When I was in sixth grade, our classes had to participate in an “assembly”…or rather, the school play. The theme was America from its birth to the current time,which would have been 1983. The time is important because E.T. : The Extra Terrestrial came into theatres the past year. I was rather afraid the first time I saw the movie and E.T.; later, I saw the movie again and truly embraced him. I asked for anything E.T. that my parents could find for Christmas. I received shoelaces, a windup figure, the E.T. Light-Up Finger, trading card packs,and the best present of all, an E.T. doll.
This is not my actual toy–mine is packed away, because he is disintegrating. The fake leather material these toys are made from is a fabric covered in a leathery coating that cracks and falls away after a couple of decades in certain cases. My dolly was very much loved and cherished, so he got worn out much faster.
When my elementary peers and I were in this “America” school play, we all had to participate in the opening number, which was pretty spectacular for a bunch of grade school kids, if I do say so myself. To the tune of Neil Diamond’s “America”, we marched into the lunchroom(where our stage was) in an orderly procession to take our places on the risers beside the stage. We were all dressed as immigrants from countries all over the world, carrying packs and suitcases, and in some cases, babies. The teachers instructed some of us girls to carry baby dolls, wrapped up in shawls and blankets.
I didn’t own a baby doll; I couldn’t stand them. I had dozens of beloved stuffed toys, but no baby doll. Still, I wanted to participate in this for some reason. So I took the most babylike-proportioned toy I had, and swaddled him thusly:
I proudly carried my “baby” in the school play and only one or two teachers knew his true identity.😄