Way back in March I wrote a photo story about Lea that I never posted. I never posted it because I never took pictures of the first part of the story. I still don’t have pics for that, but I enjoyed rereading this story so much I thought I’d post it as part 1 of the Farewell Tribute to GOTY Lea:
“The travel bag is out!” gasped Kathy as she headed to her Girl Scout meeting with Maggie.
“Somebody’s going somewhere! I wonder who it could be?” Maggie looked around for a doll who was dressed in some traveling clothes and spotted Lea.
“Lea! I bet it’s you. Where are you going?”
“I’m going somewhere? How do you know? What’s going on?” Lea looked confused and frazzled.
“Kathy and I just saw the travel bag in the middle of the room and that always means somebody’s going to leave the doll room and I see that you got dressed in a coat and jeans, plus you’re the new GOTY so I’m betting a million bucks it’s you,” Maggie answered.
“But, I just got here. Where am I going to go? I don’t want to leave.”
“Is there anything wrong with you? Maybe you’re going to go to the hospital.”
Lea’s eyes widened in fear, “The hospital! No! Nothing’s wrong with me. I’m totally fine.”
“Ask Samantha then, she knows everything about everybody ’cause she’s the queen,” Kathy advised.
Lea squirmed uncomfortably. She had never actually met Samantha or any of the other historical dolls for that matter. She had been released from her box by all of the GOTYs and without really meaning to, she just ended up hanging out with them all the time. She had seen the historicals walking by, but was always too shy to say anything and she would rather be with the GOTYs because they were fun to be around and came up with so many great ideas and activities to do.
“I guess I’ll try to find her then,” she told Kathy and Maggie.
But she couldn’t work up the courage to try to find her, so the whole night, Lea didn’t get any sleep because she kept wondering what could be wrong with her and why she was going to the hospital, because of course, she had convinced herself that she was going to the hospital and she was almost paralyzed with fear. That afternoon, I (Heather the human) entered the doll room, grabbed the travel bag, swept Lea up and stuffed her in.
“I don’t want to go!” Lea squeaked in protest.
“You don’t want to go!?” I asked flabbergasted because all of my dolls loved taking trips with me and most times I had to choose out of the thousands who had volunteered.
“No, I don’t. There’s nothing wrong with me. I don’t see why I have to go away for 6 weeks to a prison hospital.”
I burst out laughing, “A what!? Who said you were going to a hospital?”
Lea looked a little sheepish, “Nobody really, but Maggie and Kathy said it’s more likely I’d be going to a hospital especially since it’s not summer time to go on vacation.”
“Well, Maggie and Kathy are wrong. You’re not going to a hospital. You should have just checked with Samantha. She knows that you and I are going to the American Girl Place to see the sights and get your ears pierced.”
Lea’s face lit up, “I’m getting my ears pierced!!? Ever since I saw Saige’s earrings I’ve always wanted some of my own. And I get to go on an adventure too! This is a dream come true!”
“I don’t know about a dream come true, but it should be fun! So make yourself as comfortable as you can in that bag, and let’s go.”
It was a chilly day, but both Lea and I were dressed for the weather as we got in the car and drove to Chicago. We parked for free a mile and a half away and hiked up to the store.
The windows were new since the last time I’d been there (for Lea’s release) and I tried to take a pic of the dolls on the Ferris wheel, but it didn’t come out well:
“A Ferris wheel!” Lea admired, “Ooo, can we buy it?”
“Thankfully, it’s not actually for sale, and if it was I still wouldn’t buy it because it would probably cost at least $500.”
As we entered the store, we were greeted by everything Lea.
“It’s you, all you, everywhere.”
There were Lea dolls, Lea accessories, outfits…
And two different sized huts.
“Find little Lea in the big hut!”
“Is it comfy up there?” I asked when I spotted Lea in the loft.
“No, I want one my own size.”
I carried her to a hut that was just her size.
“This is such a cool place. How long can I stay here? Two days?”
“How ’bout 2 minutes.”
“Phooey,” said Lea but she smiled, and stood up, and ran outside to try the hammock.
“Maybe I can get some of my friends to make one of these. We need a hammock in our house.”
“I was thinking about that myself,” I said, “I know I used to have net hammock that used to hold all of my stuffed animals, but that was years and years ago. I have no clue where it might be and I would guess I got rid of it when I got rid of my stuffed animals.”
We walked around the main floor of the store through the historical section, but Lea wasn’t all that interested in it. I sighed, wishing I had brought a historical doll who would appreciate it more and reminice the good times when the historical displays were full of accessories, outfits, furniture and more. Now it was Kaya with her tepee and 3 outfits, or Addy with her bed and 4 outfits. Josefina hardly had anything too. Only Kit, Maryellen, and Julie seemed to have a full display.
We walked up the escalator to the Girl of Today section. Lea looked to her right and drew a deep breath, “Are those all the girls of the year in those cases?”
“Yep, that’s everyone.”
“So that means, when my year is up I’m going to be stuffed in a glass case too?”
“I guess one of you will be, but it won’t be you. You can live at my house for as long as you like.”
“Good. But I just hate the thought of any Lea having to stand in that glass case forever.”
“Well, don’t you think it’s the same scenario as in our house? Where, whenever the humans leave, the dolls walk and talk and go about their lives? I’m sure they have a way of making the glass disappear so they can walk around and stretch their legs.”
“I hope so.”
Lea climbed to the top of the cases and read, “Which Girl of the Year inspires you? Which girl inspires me? Who do I most look like?”
I looked carefully at Lea, “I guess on this side of the cases you look most like McKenna.”
Lea promptly sat on top of McKenna’s case, “Take a pic of me!”
Then we passed a bench and walked over to the older GOTY cases.
“Now which one looks most like me?” asked Lea.
“On this side, I’d say Marisol.”
“Phooey, I was hoping you’d say Jess because she’s the one who really inspires me.”
“That’s kind of why I wanted you to come live with me. I thought Jess needed a friend and you turned out to be the perfect one.”
This time Lea asked for her picture to be taken while she sat in between the cases of Marisol and Jess.
We continued to walk around trying to find anything new. I spotted the new bed I had seen online.
“Lea, stand in front of this bed, I want to show our readers what it looks like.”
“I don’t like it,” Lea, “it looks like a half hearted attempt at a canopy bed but they didn’t have enough material to make it a real canopy bed. Just look at this flimsy thing, is this supposed to be curtain?”
“I guess you’re supposed to tie it to one of the posts,” I said, “but I kind of agree with you. I wish it were a full canopy bed. Heather is the only one who has a beautiful, dreamy canopy bed. Felicity has one too, but it’s not as dreamy.”
“The mattress is soft, and I like the ruffle underneath, like Samantha’s bed, but that’s about it. Even the bedspread is kind of weird how it’s all scrunched up. I don’t think I’d want to sleep under that.”
Lea was tired of the bed, “Let’s move on to something else then.”
She spotted the AG Z crew items, “Hey, isn’t this from those youtube videos we were watching about that Z doll who made a cute mystery story about Kit?”
“Yeah, it’s a little key chain of her. And this looks like a tablet case.”
“That’s sort of cute.”
We wandered around the store some more until our feet took us to the doll salon, “Are you ready to get your ears pierced, Lea?”
“I’ve been ready for a while.”
There was only one other person in line in front of us so we barely had to wait at all. Then a nice lady saw Lea,
“Oh, what a beautiful coat Lea’s wearing!” she said.
“Thanks,” I said, “I made it myself.”
“I can tell,” she said with a smile, “it’s gorgeous. I’ll take her in and I’ll be back in two minutes.”
I bent down to tie my shoe and as soon as I stood up, the nice lady was back with Lea.
“Wow, that was fast,” I said.
“We got through it fast because Lea behaved perfectly!” she said.
“I would hope so! She’s been waiting to get her ears pierced for a long time!” I thanked her and added Lea’s exclusive earring set to my bag.
“Well, I guess we’re done!” I said.
“That was really fun,” said Lea, “thanks for bringing me with you.”
“It was fun taking you along,” I responded as I packed Lea in her bag.
I set her down on the bench and tried to organize my stuff for the long hike to the car and thought about Lea’s reaction to the GOTY cases. It’s too bad AG makes such a big deal about the GOTYs displaying the retired ones like they’re in a museum and yet does absolutely nothing about the retired historicals. It’s like they don’t even exist, I thought. I looked around the room we were in for any sign at all of any historical doll and spotted something way up high where most people wouldn’t think to look. Above all the Lea stuff was a little balcony where a big book shelf sat. One of the shelves held a poster of all the older historical characters. The only retired ones missing were Marie Grace, Cecile, and Caroline. Well, at least there’s something.
On the ride home Lea begged me to take her out of her tote so she could sit in comfort on the front seat:
I hope we get to go on another trip soon! she thought.
Do you ever have conversations with your dolls? Or am I just the crazy lady who has conversations in my head with whatever doll I’m holding? The only doll I have conversations with and do not have to hold is Samantha (hence one of the reasons why she is queen).
I actually had a better story in mind but it never panned out because I ended up getting Lea before this could happen: I was going to have Elizabeth come with me to the AG Place and have her flaunt around saying she’s much prettier than Lea and that I had no business bringing Lea home, but obviously, I brought Lea home before I could take Elizabeth with me. So you get to read this story instead. I carried Lea in the little AG tote when we were in the store and when we were outside I carried her in a giant pink basket tote where she could sit down without being seen.