Rediscovering a childhood friend

I grew up in a family of 7 girls and 1 boy, the boy being the youngest child.  I was the 6th girl and, as in many large families, we shared lots of our toys.  I recently found one thing I remembered from my childhood, the Penny Brite Doll. Although showing a bit of wear (she was played with quite often), she still retains her charm.

Penny was made by the Deluxe Reading Co in the early 1960’s.  I had one and several of my sisters also had one, but I can’t remember if all of us did.  We did have a few of the outfits made for Penny Brite, but could not afford multiples of them or all that were available.

Still around are these three – Smart Shopper,  Sunday Best, and Velvet Princess .  Unfortunately most of her accessories for these outfits and all of her shoes have been lost.

Thankfully, we were blessed with a Great Aunt Gussie that could knit and crochet and sew.  Quite a few outfits were made and remarkably have survived.

These knit sets included a top, sweater, skirt and hat.  The sweater and hat have been lost on the cream set.  There was a red set as well, but it hasn’t survived as well and is unwearable.

These cute hooded sweaters and pants were also knitted. There is another set, in a red variegated yarn, but it also has suffered a bit of damage over the years.

The little swimsuit and romper are also knit. My sister remembers a different romper, with a blue stripe, but I fear it has been lost.

Knit and crocheted dresses – I remember the bright pink one in the middle, but I don’t know why. Maybe it was mine, maybe I dressed her in it more.

Flannel nightgown and pajamas set. There are two other nightgowns, one also has a matching pjs set. I love the little buttons with loop closures on the pj top.

Dresses and a nightgown from various fabrics.

I think these dresses were made by us girls, as they are sewn by hand and rather crudely done. The pattern is very simple and the one has simple hand embroidery. There are 3 other dresses like this as well. I don’t remember personally making any of these, and I might have been too young. I do remember that we had access to fabric scraps and I remember making pillows and other things for dolls.

Penny Brite dolls have now become collectible but are relatively easy to find.  A few years ago, new Penny Brite dolls were introduced by Charisma Brands.  You can purchase new Penny Brites in copies of the original outfits or character dolls like Tinkerbell and Alice in Wonderland.

It’s funny, I remember more about playing with toy animals, trolls and cars and trucks in the backyard than I remember about playing with Penny, but she still holds a warm place in my heart.  I guess that’s why she’s been kept all these years, with smile and dimples in place, just waiting to be brought out and loved again.


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2 Responses to Rediscovering a childhood friend

  1. Susan Burkhart says:

    The outfits look familiar to me, but not the doll. I remember my skipper, but like you, I mostly remember the toy animals and trolls and elaborate villages in the rock pile.

  2. Char Bransky says:

    Hi. Love your Penny Brite — I call her “the poor man’s Shirley Temple ’cause of her cute dimples and blonde hair — and especially love all the knitted handmade outfits you have for her. Your Great Aunt Gussie was a very talented knitter — love the pointelle designs knitted in — and Penny looks wonderful in her outfits. Glad I got to peek at your Penny! And I didn’t know the reproductions included an Alice in Wonderland! You’ve piqued my curiosity, so I’m off to see if one’s on Ebay. Love when folks share happy memories they’ve enjoyed with childhood dolls.

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