Saturday, April 19, 2008

What Did You Want To Be When You Grew Up?

When I was a little kid, I made myself a notebook out of scrap paper (mostly from "junk" mail). One section of my notebook was about what I wanted to be when I grew up.

Funny thing - no one ever asked me. I just decided it was important to write it down. Bullet points...well really they were stars. Side note: I think this explains a lot about my personality - I'm a dreamer...

Like all kids (and gee - even adults), I went through various phases and what I wanted to be when I grew up - well - it always changed.

With the exception of one thing.

I always wanted to be Miss America.

Miss America Logo

Yes, stop laughing. I know - Miss America. Who would have ever thought?

And mind you - not Miss USA, not Miss Universe, not Miss World, NO - it was only - ONLY Miss America.

So who is to blame for this? Well no one other than Kellogg's.

Here's the story. I was always a Barbie fan. I like cereal too.

One day, while at Maloley's, I begged my mother to buy Kellogg's Cornflakes.

She didn't. She wouldn't. It wasn't on sale. There was a cheaper brand. Something along those lines.

She was also probably suspicious because I usually used my bargaining chips for Sugar Smacks. But not this time.

So, what's a girl to do?

Tell Grandma of course. And the great thing about my Grandma (this is my mom's mom) is that I never had to pretend why I wanted something.

The conversation probably went something like this.

Grandma, I was at the store with mommy and I wanted her to buy me this cereal with the rooster on it cause you can send in for a Barbie. And Grandma, it's a Miss America Barbie and she has brown hair and you know they never have any barbie's with brown hair.

That's all I needed to say. She went to the A & P, probably forced my Grandpa to eat cornflakes every day for a week, and she sent away for my Miss America Doll.

It was a whole $3.00. In 1972, that would have bought 12 loaves of Maloley's Bread (4/$1.00). Still, nothing was too much for Grandma's first grandchild. Insert bat of eyelashes here.

Side Conversation: You'll notice here that I have two different back sides of Kellogg's Cornflakes boxes shown. Here's the thing - I don't remember which one was the one that I ordered. If you look closely, the first one features Miss America 1972 - Laurel Lea Schaefer. The second box looks to have the same exact doll however, it's being pimped out by Miss America 1973 - Terry Anne Meeuwsen.

I think both dolls were referred to as, "Miss America Walk Lively" although they both have different release numbers to them (but let's not get TOO technical - after all - what the heck does a 6/7 year old know about these things....NOTHING).

When my Miss America Doll arrived, it came in a brown, plain package, addressed to "Miss Kristina Michele Frazier" (my Grandmother has always taken credit for naming me - but more on this later). I remember tearing open the package and laying my eyes on the most exquisite, plastic, brunette chick, (in doll form), that I had ever seen.

She had brown hair that curled at the ends. The secret to the curl was that Miss America had hair made out of some kind of wiry crap. I didn't question it. It was just cool to use the pink comb they enclosed which allowed me to "re-curl" it whenever my heart so desired.

Atop her head was a silver, fabric/cloth-like crown - it was sown to her hair BUT - all of us talented Barbie owners could remove the crown via scissors without damaging her hair.

The issue here was that you could never get the crown to stay on quite right again. My sister did manage to show me how I could jimmie a bobby-pin in but hey - did you ever see the real Miss America walk down the aisle with a great big-ole bobby-pin sticking out the side of her head like a Steve Martin arrow?

Right. No. Okay - well, I forgave her for having blue eyes and I was quite pleased by her long, black eyelashes.

The very best part of the Miss America Doll was her gown. It was made out of a gold lame evening top which gave way to a white, flowing full, taffeta skirt. Her sash, gold scepter, red cape (with faux fur), bouquet of red roses, and white heeled shoes made me really want to be Miss America even MORE.

But for the record - no - I was never Miss America, nor did I ever participate in a pageant effort that would have led to Miss America-ness.

So here's Miss America 1972 - and a close-up of the Miss America Doll (oh what the heck - here's Miss America 1973 also). I believe that it was originally modeled after her and when Miss America 1973 came along, and had (more or less) the same physical attributes, Kellogg's and Mattel said - hey! let's squeeze more money out of the families of little girls! :)

Miss America 1972Walk-Lively Miss America Doll

Over time, I made sure to ask for OTHER Miss America items.

The bike was a NO. I guess having more than one banana-seated bike in the house was overkill.

The Colorforms Doll and Miss America Board Game passed the "Santa" test.

My very favorite Miss America item - after the Barbie - was the lunch box. One side showed her getting crowned, and the other was an up-close, shot of the chick I wanted to be.

As a closing treat, I'm including a "classic" moment from the 1976 Miss America pageant. It STILL cracks me up.


Michele Nashville TN said...

Oh, I remember getting that Miss America doll when I was 6 or 7, too! It had dark hair like mine, unlike the other "Barbies" with blonde hair! I remember asking my parents to buy it for me via the ad on the Corn Flakes box. I think that I also had the Miss America colorforms set. Thanks for the memory!