Sometime between Thanksgiving and the first of December, the wish book would arrive in the mailbox. It's hard to understand the anticipation of a mail order catalog today with five or six showing up everyday whether you want them or not. But back in the dark ages when the only things ordered by mail were seeds and Maine hunting boots, the Sears catalog was eagerly waited upon.
My brothers and I would race down our steep curvy driveway to the mailbox looking for the big book. The day it came, wrapped in brown paper with ordering instructions printed on the outside, we would leg it back up the driveway as fast as we could. Then we'd flop down on the den floor, huffing and puffing from the hill climb, and flip open to the toy section. The pages were turned carefully and we'd each choose one item we would like to find under the tree on Christmas morning. I was always fascinated by the costumes page. There was a nurse and a doctor, cowboy and cowgirl, beauty queen and football player. Wonder what kind of kid would want that instead of Chatty Cathy or an Easy Bake Oven?
When we got to the Lincoln Logs and Matchbox cars, my eyes would glaze over while waiting for something more interesting. Like the Fabulous Barbie pages! One outfit after another straight from 5th Avenue. Gosh, Barbie was stylish with those open toed mules and leopard prints. We certainly didn't know anyone who dressed like that.
There was always a featured baby doll who got a page all to herself.She was back lit on a red velvet drape as if to say, "Only the luckiest little girls will get this doll this year." The doll was usually wearing a long pink or white chiffon gown and was lying on a matching ruffled pillow. I'll never forget the Christmas I became one of the luckiest girls and found the coveted doll under our tree. She was just as dainty and sweet as she looked in the wishbook. I moved her from my wicker cradle to my pink vinyl baby carriage and back all day. She really was a dream come true. That doll is the only toy from way back then that is still with me today. She lives in my grandmother's old trunk at the foot of my bed so when I'm rummaging around looking for something packed away, I'm reminded that I'm still one of the luckiest girls in the world.