At Maplelea we often hear from our customers. From their letters, emails and posts we know that there are Maplelea fans of all ages. Shannon Gair is an adult whose beautiful photography we have featured in the Fan Photography section of our website. Shannon has graciously offered to share, in her own words, her Maplelea story.
A Doll for Mom
|A Doll for Mom is exactly how I became an adult doll lover. I grew up as a child loving my dolls and doll play, and my own mom enjoyed them along with my sister and myself. In fact, some of the best years of our doll play with our mom was in our teen years. Those were days of film cameras and no online stores. Still, my mom would instigate my sister and I into dressing all the dolls, lining them up and taking photos of them. In those days of no internet, my mom was a subscriber to the Western Producer Newspaper. Through the paper she was able to find contacts to custom order doll outfits. We had “I Dream of Genie” outfits, pantsuits, Western, pioneer, Spanish, and everyday play outfits for our dolls. (Not just our dolls but my mom’s dolls too.) I didn’t know it at the time, but those were the best of times. Sharing, laughing, engaged and talking with my mom through my teen years.
Time moves on. I moved away, houses got sold, I got married, concrete bits of my young years got lost through the march of time. The memories of those precious times with my mom lay dormant in my mind, until I had a little girl of my own. I wanted her to enjoy dolls as I did growing up. However, she had no interest in dolls. I’d put a baby doll into her little arms and she would let it fall down to the ground. My Little Pony, Game Boy Pet Shop, and the popular dress up stuffs dominated her life, and I was sad. Then one day she and I were invited to a dance classmate’s birthday party. The moms introduced me to the 18-inch Maplelea Dolls. The birthday girl was receiving Léonie that day. I was entranced by the beautiful box, the soft long hair, the beautiful and high-quality clothing, and the Canadian fun and true education in the journal. My daughter’s 9th birthday was just the next month and so I ordered Brianne for her.
To my surprise, my daughter bonded with Brianne immediately. Brianne came everywhere with us. I was so happy. A year later Taryn joined her Brianne. Then a couple of weeks before her 11th birthday my daughter asked me to NOT get her another doll. I was devastated, but soon realized it wasn’t because of growing out of dolls, but because her two dolls meant so much to her. They were her friends and companions. Another doll would be too much for her. I wanted so badly for her to get Jenna. My father was born in Nova Scotia. My son and daughter were highland dancers and Jenna had the most darling “Anne of Green Gables” outfit. What was I going to do? Now, I knew I could not get Jenna for her. Then I thought…I’ll ask my mom (Grandma) to get it for her. My mom’s immediate answer was a shocking and quickly said NO. Then after a short pause she said, I’ll buy Jenna for you. Christmas morning only two weeks after my daughter’s birthday, a huge present was under the tree for ME! Upon opening it, not only was there a beautiful blue box with Jenna’s name on it, but the little boxes too, and lots of them. Jenna’s snow suit, PJs, dress-up dress, highland dance outfit, and the gorgeous “Anne of Green Gables outfit”. The best memory embedded in my mind that Christmas morning was the incredible excitement, pure joy, and the thrill that my daughter showed when I got that gift.
My mom is now gone. I had not realized my mom’s wisdom she had in giving me a doll that Christmas morning. Having my own doll with my daughter was a gift of sharing, laughing and creating with my daughter into her teen years and young adult life. Parties, you tube movies, knitting, cooking and sewing, painting, and building, nothing that had to be done for a school project, family dinner, friend’s party. Everything was imagination and fun.
A new year (this January) my daughter and I packed her dolls back into their beautiful boxes and into the trunk, with all their wonderful things. She is moving into her busy adult life, connecting with friends, studying, working, making important decisions that will be her future. I understand these wonderful days together with her will lay dormant in her mind over the years. Her dolls lay on a siesta in the silver trunk. My plan is to, every once in a while, slip in a little blue box with a brand-new outfit for Brianne and Taryn for future surprises. Their little blue journals hold not only Taryn and Brianne’s stories, but the precious magical life stories on my 9 and 10 year-old daughter. Then …. I stand in my daughter’s bedroom, and I see Brianne and Taryn quietly standing and smiling at me on the shelf. I smile, being reassured that another generation of doll, imagination, joy, creating, and mother-daughter bonding is yet to come.
Meanwhile… my husband and I are, so to say, going to town, with enjoying dolls. We built a doll house and we go on excursions to get a photo of the doll in a magical spot in Canada. The dolls motivate us to do things together, such as hikes, canoeing, snowshoeing and so on. I’ve made friends from all over the world through the internet. My daughter comes in to inspect and oversee what the two of us have created. She smiles, she laughs, and gives advice. My son, seemingly uninterested will waltz on by, because he knows that Jenna will one day be for his little girl, and in her journal I have written all about his life when he was 11.