Saturday, October 17, 2009

My Lifelong Friend is Being "Discontinued"!?!?!?

I remember the day she first entered my life… I was almost seven years old. My aunt had come out for Christmas, and as usual, the holiday was filled with anticipation. Beneath the decorated tree in the corner of the living room were numerous “packages, boxes, and bags”, each exciting wonder and interest in me. When no one was looking, I would crawl under that tree and feel some of the packages to see if I could guess what was in them.

There were two boxes in particular that drew me. They were equal in size—about 20½” by 8”. One was addressed to me. The other was addressed to Amanda. What could be in them? I had only to wait for Christmas Day to find out.

It came with the usual Christmas excitement and long waiting that Christmas mornings always seem to bring in books—and I always viewed my life as a book. Amanda and I hurried out of our beds as soon as we woke up and ran to see what we had in our stockings. Daddy Clause had been there during the night. We found a fun assortment of goodies—Riesens, a toothbrush, a TY beanie baby, and some other things. We had to wait a little while longer before we could find out what was under the tree.

Once we finally had everyone gathered, we began to open gifts… and as usual, the most intriguing was saved until last. In my usual fashion, I tore off the green wrapping paper, and to my delight, saw the emblem written on the white box: The American Girl Collection. With a gasp of rapture, I ripped off the tape that held the box closed and lifted the top. There, sleeping comfortable with her mouth parted slightly and her long, dark lashes brushing her cheeks, was the doll of my dreams—Kirsten. Her smooth blonde hair was braided on either side of her part and looped up just like I had seen in the catalogue, and she wore her lovely blue sprigged dress. And there was the first book in her series, and a separate box of her accessories! What thrill!

Mommy told me not to take her braids out—she knew what would happen when I did. When I finally got permission, the inevitable happened… poor Kirsten’s hair became quite the rats nest. I only have gotten it tamed in the last couple years, though I think the damage is irreparable—she has some very frazzled ends.

Oh the fun we had, Amanda and I, with Kirsten and Felicity! I remember going to Campobello with our cousins, and purposefully driving my cousins crazy with Kirsten’s voice. One of my clearest memories of our childhood friend Megan was playing dolls with her—she had Samantha—and when the boys would come bother us, we would start undressing our dolls to get them to go away. (Terrible, I know!) Grama bought me a new outfit for Kirsten every birthday and Christmas, so I have almost the whole collection. I stopped collecting only a couple years ago, but I must say, it’s been hard to give up dolls. Kirsten still sits on my bed, and I dress her and do her hair now and then.

With all this said, you can imagine my dismay when I received a copy of the October 2009 American Girl catalogue and read the terrible words:


WHAT!?!?!?! Silly as it may sound, I was nearly devastated. Discontinue Kirsten, as they discontinued Samantha? Whatever for? (They haven’t even made her movie yet! :-( ) I have always loved Kirsten, not only because she was my doll, but also because of her stories—the exciting pioneer spirit has always enraptured me. And now to discontinue her—little girls like I once was will not be able to have the enjoyment I had in her. Poor Kirsten. I would really like to know why American Girl is discontinuing some of their beloved characters.


American Girl has been an important part of my growing-up. But I am very disappointed to see some of the decisions they have been making. Also, I have come to see that while they have great stories, in their desire to help girls solve life’s problems and such, they do not offer Biblical solutions to life’s problems. Instead they offer a philosophy that says, “Follow your inner star.” (Whatever that means!) One of my dreams—perhaps it is a wild one—is to create something like American Girl, but Christ-centered, so that children will have godly “friends” (book characters and dolls) who will help them to want to honor Christ. Mission City Press has made some of those available in their Elsie, Millie, Violet, Laylie, and Kathleen books and dolls, but they have recently shut their doors and discontinued all their characters. :-) So maybe one day the Lord will allow me to reach out to children and give them a mix of what American Girl and A Life of Faith have given me. We’ll see where he leads! I know how to write the stories, but how to have dolls made, and how to sell them, I have no idea! :-)

By the way, I am not saying farewell to Kirsten! She’s a-stayin’ on my bed! :-) And my little friends who don’t get a Kirsten on time are welcome to come and play with her. :-)


Rosebud said...

Poor Kirsty - that is terrible that they are discontinuing her!!! :( :( :(

Gabrielle Renee said...

Oh I feel the SAME way, Melanie!!! I too have Kirsten and am so mad at them for discontinuing her! Ashley has Samantha so she was very disappointed last year... :(
It was really funny when our American girl catalog came today. Hanne-col and I were saying how inaccurate their clothes were for the most part... :P Then we started talking on how we would like to make the dolls and write stories for them! Oh, and have accurate clothes. ;)
I have no clue what exactly the "inner star" is supposed to be...
Maybe we should go into business together and design our own line of Christian dolls! It was always what my sisters and I said we should do. :D

Have a wonderful Lord's day tomorrow!


Pure Little Ladies Ministry said...

And they're closing down ALOF!!!


By the way, Kristen was MY first doll, too. ;) And my friend insisted that I MUST take out her braids, which I told her I WOULD NOT, and she told me YOU SHALL, and we got into an agrument. lol

Teddy said...

That is AWFUL!!!! I always wanted an American Girl Doll but was never able to have one. My consolation has been that my daughters would be able to have them...but that's not looking possible!!! Hurry up and make your dolls before I start having little girls!!!! :-)

Anonymous said...

I heard they were discontinuing Kirsten when we got our catalog; I don't know why they are doing it, as Kirsten's been around for so long. :( I like your idea for dolls and stories, Melanie!

Melanie said...

Gabrielle, another similarity between your family and ours! LOL! We'll have to sit down and talk about that doll business if we get together in November...

Toria, who won the argument?? :-)

Teddy, I used to always think I'd get my girls AG dolls too, but I don't know whether they'll have ANY of the originals by that time (I'm not expecting having my own little girls for another ten years or so!! :-S ) Maybe they'll bring some of the originals back...???? (crosses fingers)

Alaina, I don't know why either. :-( Poor Kirsten. :-( Maybe we should write and sign a petition: "Bring Samantha and Kirsten back!!!!" :-)

shearers said...

I now how sad..............When Kirsten fond out that Kirsten was leaving she was sooo sad.