When I was younger, I loved pulling out the random catalogs that we got in the mail. From Oriental Trading to Lillian Vernon, I flipped page through page picking out the items I wanted that I would never get. The best catalog by far was the American Girl catalog. Back in the day, there were only about 5 historically themed dolls, including Felicity, Kirsten, Addy, Samantha, and Molly. Then they added on girls like Josefina and Kit, and past my age of appropriate doll playing, the company soon introduced the likes of the ‘make your own doll to look like you’ and the ‘itty bitty babies’.
But me? I wanted Samantha. She was perfect. The year is 1904, and she would have her majestic chestnut trunk to pull Edwardian clothes out of and bring a gold pail lunchbox for school. And because I am a nerd, my favorite scene of hers was the school scene, complete with a classic desk and books bound together with a leather strap that were actually mini books/notebooks you could write in!
Anyways, I was maybe eight or nine when I finally told my parents, “Look. I need this doll. Like NEEEED. I will do anything.” So they made a deal with me that if I took swimming lessons and actually learned to swim, they would buy Samantha for me. Deal.
I proceeded to take swimming lessons at the local YMCA, from a personal swimming teacher. It was going ok… up until I was forced to go into the deep end. I remember stopping right on the line where the shallow end starts to fade away into the darkness of the deep end, and I couldn’t move. I physically couldn’t move. I was too scared. My coach kept saying it was ok, but I didn’t step one foot or arm into the other side. I guess I was there for a long time, because my coach had to call my dad to come get me because I wouldn’t leave.
The rest is a blur, but I guess I finished taking those lessons. Not like they really helped, because I’m not Missy Franklin or anything. But I do remember the night I was presented with Samantha in a well-wrapped box. It was the best night. I did it. I got what I wanted. And still managed to not really learn how to swim. So I mean, win-win for all, right? … I wonder what Samantha’s up to now*. Miss that bitch.
*Apparently American Girl decided to discontinue Samantha in 2009, so I should really find her and try to make some money off her. I need to redeem myself from all those Beanie Babies I bought.