have been very ill and my parents very worried. Shortly after the visit to the doctor's office, Dad brought home a talking Casper the Ghost doll for me. This is why I know I must have been very ill. The Brother and I got toys and stuff at Christmas and our birthdays, but not at random times during the year.

I'm sure Ma would have preferred he had brought home a baby girl doll, but Casper became my favorite (even though I secretly wanted the Matty Mattel doll).

I loved Casper and lugged him around with me everywhere until his white, terry cloth body became a dingy grey. The doll I had didn't have Casper's name embroidered on his chest. Casper talked when you pulled the magic ring at the back of his neck. He made a ghostie sound, "OOooooo" and he also said, "I'll play with you." Casper fell out of bed with a loud thunk. He fell out of bed so often Ma and Dad stopped rushing in to check to see if I was alright. Casper's trips to the floor caused some of the phrases he said to run together. My Casper said "Oooo, play iwth youoooo."

Many years later I commuted to Boston University. In the mornings, my dad or Isabel's sister, Josie, who worked in Boston would give me a lift. In the afternoons, I would take the T from Kenmore Square Outbound to Longwood to catch a bus to Natick. Sometimes I would take the T inbound to Boylston and walk down Boylston St. to Park Square to catch the the Boston to Framingham bus. If I was early for the bus, I would window shop at the Boston Music Company or an antique shop next door.

One day as I walked by the antique store, in the window was a Casper doll. Just like my Casper doll. He didn't have his name emblazoned on his chest. I was very tempted to go in an ask about Casper, but a sign at Casper's feet indicated he would cost $100 to bring home. I only had enough cash in my pocket for bus fare so I walked on by.

Y'know, I've always been sorry I didn't check to see if that Casper was my Casper. One pull of the magic ring, one "Oooo, play with youooo" and I would have known for sure.

Did you have a favorite doll or toy when you were a kid?

16 comments:

  1. Fun story! I ddn't have any dolls as a kid, and I didn't like them! Valerie

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    1. I had dolls, but didn't really play with them

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  2. I would have loved that Capser doll. I liked dolls and a few stuffed animals as a kid. I can't say I cared for them like a baby but I would play out different stories with them as the characters. When I was older with Barbies (for one xmas I got a doll with a whole set of clothes my grandmother hand made) I had my Barbie soap operas. Smile.
    I'm glad you got better from your terrible sickness, and I'm glad you wrote this post. It brought back good memories.Thanks for the reminder of those Saturday morning cartoons and comic books too. Did you used to watch Bozo and Romper Room with Miss Jane on channel 5? hugs-Erika (And also thanks for the shout out again too!)

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    1. Bozo, Romper Room, and Major Mudd. And sometimes Robin Hood starring Richard Greene on the NH station WMUR ch. 9. It was mostly snowy, but the picture would clear a little if someone held the rabbit ears and moved around. 😺

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  3. Great story CJ! OOOoo i wonder if it was your Casper?! Funny i sat here thinking and i don't remember any special toys.. I had a magick eight ball , and lots of plastic horses to play with.. horses were my thing, some girls had barbies i had horses.. AND my two much older brothers had one of those vibrating metal football games.. remember those? I coveted that thing and would often sneak in there room to play with it.. LOL ! Thanks for the trip down memory lane.. Hubby remembers those little plastic army men and coveting the big dump truck/ excavator that his neighbor had.. lol Hugs! deb

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    1. I had Barbie but didn't like playing with her. I had more fun with the little, plastic green army men Himself had. And the vibrating metal football game. Also rolls of red caps, or greenie stick 'em caps and a 6 shooter which was mine

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  4. Good story! Hmmm...favorite toy......I actually preferred BigBro's matchbox cars but wasn't allowed to even touch them!

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    1. Yeah, my brother had a Lionel electric train.

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  5. "Casper, the friendly ghost, the friendliest ghost I know..." is now playing in my head :) I didn't have a particular favorite when I was little, but my sister did. Lucy went with her everywhere.

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  6. Ohh what a so good and interesting post CJ ! You know, I had some dolls , but I didn´t remember playing a lot with them, I remember playing with an imaginary friend, we had water, and some biscuits, or bread under a sheet betwen two chairs. water with sugar :)
    I wish you a nice afternoon, big hugs
    Caty

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    1. Sweet having a tea party with your imaginary friend in a secret space.

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  7. What a lovely share. Thanks, CJ.

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  8. That is an incredible story, CJ. Wouldn't it be amazing if that really had been your doll.

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