Do you know Polly Pocket? The ones I first remember were the tiny, hard, plastic ones. They were the size of a thumbnail and lived in little cases that when shut, looked like thick makeup compacts. When open, they made a house, complete with a cradle that rocked, a kitchen door that opened and shut, and a toilet seat that could be left up or put down. There were wee rooms, all with round dents in the floors where the Pollys could snap in and thus stand upright by themselves. Later on, the new Polly Pockets came out. Similar to the ones around today, they were much bigger and came with rubber clothes that could be pulled on and off (not with any small effort, I might add).
A woman I work with, Melanie, told me this morning at around six a.m., when I was still bleary-eyed and walking with Clydesdale steps, that she has collected Polly Pockets for the past twenty years or so.
Melanie is, I’m estimating, in her mid to late fifties.
She told me, as we sliced cardboard into ribbons with our box cutters, that a year or so ago, she passed off her collection (she estimates $500 worth) to her niece, who was at the time pregnant. The understanding was that her niece, Scarlett, would give the Polly Pockets to her sister, Careen, who has two young daughters. Careen’s girls could play with the dolls for a few years, and then when Scarlett’s (then unborn) daughter was old enough for them, they would be passed back to her.
Scarlett, however, kept the Pollys in storage instead of giving them to Careen. When Melanie found out, she confronted Scarlett, who claimed that Melanie had never said anything about them being loaned to Careen. Scarlett then flat-out refused to pass them on, even threatening a lawsuit.
Eventually, Melanie talked her down, and Scarlett agreed to give the dolls to Careen, who agreed to return them in a few years.
By this point in the story, Melanie and I were walking up to break, each pushing an empty cart. I asked the most important question of all:
“Did you ever sit down on the floor and play with the Polly Pockets?”
Melanie smiled. “Oh yes. I like to set everything up and talk the dolls from one place to the next: the mall, the cruise ship, the RV, the fashion runway…”