The Loudmouth Protestant

February 26, 2009

A Stolen Moment

Filed under: randomness — nickisym @ 2:59 pm
Tags: , ,

This morning I had the opportunity to reminisce with my colleagues about dolls and our childhood affairs with them. For any women reading this, you knew what a deep connection you had with your Barbie, her clothes, her Ken and her little flat-footed sister Skipper. I owned quite a few Barbies and accompanying pieces to fit her life. With all of this,  I would go over my childhood friend’s house and we would have Barbie playtime. I remember being anal about the way I set out Barbie’s clothes. Everything had to be arranged by occasion, so the casual clothes were on the top rows, dresses in the middle and gowns on the bottom. We’d dress our dolls and play with them in mock fashion for what seemed like hours. It was all fun and games until it wasn’t. And then the day came that would change the trajectory of my playtime with dolls and my trust issues with people and dolls forever.

It was a summer afternoon like any other. I brought my dolls to my friend’s house and set up as usual but this day was special because my mom had just bought me a Shani doll. Shani was the new doll Mattel created to appease the demands of black mothers who wanted a more realistic doll for their little girls. She was an African-American doll who wore a beautiful gown of pinks, purples and blues. Her hair was thick and wavy, her lips full, and from what I remember her proportions were way closer to my current proportions than Barbie’s unrealistic 39-18-33 measurements. I loved Shani. I was proud to be the first kid of the block with one. I shared Shani with my friends and we played gleefully that afternoon until I got the call that dinner was ready at home and I ran out the door…without Shani.

“No worries,” I thought. Shani would be there when I came back tomorrow for the sequel. But when I came back the next day, Shani was gone. Everything else remained in tact. The clothes I left, the other dolls I left, but Shani was gone. “Where is she?” I asked my friend. She didn’t know. My mind raced and the room spun as I wondered where my Shani could have gone but like Sherlock Holmes, I unlocked the case in no time.

What I failed to mention is that the day I debuted Shani was an unusual playdate in that my friend had her two cousins from Brooklyn over–the two cousins would come over for a week or two every summer because Queens was apparently a luxurious retreat for Brooklyn kids. One of the cousins I loved and the other I kept as a distance because I got the feeling she didn’t like me. I always bristled when I realized people didn’t like me because I wondered, “Why not, what’s not to like?” So anyways, my skills of deduction lead me to believe that the other cousin took my doll back to Brooklyn with her and she didn’t do it by accident. Why? Because she didn’t come from Brooklyn with any dolls. It was just her, her Jheri curl and her Keds. I had caught her red-handed dripping with Soul Glo with my Shani…If only in my mind. I confronted my friend who told her mom but cousin Jheri denied it.

I was devastated beyond belief and truth be told, the retelling of this story makes me a little sad that I didn’t do two things, one make my parents follow the trail of her Jheri curl juice straight to her house and reclaim my Shani and two, make my parents buy me another one. Why didn’t they do the latter you ask? Trust and believe they weren’t broke, they were trying to teach me a lesson of never trusting other people with my stuff.

Well it’s still an unsolved mystery more than a decade later but it stings like it was yesterday. R.I.P Shani.



  1. I never left my toys anywhere…This was because I was absurdly stingy and vigilant with my toys. Could you borrow my My Little Pony? NO! The Barbie car? Absolutely not…I was ridiculous. And while I was playing with other kids I would be watching them like a hawk. Guess you should have had me as your Shani bodyguard..

    Comment by Kristen Jason — February 26, 2009 @ 3:09 pm | Reply

  2. That sucks big time!

    Although it probably wont help, but you can find shani dolls online for sale now…

    I managed to find one today… if you want it, email me…

    Comment by Carolina — March 5, 2010 @ 5:36 pm | Reply

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