Monday 27 October 2014

Holly Hobbie is Cute

Yesterday while searching for cute, I came across Holly Hobbie. When I was little, Holly Hobbie was all the rage. My parents were not sympathetic to buying things that were all the rage, but I did get Holly one Christmas, and great was my joy.

Holly is probably now living in the toy trunk under the train set.

Apparently the Holly Hobbie doll came after, not before, the Holly Hobbie illustrations, which I also loved when I was little. I think I had a book of them, and it mesmerized me.

Only yesterday did I discover that Holly Hobbie is the name of the image's creator, not just the image itself.  And I am myself older than the doll, which blows my mind, as I thought she was from the Olden Days. Indeed, she meant the Olden Days to me, along with The Little House books.

The Olden Days, in case you are wondering, meant Canada's and America's pioneer days--the nineteenth century ones. The eighteenth century ones, once I heard about them, seemed too scary to me. The Legend of Sleepy Holly was Not Cute, nor was The Scarlet Letter, whose comic book form fell into my much-too-young hands. I associated the Olden Days with the countryside, flowers, small animals,  quiet, horses, nice bonnets. Little Women was also set in the Olden Days, though the March family seemed hectically urban next to Holly Hobbie and The Ingalls Family.

I would have been surprised to know that there was crime in the nineteenth century. My nineteenth century did not involve crime, war, injuries, rampant injuries or all that much death. It was a magical world of grandmothers who baked cookies, wore cameo lockets and lived in small cottages by the woods.

By 1978, I was so entranced with the Little House books that I thought the solution to the world's woes was to get rid of money and live by the barter system. I envisioned a return to agrarian society, and when I explained all this to a school visitor, I was sent to the once-a-week gifted program. I suppose my IQ scores must have played a role in the decision, but I have always thought it was my firm opinion that returning to the fields was the way to go that got me in

If civilization collapses, I will know I was right.  Meanwhile, I know perfectly well that the nineteenth century had horrors of its own. However, I am glad I didn't know that when I was very small.


  1. The beach towel my mother (or maybe my aunt?) had when I was little had Holly Hobby on it - so I guess that dates me as slightly younger than you, since the only Holly Hobby stuff I remember was already slightly out of date. (I was dab smack at the beginning of the Cabbage Patch Dolls though! Does that make me the Cabbage Patch Doll generation?)

    I'm also one who was completely intrigued by Little House. And anything prairie/frontier/whatever you want to call it. (To the extent that my mother got me started reading evangelical Christian fiction aimed at adult women that was set in those days when I was only in 3rd grade because she knew I'd want to read it, and it was preferable to letting me read Sweet Valley Twins, etc... So I read a ton of your fellow Canadian, Janette Oke in my childhood...Is also why I know about Royal Canadian Mounted Police, because one of the series she wrote was more specifically Canadian than the others...)

  2. My middle sister got a Cabbage Patch doll--a year or two (or more) after the real Cabbage Patch doll hysteria.

    My pioneer mania was so crazy, I made tallow candles as a science fair project. I do not know WHY no-one explained to me that that was not science, or why I never listened. Well, other than not being rooted in reality. Still, if civilization collapses, I know how to make candles from beef tallow.

  3. • Holly Hobbie came along too late for me.
    • The best Little House memorabilia are (were?) available at the Smithsonian Museums in DC. I bought a Little House cookbook for one of my brothers there, which we both loved. (Did you know that the first home-made desserts were the "bag puddings" that we read of in nursery rhymes and of which plum pudding is a semi-authentic descendant? Well, I didn't!)
    • The "Olden Days" for me - due to the odd conditions of my childhood - were not a halcyon time of wonder and peace, but a period of terrors that was thankfully over... but like you I did have the sense that "Olden Days" were some particular time/place very different from Now.
    • I don't know if children today still think in terms of Olden Days or not, but I suspect the idea is less powerful for them because their material conditions are not as different from those of their parents as mine (and others here?) were. My brothers can tease their children about not having cell phones or the internet when they were children, but they can't say (as my parents said to us) that they didn't have enough to eat, or that they had to stay home from school sometimes because they didn't have shoes to wear in winter.

    Alias Clio

    p.s. I am "hanging out" here in part because I too am trying to escape from thinking about the Synod. Sigh.

  4. As my mother is convinced that I hold the Guinness Book of World Records record for number of times reading the entire Little House series...WHY didn't I think of making candles for my science project????

    Glad to find fellow fans here. :)

  5. Today's post made me squeal with delight. I loved Holly Hobbie when I was little. I had a paper doll back in the 80s, and collected notebooks and pencils with her image. They still must be stored in my mum's flat, she has kept so much of our old stuff. Feeling nostalgic for childhood days :-)


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