I was truly amazed by the sweet birthday breakfast made by my husband, Sam and daughter, Tabytha!
I was even given a pretty basket of flowers too! Awe, thank you so much my sweet little family! Tabytha hand-made this lovely Star Wars theme birthday card for me below. I really thought it was store bought too?!
The inside cracked me up! Then below, Sara’s hand-made card. She’s always so sweet!
By Twelve noon we went next door for our usual Sunday Lunch with my in-laws, and they had a feast set up for my birthday as well! Sorry, no photos of the food… My birthday cards and my gift were all in the same theme! Hand-made Japanese ladies in their kimonos!
Sam’s Auntie Meady makes them herself and they are so beautifully done and intricate too! I will treasure them always. I may even frame them! The best gift of all was this amazing Vintage Gofun Ichimatsu large Japanese Baby Doll!! “Ichimatsu dolls represent little girls or boys, usually with glass eyes and flesh-colored skin, originally made of gofun, a smooth, porcelain like substance made from ground oyster shell.” – Wafuku
It was my mother in-law’s, believe it or not. She owned it since she was 11 years old! I saw it sitting nicely next to my birthday cards in her living room. I knew the cards would be for me, but the doll?! I didn’t even think anything, only assuming it was there for decoration… Oh my!
You have such a great appreciation for dolls, I knew you would appreciate
this favorite doll of mine. I know she is in good hands. Oddly, I never
gave her a name – just my little Japanese baby doll.
In 1957 the Guam Department Store was located in a huge Quonset hut
located about where the District Courthouse is now located in Hagatna.
The building was cooled by huge industrial fans, and all the merchandise
was displayed on three-tiered, wooden shelves, all lined in long rows with aisles
in-between. They had a shelf full of Japanese baby dolls with traditional
straight-cut black, real hair, all dressed in traditional kimono, each
sitting on a red silk pillow. Each had such a beautiful painted porcelain
baby face, with glass eyes that gave her a soulful, sweet look. Body,
arms and legs were all porcelain, all jointed with hidden elastic bands.
I looked at the display, talked about it, and my parents got the hint. On
Christmas morning, 1957, she was under our Christmas tree.
I kept her on display in my bedroom. Then, in my house when I married. Sam
and Sandy grew up with my Japanese baby doll on display. When I would
pick her up to dust her, I noticed that her arms and legs were loose
because the elastic bindings had deteriorated. Her undergarments had
holes. In the 1980s, our family friends from Austria visited. The rest is
written in the note that I rolled up in her obi. When Angelina sent the doll back
to me, I put her in a box to preserve the good condition she was in. But
she doesn’t belong in a dark box. She belongs with you!
I was floored. As she read the rolled up note aloud, I just started balling so bad. I couldn’t believe she had entrusted me with this very special doll of hers? I made a promise to myself and my Mother in-law, to keep her safe and pass this special doll onto the girls when they are old enough. Sam kept saying I remember that doll as a child growing up!
There is a whole other story in regards to this sweet Japanese Baby doll. They were also called, “Friendship Dolls”. According to the blog Wafuku, on ichimatsu dolls. In 1927, Japan made these dolls especially to be exchanged between Japan and the United States. The blog states that even the United States sent dolls back to Japan as a gift. The Ichimatsu dolls traveled around the U.S. and then were given to Libraries and Museums for safe keeping and to be displayed.
If you read further down into the post, there are photos of some of the original “Friendship Dolls” and even old photos of the dolls that were shown in a school and the American dolls that were given to little Japanese girls. A great reference to read on about these types of dolls.
As for my birthday gift, she will be display in my cabinet, as soon as I make room and then, when Taby is old enough, I will pass it onto her and then she can pass it to Sara or her own daughter. My Mother in-law’s doll is an amazing piece of history and even more so, an amazing piece for my daughters to cherish and share with their children…
A very special birthday indeed! Thank you all so much, and thanks for reading also!
much love ~ ggsdolls
Updated: Judy, my Mother in-law wanted me to include her scroll message
from her Austrian friends Ottrman and Angelina.
Here is what is written in the scroll:
“Dear Judy, March 1986
Do you understand if one mentions time?
This little doll from you – it has aged (Grey hair)
We had always pleasure when our look fell upon it.
We fixed it with thoughts for you in our mind and hearts.
And now, when as the work is done, we had the feeling
it should go back to you. (Instead of photos).
It is a sign of friendship coming from our souls.
God bless you,
Ottrman and Angelina”
Judy goes on to explain on the backside of the very same letter:
“Ottrman & Angelina from Austria stayed with us for a few days
(on Guam), While back packing around the world. As they prepared
to leave Angelina admired the doll which I had been given as a
Christmas gift when I was 11 years old.
It was in need of repair, and although I didn’t want to part with it,
I gave it to her. A couple of years later, I received a package
with this note and the doll. It gives me more pleasure to look upon it now. Judy”
Judy didn’t know it was called a Friendship Doll?! Isn’t it quite amazing, that this doll was truly a doll given between friends. How fitting is this story?! Truly dolls can bring people together even worlds apart…