If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Flickr, you most likely know that I recently reached a huge landmark in my dolly life: I bought my very first vintage 1972 Kenner Blythe. After years of collecting and waiting (all the way back to 2004!), my dream to own a Kenner has come true. I'm still in disbelief...
I'd like to introduce you to Braille.
Braille joined my family last week on Wednesday, April 13th. I had been quietly looking for a Kenner for the past few months, ever since the 2010 holiday season. (The holiday season always puts me into an "I need a new dolly" mood.) In fact, I had been hoping to get one in December, but I didn't feel like I was in the right place financially at the time. I put off my serious search for a while, but still kept my eyes open for a deal that I might be able to handle.
I figured that the little hiatus in my search happened for a reason. I was still unsure of which Kenner I wanted. By then, I had narrowed down my search to raven and blonde haired dolls. I liked the boldness of the dark haired Kenners, but I also loved the angelic quality of the blonde Kenners. I figured that I would know which one was for me when the time was right.
I came across Connie's Kenner threads on This Is Blythe and Blythe Kingdom. She was selling five (out of her fifteen) beautiful Kenners. The Friday morning before Braille joined me, I scrolled through the sales thread very casually, secretly hoping to come across something special. And then I saw her-- the very last Kenner in the thread. She was a blonde Kenner, one in beautiful condition and listed for an amazingly reasonable price. (All of her stock makeup was still intact, with the exception of her blush that had been added by a previous owner. Her hair was frizz-free, besides a few centimeters on the tips of her hair. Her body had no cracks at all and her legs clicked perfectly.) I never thought I'd be able to find a gorgeous Kenner that I was instantly drawn to for under $1000, but sure enough, I did!
With beautiful gifts like Braille come sacrifices. I knew I had to sell another doll in order to afford a Kenner. After talking it over with Shawn, I decided to put up one of my two Lati Yellow dolls for adoption so I could pay for my Kenner in one full payment. As much as I miss my Lati (who I sold to a very sweet person on Den Of Angels), I have no regrets.
After sending Connie my payment, I waited four and a half grueling days for Braille to arrive. I checked my package's tracking number at least once every fifteen minutes during the day when I was awake. Of course, the day she arrived happened to be the one day a new mailman was on my route so she ended up getting delivered around 5 PM instead of the usual 1 PM. (What are the chances??) I had her shipped to Mom's house because I don't trust the mailing system for my apartment building. Poor Mom. I kept calling and texting her to see if my Kenner packaged had arrived. I could tell I was making her nervous after a while. Finally, at 4:38 PM, I got the call: Braille was delivered and Mom was on her way over to drop off my package. *happy dance*
The one regret I have right now is that I wish I had taken deboxing photos of Braille. I always cherish those memories when it comes to Blythes. Because I had waited extra long for the mail that day, I was way too excited to bring out my camera and take shots as I took my new doll out of her package. Luckily, there's one thing I'll never forget: the wonderful sweet antique shop smell of an old Kenner. It's so pretty and unique! I'm hoping that Braille will always keep the scent.
I'd like to get into the meaning behind Braille's name now. I already explained it on Flickr, but I'll go into more detail here since I can ramble on for as long as I want to. xD A lot of my dolls have fun kawaii names, like Pinkachu and Plum and Utopia (Topi) and Nami. I wanted my Kenner to have a somewhat more serious name, one that resemebled prettiness, tranquility and gentleness. The first night after I paid for my Kenner, I went through hundreds of ideas for names. Finally, as I was falling asleep (which is one of my best times to think of names for dolls/plushies), the concept of braille popped into my head.
In Connie's description of the blonde Kenner, she let interested buyers know that the tips of the doll's fingers had been cut off by a previous owner. I found this quality incredibly endearing. It made me think back to what my friend Sherri told me about her Kenners when we were driving to BlytheCon in 2009. She explained that she had felt most connected with the Kenners that weren't perfect. Most of her beloved Kenners had flaws: frizzy hair, a cracked torso, a missing limb, etc. The flaws in the Kenners were the qualities that made them special; not only did their age show, but the love and time that they had endured over the years were reflected in a very visual way through their outward appearances. At first, I didn't agree with Sherri's outlook on Kenners. I mean, why would I want to pay a LOT of money for a doll that wasn't perfect or near perfect? The moment I laid my eyes on Connie's photos of Braille, I felt like I finally knew what Sherri was talking about.
Thank you, Sherri, for that beautiful insight!
I embraced my Kenner's "flaws" and I wanted to make sure that the thought of imperfections creating perfection always stayed with me. According to the dictionary, braille is "a system of writing and printing for blind or visually impaired people, in which varied arrangements of raised dots representing letters and numerals are identified by touch." I think the meaning of braille connects the perfect with the imperfect, thus creating a beautiful balance in the world. My Kenner-- my Braille-- is a permament reminder of that beautiful balance.
A lot of Blythe fans have big, gorgeous Kenner families. I've always admired people who can do that! I wish I had the ability to do it myself. ^^ At the same time, I've never wanted a big Kenner family, or even a big Blythe family. I like doting on my dolls, spoiling them each with lots of clothes, accessories, photos and attention. I know that if I had a big Kenner family, I'd get overwhelmed; most of them would not receive the attention they deserve. I decided a while ago that I would have just one Kenner. And that's another reason why Braille is so special to me: she'll forever be my one, special Kenner. <3