American Girl Memories

This page is for American Girl fans to share their favorite memories of American Girl.
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Memories from Ann K. (webmiss): When I was six, my mom had heard about American Girl from someone and told me about it. I wasn't enthusiastic right away, but during my first grade class's weekly library trips, I took a look at them. I ended up reading all 9 books (which was all there were then) and enjoying them all. Then I would recommend that other girls read them. At the end of my first grade year, I was the recipient of the library award for being an enthusiastic reader. I loved the books, and reading, so much that I was a little surprised that I would get an award for just doing something fun! Later we sent in a postcard from the back of one of the books and I got the catalog. I really wanted Samantha! But the dolls were too expensive to get as a gift, so my parents said that I had to save my own money. I only got 50 cents for an allowance, but I saved that and Christmas and birthday money. By Christmas 1989 I was about $25-$30 short. My dad confidently said that he thought I would get enough money at Christmas to get Samantha. I didn't believe him--I thought that was too much to get all in one Christmas! When we did open gifts, I got $15 from one set of grandparents. I was really happy about that, but I still thought my dad was too optimistic. But a few gifts later I got $25 from my other grandparents! I was so ecstatic! My parents had been in on it with my grandparents. It took me 7 more years but I finally got all of Samantha's collection (except stuff that came after that of course.) After I finished Samantha's collection, I decided to get another doll and got Addy, and I'm working towards completing her collection too. I have Nellie, and want to get another Kirsten. (My first Kirsten, a secondhand gift, was adopted out to a girl who really wanted an AG but couldn't afford one. I'm so glad I could share with her the joy of receiving an AG doll!) After that I probably won't get any more dolls, but I will always keep up with the books so I can hopefully share my love of American Girl with future daughter(s) and granddaughter(s)!

Memories from Susan: I received my first American Girl Doll as a Christmas gift from my dad and step-mom when I was 9. The doll was Samantha and I was completely enthralled. My stepmom made matching nightgowns for the doll and me and also bought matching victorian school outfits from Pleasant Company. Ok, I am sure I looked like a big weirdo to other people, but when we traveled (and that was a lot since my dad worked for the airline) I wore my flannel school dress and Samantha wore hers and both of us were totally out of style but HEY, we were out of style together and that was all that mattered! I did love it when they had the period/historical clothes, just because I would have loved dressing up and imagining silly things like little girls do. For my 12th birthday my dad constructed and my stepmom painted a trunk that looked much like Kirsten's. I have since moved away from my dad and I left my doll and trunk for them to care for, I regret it now. I kind of got busy with my life (graduating highschool, going to college, getting married) and briefly forgot about the American Girls Collection. Then one day I remembered and as I browsed through the website I began to relive my happy days with my doll. After a few months of begging and pleading (not literally) I am getting another American Girl doll........KIT! I was so excited when I saw Kit. First of all, my stepmom always used to tell me about how girls should have long hair and not short hair as I always wore mine in a bob with bangs...her back up for this (oddly enough) was that you never saw a doll with short hair?! Well here is Kit, with her short blonde hair (mine has darkened), her blue eyes like mine, and best yet, freckles just like mine! So there stepmommy!

Memories from Angela: My history with the American Girls began in third grade when I discovered the books at the library. I was already hooked on historical fiction and was attracted to these stories immediately. I still remember that the first AG book I read was Changes for Kirsten. I did a bookreport on it. When I saw the postcard in the back advertising the catalogue, I just had to send out for it! To my delight, my mom promised me an AG of my choice for my 9th birthday. This was back when there were only 3 of them. I chose Samantha. I was so excited! I remember dancing around with the catalogue opened to the fullsized picture of the doll. Samantha is to this day one of my prized possessions. Josefina, Kit, Felicity, and a girl of today have since joined my AG family and they have no shortage of clothes and accessories. :)

Memories from Sylvia Fournier: I was intrigued by the early AG catalogs, and when I saw the historical dolls in a display in NYC during the Christmas of 1993, I was hooked. For my 50th birthday, my grown daughter's family gave me my very first AG--Felicity! I burst into tears. I hadn't really thought it would be okay to own and play with dolls at my age! I now have many many AGs and other dolls. I get some who have been previously loved, but I buy a lot from the PC catalog.

Memories from Jec: Hi I am Jec Zinder, my Memories of American Girl start in my more tender years, of 16, and I worked at a bookstore. I guess you could stay I was in the front lines *g* Although the books were at the time no interest to me, at this time historical children's books were coming out left and right. I figured nice fad this will not last any longer then any of the others. Although I have to stay it was a quiet fad since I did not see that many kids buying the books but something good was happening and I was not aware of. I had read the first book of Addy because I was and still am, fascinated by the African-American culture. I think I would have been more curious about the American Girl books if I had realized that dolls were part of it. At this time American Girl was not online and neither was I. (The idea of talking with other people via the computer was still sci-fi). I was the fourth in the generation of doll collectors in my family; I was going to hit these dolls head on eventually. It was not until my late twenties when the doll collecting gene in my body awoke. I am a freelance writer for young adults and I was collecting dolls that reminded me of young adults that I write about. I love the idea of being able to see the character you are writing about. During my hunt for the perfect job I was hired as a vendor for Mattel (my dream job: work for Mattel) since I was collecting Barbie at the time, both Teen Skipper and Generation Girls. I loved going to work every day of this job only to get fired a week later (because of cut backs, and Jill Barad's (CEO of Mattel) name quickly becoming a cuss word.) At that time I will remind people, Pleasant was not directly related to Mattel until now. My brother who I must say heard about want had happened to me and knew the best way to cheer me up. He bought me my first American Girl doll it was a girl of today and she came with a small card that said, "Dear Jec, Mattel sucks, Love Dan." What a guy! She was the Asian doll and I bought her the Chinese New Year outfit that came out a couple of years ago and named her Miya (MEE-yah) Far Eastern word for Temple.

Second, later my brother bought the horse (Penny, I have a collection of modal horses) for Miya. Soon I received a new friend for Miya, another Girl of Today with green eyes and red hair named her Rose. At that time I had given up on the old teenage dolls and going for pre-teen 6-12 years of age. The American Girls fit right in there. I had also gotten into porcelain dolls but with me moving around a lot at the time the dolls had to stay in boxes or at my parents and never could be taken out for fear of breaking them. So bored and looking for something new to collect I decided to see what America Girl was doing and hopped online. I thought about the collector historical dolls and wondered maybe I could just see the books and see what there about after all I am writing books for that age group. I bought the collections of Josefina, Addy and Samantha. Josefina because I love New Mexico, Addy because I had read the fist book and was interested in the rest and Samantha because I love Victorian times. Soon after reading the book, I bought Samantha, which soon grew into her entire collection. Felicity came to claim her horse Penny. Kirsten my other favorite I also have the complete collection of. However, the best part of collecting was what happened to my mother. I found out my Mother's life was identical to Molly's (we have been calling her Molly now). My Grandfather was stationed in England as doctor in WW II and my Grandma worked at the Red Cross. It got even cooler that I found out that my Grandma's parents opened their home to boarders during the depression. Just like guess whos? I think about the kids reading these books. What I love most is that one day in the future some little girl is going to be reading from a sterile history book in school and remember one of her childhood toys. This might make her understand that history is not talking about some alien world. Although many things have changed and gotten better many things will never change. Best friends, bratty siblings, embarrassing relatives and of course, loving parents.

Memories from Brooke S: I found a Pleasant Company catalog on my parents' bed when I was 9 years old. My older sister had been recieving the catalogs for some time, but showed little interest in them, did not ask for anything untill years later, and dumped the catalogs someplace where I never saw them. This was my first encounter with the American Girls Collection. I thought it was really neat, those pretty dolls with all their clothes and furniture. I thought all the dolls were all very nice. But when I turned the last page of Samantha's collection, THERE- There was the doll I had spent my whole 9 years dreaming about. She had two braids and an adorable outfit of a navy skirt and red sweater. Her name was Molly. It was love at first sight. I remember laying there on my parents bed, just staring at her, entranced. I lay there for hours, studying every item in her collection, untill my mother called me for dinner. I knew right then and there that I simply had to have that doll. There was no question about it. For awhile I pretended that one of my big plastic baby dolls was really a Molly doll, but that didn't last long. Between the day I first saw the catalog and the day I finally got her, most of my spare time was spent just looking at the Pleasant Company catalog, wishing. On the day of my tenth birthday, March 26th, we went to my grandparents house to celebrate with family. My grandparents for some reason decided not to actually wrap the box. I saw the logo on the box as soon as I came in, and the anticipation was killing me. We had my cake and icecream, which I hardly tasted as I swallowed. The whole time I was staring at the box containing my treasured doll. Finally it was time for me to open my presents, but of course I had to read the cards first. The minute that was out of the way, I opened the Molly box as fast as I could. I was breathless with joy as I saw her lying there in the box. When I tilted her face up to mine, her gray eyes slowly opened and I was face-to-vinyl face with the doll I had wanted so much. I couldn't believe it. In the years since, I have collected yet another Molly doll, peices of furniture, 13 pairs of shoes, and so many outfits that my dad jokingly complains, "That doll has more clothes than I do!" I hope to get the new Kaya doll coming out this year, as well as some of the American Girl Today dolls. I eventually would like to collect them all. To me, childhood and American Girl go hand-in-hand. What makes it really wonderful is that when you read those books, you are reading about a little girl who could have been you. She has the same feelings, pains, and dreams as you have. You almost forget that what you're reading took place a long time ago, because you really wouldn't know the difference. The world may be different now, but people have stayed the same. Felicity's wise and gentle mother may remind you of yours, although Felicity lived hundreds of years ago. Molly's big brother is just as much of a pain as yours, but Molly time was during World War Two. American Girl brings history to life for so many people- adults and children alike. It fulfills a need that is in us all- a need to know where we come from. That's why it's so successful. That's why its treasured.

Memories from Sue Mika: Back in the early '90s, I became part of the Pleasant Co. mailing list and received the catalogs on a regular basis. I remember looking through them (during my doll collecting infancy) and balking at the prices! I always wanted to have one of them (particularly Bitty Baby) but couldn't afford them at the time because I was younger. Years went by and I finally had a daughter, after having 4 boys! I miraculously received an American Girl catalog just before she was born. What's the likelyhood of getting on the mailing list a few months before the birth of a long-awaited daughter? Well, I purchased the Bitty Baby starter set to "commemorate" her birth (well, it's a good enough excuse, right?). That set the ball rolling on my collecting obsession. Over the last few years, I've amassed quite a fortune in AG dolls & accessories. I have the entire Felicity collection, including the rare items like Plantation Play, Winter Amusements, the entire girls fashion line, even the girl-sized Felicity coral necklace! I've got the sought-after first issue ones which came out in 1991 with Felicity. I've also got the entire collections for Molly and Samantha as well. For Bitty Baby, I've got every item ever made for her since she came out in 1990, including all the first outfits such as the gingham dress, red denim overalls, red candy-striped dress, etc. I've got both girl & boy versions. Thank God that AG comes out with new items for the dolls every season or I'd get bored! Two girls later...I still say, "oh, my girls will love this!" when I buy something. I feel funny saying that it's REALLY for mom!

Memories from Jenny Lentz: My experience with the American Girls collection began in 1986 when I was five years old, and my mother bought me the girl-sized versions of Molly's "Meet outfit" (the skirt and sweater) and her plaid jumper and blouse. They were my favorite outfits, and I wore them with saddle shoes. I always wanted the Molly doll, especially because I had long brown hair and glasses just like Molly, but it wasn't until Christmas when I was 8 years old that I finally received her. After that, I spent all my allowance saving up to add to my Molly collection, and I always asked for Molly's clothes and accessories from all my relatives for every special occasion. I spent hours poring over the catalogues (I still have a stash of '80's and '90's Pleasant Company catalogues under the bed in my parents' house, if you ever need old price quotes or descriptions). I read all the books voraciously, for all the characters, staying up late with a flashlight under the covers. Molly went everywhere with me: to church, to restaurants, to the grocery store. I eventually collected every item in her collection (including the original drop-leaf table). For my 11th birthday, I received Felicity shortly after she was introduced, and I spent through high school finishing up my collection for her. I have almost all of her items--I am so dismayed that they no longer make the embroidery set and her extra shoes and socks! My collection is so frustratingly close to complete. Poor Felicity. She's always wanted a pair of dancing shoes! The American Girls Collection was one of the most important aspects of my childhood. Molly was my truest companion for many years. I feel that I learned so much historically from all the books, and that the characters also taught me so much about growing up, being an American, and being a strong and independent girl. But a large part of that learning was in all the historical accessories, and I hope Mattel learns to think of things other than monetary profit. I know Pleasant T. Rowland did.

Memories from Lisa Simonet: I remember the first time my cousin and I got our American Girl catalog around the summer of 1987, we were seven years old. I do not even remember how we came about learning about the company, I just remember getting that catalog and how we spent hours look at it and dreaming about how fun it would be to have those dolls. At that time there was only the three dolls. I wanted to get Samantha since at the time she looked the most like me. My cousin wanted Kristen because she lived on a farm, just like her. And my younger sister wanted to get Molly, because they both had glasses. We continued to get the catalogs and they were adding more things and you could buy the entire set for around $800, but all we wanted were the dolls and at about $100 (although, out of range for 7 year olds). So we began to convince our moms and grandma.It worked, I ended up getting Samantha during Christmas 1988 or 1989, she looked identical to me. My cousin and sister, on the other hand, had given up on asking for the dolls. FAST FORWARD TO 2003. Just this last week (August 15-23, 2003) I was with my family on a trip to Chicago. We were in the hotel lobby when people were walking in with bags which said American Girl Place: Chicago and there was always a little girl (who looked like she had just won the lottery) carrying her doll. We decided to find out where this store was and as we were going up the Magnificent Mile, there was an increasing number of bags, so we knew it was somewhere near by. Finally after walking north on Michigan Ave to go to the top of the Hancock Observatory, we headed south and there it was =). My mom, sister and I told my dad that we would be back shortly, as we were just going to "peek" (we were in their for about an hour), but surprisingly did not buy anything. We ended up going to the store again on our last day there and this time we were on a mission to buy my sister her long awaited, Molly. During the visit my mom came up to us with the doll clothes that said American Girl Place: Chicago on them. My sister asked her, "How are you going to decide if you will put that on Lisa's doll or mine?" My mom replied, "I won't have to, I am getting my own doll." Finally after a little more than 2 hours in there... My sister ended up getting her Molly doll, she also purchased the Bomber jacket set and immediately dressed her for flight. and today (8.25.03) Molly will be actually taking a flight with my sister. My mom got Samantha and dressed her with the American Girl Place: Chicago. I feeling a little out of the loop decided that I too needed a doll and that Samantha back home needed a new outfit and a friend. So I bought Felicity, the Samantha Saves the Day outfit, and the new Beach side outfit from the AG Today collection. Upon my return home, I was sadden to find out that they had begun discontinuing items from the American Girl Collection. Especially, Felicity... since her time period is so influential in our history.

Memories from Kimberly H: I began collecting my first American Girl, Kirsten, in 1986 shortly after the catalog came out. My best friend got her Kirsten doll right away, and I completely fell in love with her and all her accessories and stories I saw in the catalog! The price, however, made me think I'd never get my very own Kirsten doll. My family was working class and couldn't afford to give an allowance or buy lots of expensive toys. But I told my parents all I wanted for Christmas was Kirsten, and that I would forgo my birthday present (my birthday is Dec. 22) if they would just save all the money for my doll! I still wasn't sure it could happen, but my dream of owning Kirsten came true Christmas morning. I spent the rest of my childhood, adolescence, and early twenties finishing her collection.My heritage is Norwegian, and my family settled on the midwestern frontier in the early to mid 1800s, but I knew very little about my ancestry. Kirsten gave me a sense of the culture and history of my own family, and I always felt like I got to play with my very own bit of history! I will always cherish my Kirsten collection, remembering the many happy hours acting out scenes from the books with my best friend and her Kirsten doll. For a working class kid, she was like a treasure. We had fun, but I took very good care of her since I knew it was the best toy I would ever own and could never replace it! I laugh sometimes at how good of a "mommy" I was to Kirsten as a child- most of her collection is still in mint condition!

She'll always have a special place in my heart, but I just love the AG dolls and historical reproductions, especially some of the ones that were created after the original three. I now have Felicity, who I bought in 1998, but am just now trying to collect many of her things, since I've was in college and grad school the last six years or so. I bought her before the discontinuation of many of her things, and I was so sad when they did that. I couldn't buy many things in time since I was in college and just married. Now I'm trying to collect all the retired things I don't have, but it's a bit of a struggle since I'm still working on my dissertation. But I know that in some ways, this only makes her collection more valuable to me, not because of its monetary value, but because of my labor of love that goes into finding and acquiring all these items! Felicity's collection (what I do have of it, about half) has a special place in my heart as well, since my little sister collected her as a child and now has given me her collection. It turns out she had wanted her more to fit in with my best friend and I than for the doll itself! (And it sure worked-- we were always willing to play with Felicity's gorgeous dishes and wonderful party treats!) So, now I'm working on Felicity's collection, but I also plan to begin Addy's and Josefina's soon as well. Those four are my favorites, and I look forward to many years of happy collecting (which hopefully will not be plagued with discontinued items!).

Memories from Audrey Oppedisano: I first heard of the American Girls when my grandparents gave me the original boxed set of Kirsten books. I loved those books because they took me to a different place and time. My mother loved them too (she's a first-grade teacher) and so she sent away for the catalogue. However my parents were quite dismayed at the cost of the dolls. I couldn't imagine owning anything so expensive either. Also, I never really cared for playing with dolls or dollhouses (I thought Barbie was ridiculous, but today I collect Barbie dolls from around the world). My parents decided to buy me Samantha for my 9th birthday, because she looked just like me - long dark-brown wavy hair with brown eyes. I loved my doll but spent most of my time just reading all the American Girl books that I could get my hands on. I found out that some of my friends and cousins had dolls and we had some good times playing together, even making our own outfits for them. That year Felicity was added to the collection, and since I have always been enchanted with the Colonial Period, I read through all of her books in just over a week. My grandparents saw how much my cousin and I loved our dolls and reading, and so they decided to let us choose a second doll for Christmas when we were 10, and of course I chose Felicity. After only collecting a few outfits for my dolls, I turned to other things. My passion for the collection was rekindled as I entered high school, and I saved up money for a year to buy Kirsten and several items in her collection (including the gorgeous scenes and settings). I prized myself in keeping my dolls in very good condition, making displays every so often. I thought I was getting to old to keep collecting, and of course I needed to save my money for other things like college. When Josefina came out, she was my favorite (because I speak Spanish and love Hispanic culture), but I thought I was just too old. Well now I am 21 and almost done with college, and I just had the opportunity to visit American Girl Place in New York City with my mom. She loved it so much that she wanted to get another doll. She wanted Addy (her "kids" love the books) but bought Josefina for me instead! I hope to one day collect all of the dolls and many accessories, perhaps when I have a daughter of my own. Felicity and Josefina are definitely my favorite, and I am very saddened that they have discontinued many Felicity (and even Josefina) items that I was hoping to collect gradually over time.

Memories from Rachel S.: My AG memories start on my 8th birthday. My mom took me to a bookstore and said I could get a few things there. At that bookstore, they had AG mini dolls, and I got mini Samantha. Since then, I had wanted a real Samantha doll. I ended up collecting all the mini dolls, and on my 9th birthday, my wish came true. After that I thought Samantha needed a friend. So on my 10th birthday, I got an AG today. She has curly-honey blond hair and her name is Amy. Since then I have gotten two more dolls, Nellie ( with a check my grandparents gave me), and Felicity (for Christmas).

Memories from Kristina M.: One day, my mom took me over to my aunt, uncle, and cousins house to play with my cousins (they live about 15 minutes away). We visited my cousins often, but that day I noticed something that I had never seen before. Laying on the couch was an American Girl catalog. I was (and obviously still am) a collector of dolls (at that time only porcelain ones), so I sat down on the couch and starting flipping through the catalog. I was thinking to myself, Wow. These dolls are really amazing. I had never seen any dolls like them before. When it was time to leave, I showed my mom the American Girl catalog. She though the dolls were nice, but she had never been big in to dolls. After about a month (and more visits at my cousins), I felt that I had to have one of those dolls. I sat on the sofa, and again looked at the catalog. But this time, I did not just flip through it. I studied each doll and her collection carefully, trying to decide which one was my favorite. Bitty Baby was adorable, and the American Girls of Today were beautiful, but I really had my eye on the historical dolls, especially two. After looking through the entire catalog, there were two dolls that really stood out: Kit and Josefina. Kit had just been released at the time. I really liked Josefina's outfits and her long, dark brown hair. At the same time, I liked Kit's short blonde hair and cute sweater and skirt just as much. When my mom picked me up from my cousins' house, I showed her the two dolls, and asked if maybe I could have one of them for my upcoming 7th birthday. My mom told me, "We'll see." As my 7th birthday neared, I continued to remind my mom over and over again about American Girl. She said that if that was what I wanted for my birthday, then she would try to get it for me.

After much debating, I finally decided that I wanted Kit. At the time, I had short blonde hair (with bangs) and blue eyes, so I thought that Kit looked kind of like me. On the night of my 7th birthday (February 10, 2001), my mom gave me a big box wrapped in pretty flowered wrapping paper. I almost immediately knew what it was. I ripped open the wrapping paper to find a white box with the American Girl logo. I quickly took the lid off the box, and there was Kit. I jumped up and thanked my mom. I also got Kit's accessories. That was all I wanted for my birthday that year. My mom then took me out to Hoss' for my birthday dinner, with Kit tagging along, of course. I was so excited! Kit was so beautiful! I stared at Kit all through dinner. For the next two years, I continued to love and care for Kit. I added many other outfits and accessories to my American Girl collection, most of them from craft fairs. Then, for my 9th birthday, I received another American Girl doll from my mom. This time, I got the Asian American Girl of Today, along with Cocnut. I named her Elizabeth. I added more and more doll outfits to my collection. This year, as my 5th grade "graduation" present, my mom took me to American Girl Place in New York. She surprised me by letting me get the doll of my choice, along with a couple of outfits! I was so incredibly excited, you would not believe it! After looking through the entirety of the American Girls Collection and the American Girl Today sections, I decided upon getting Josefina with her accessories and paperback book. After much more browsing, I picked out the Warm Up Outfit and Mat, Josefina's Feast Day Finery, and Nellie's Pajamas. My mom decided that I should also get an American Girl Place outfit as a souveneir (as if I didn't already have enough!). I got the red doll's American Girl Place New York tee shirt, a pair of doll jeans, and an American Girl Place New York doll baseball cap. I had so much fun in that store! I love my American Girl collection, and I am hoping to possibly get either Nellie or Elizabeth from my dad for Christmas this year!

Memories from Esme P.: When I was about seven years old My sister introduced me to The Addy books. I soon fell in love with her. I remember the year when I recived meet Addy to own! I was so excited. I had only ever checked it out from the library, and now I would never have to worry about returning it.

Soon my love of the Addy books faded. After I had read meet Samantha, Meet Addy, and Addy Learns a Lesson. Now I was older and more into Ameila's notebook. Then I was excited to see a card at the back of the book to recive a catalog. Really I only wanted it because I didn't need a stamp to send the card, and I never got mail and I wanted to. Also I ordered a catalog for my friend. When I got the catalog I was disapointed to see that there was nothing about Ameila. Just some dolls. But then I realized how pretty the dolls were. Then I looked at the price. My heart droped. $84!!! I was stunned. But I didn't let that feeling last. I quickly wrote down how much it would cost for me to buy the 3-in-1 bed, a doll (#16), A ton of outfits, and coconut. It was about $650. My friend who wasn't much into the dolls said I would never get one of the dolls. Not ever. I ignorred her remarks and began to daydream about the doll. One day my mom said she wished that she could buy me one of the dolls and an outfit. I told her that I would rather we could pay rent.

A year later I fell in love with Samantha and Nellie. And from the time when Nellie was first in the catalog to the Samantha movie premiere I had read all of her books. I loved her even more after the movie.

Two years later I decided that it was time to beg. So that is what I did. Finally Christmas of 2005, My grandmother handed me and my brother and sisters each a big box. My heart raced. I knew how tall the box would be so as we waited for the rest of the gifts to be handed out I stood up. YES! The box was just around the hight of my knee. I fidgited as I waited. Finaly we were aloud to open the boxes. I scambled to open the box. Behind me I heard my brother say, "I knew it". I looked back. There lying in front of him was a Molly doll. Just the one he wanted. I pushed the rest of the wrapping paper off of the big box. I stared down at the American Girl logo. Then opened to box quickly. I screamed excitedly. There she was, Samantha Parkington. Next to me I heard my sister yell "KIT!". My other sister still didn't have her big box unwraped. Finally she opened her precious Kaya. I ran around the room showing everyone my new Samantha, saying, "Look it's Samantha!" Even though she was still in her box! Soon I let her out a gave her a hug. Then there was an emergency. My youngest sister needed help with her Kaya doll's hair. But I didn't set take my eyes off my new doll all day. On the car ride to our next stop all four of us were brushing our dolls' hair, talking about how wonderful that day was, and how no gift could top this one.

Now I am going to buy Nicki Fleming, just 26 dollars away!

Memories from Elaine Hoffman: I received my first American Girl when I was 30 years old. I have always loved dolls since I was a little girl. When I was 13 my mother talked me into giving up my doll collection of Snugglebuns Play-All-Six from Remco and my Twist n' Turn Barbie from 1967 and Dawn Dolls etc. I was heartbroken. When I was 16 I re-thought the idea of giving up dolls and decided not to do that anymore. I missed my dolls too much. So I slowly started to toy with the idea of having dolls in my life again. When I was 20 I joined the USAF and got sent to West Germany and they had the best dolls in the world there. In 1981-1986 I had collected Teddybears and Zapf Creation baby dolls, I was even thinking about Kathie Kruse dolls. I bought Hummel dolls as well. I regret not getting a Laura Ingals doll from Little House on the Prairie Show as a gift for myself for leaving home and going Overseas. That's okay; I made up for it.

I got pregnant and had a real baby boy doll named Timothy in 1986 and knew I couldn't play dolls with him so much as a little girl. So I continued finding my dolls for myself. In 1987 I believe, I came across a Pleasant Doll advertisement in the Yankee magazine while I was in Germany. I noticed the silhoutte of the little girl reading to her doll. This was Samantha Parkington.

Well my first Pleasant doll was Kirsten Larson given to me at Christmas time on Dec 25, 1989. The company had only been in existance for 3 years. They only had 3 dolls at that time. Kirsten, Samantha and Molly. I got Kirsten first because she reminded me of my childhood dolls with blonde hair and blue eyes. I love more like Samantha, but Kirsten reminded me of my love of Germanic folklore and Grimm's brothers fairytales and Swedish Nordic traditions. My mother is of Swedish descent. So Kirsten was my first. I also got her Scandinavian Wool sweater and mittens and Hat, her Swedish costume with black skirt, red boots, and of course her Santa Lucia Costume with the tray of Lucia buns and candle holder. She looks so adorable in her braids looped up and wearing the crown of lingonberries and candles. I plan to one day Bavarian Tole Paint a Schrank and Bed for my Kirsten using Scottie Foster's Guide to Bauernmaleri book 4. I just received my second Pleasant doll in 2004 Dec for Christmas from my husband Paul. The next year for Christmas I received a Kathie Kruse doll with a dirndl on and a knitted baby chick in a basket and a American Girl doll "Central Park Sleigh and coat set for Samantha and Nellie". Boy this was quite a holiday. I still use the sled for display every year. I have a horse attached with jingle bells and holly swagged all around it. It is gorgeous. It came with two winter coats and hats for Samantha and Nellie, the horse and sled and jingle bells and reigns and christmas holly. I just love it. Last year my husband got me Emily and Molly and their Winter outfits. So I got to put the girls on Emily's sled and dress her up and Molly had her ice skating outfit on. I just love these dolls. I now have 4 of them. No bitty babies just yet. See you don't have to be a girl to enjoy these kinds of things. I am proud to say I am 48 years young. I am just a little girl inside too.

Memories from Christina G.: When I was about 8 years old, I was shopping with my grandfather when I saw Felicity's book series. Since I loved horses, my grandpa bought the book set for me and I devoured all 6 books. I sent away for a catalog when I saw there were dolls to go along with the books, and I decided I had to have Felicity. My parents said if I wanted her, I had to buy her with my own money. A big task for an 8 year old kid earing $2 a week! But eventually, I had the money and got to order my doll. The day my Felicity came, I ran down the street to my friend Ashley's house, and she immediately asked her mom to order Kirstin for her. We played with our dolls for hours every day, and Felicity is still one of my most treasured posessions. I'm in college now and still love and collect the dolls (my newest addition is Julie!) And I am proud to say I am now an American Girl employee in NYC! As you can see, American Girl has been a part of my life for a long time and I hope it will continue to be in my life until I have daughters of my own.

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