Caroline courtesy http://dolldiaries.com/happy-birthday-caroline/.
All summer my daughter Jacqueline has been talking about American Girl dolls. She has been researching them online. She knows their names, clothing, accessories and furniture. She even started an American girl club at school, even thought none of the four members has an American girl doll.
But that all changed this past weekend. My parents had planned a trip to Boston for a family reunion. My dad wanted me to come along to help with the driving. The night before we left, Jacqueline asked: "Can I come with you to Boston?" My first reaction was to say no. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought it was a good idea. There was lots of room in the car, in the hotel room and it would be like a giant field trip filled with geography and history. So I said yes.
We arrived Friday night. On Saturday, we headed out bright and early to the Natick Mall, about 25 minutes outside of Boston. But this wasn't just any mall. The only mall that we Canadians have that is bigger is West Edmonton Mall. It has its own parking garage. We entered the mall by Macy's, hoping to find a place to eat. It turned out that there were two food courts, both of which were at the opposite end of the mall. We stopped at McDonald's for breakfast where Jacqueline had a egg McMuffin with bacon, I had "hotcakes" and my Mom ate a bagel. My Dad took half an hour to park and half an hour to find the McDonald's. Ten people in the mall swore up and down that it had no McDonald's -- that's how big it is.
After breakfast, we followed the star symbol to the American Girl Store (http://www.americangirl.com/index.php). Two security guards greeted us at the entrance. We said "We're from Canada. Do we get a discount?" " I've never heard that one before," said the female guard. Jacqueline was in awe at what she saw: dolls, dolls, everywhere. Caroline, the War of 1812 doll. She comes with a black and white kitten called "Inkpot" (for a price). Kit, the Great Depression doll. She has a wooden rolltop desk and a typewriter because she wants to become a journalist when she grows up. Rebecca, the World War I doll. My Mom offered to buy Jacqueline the matching purple dress that Rebecca wore, but my daughter couldn't decide. Addy, the Civil War doll. She has an ice cream making set. Josefina, the Mexican immigrant doll. She comes with a clay oven and a freshly baked loaf of bread. Kaya, the Native Indian doll. Kaya rides a pony. Samantha, the early 19th Century. Samantha's ice cream parlour has a tiny silver cash register.
While the prices are steep, the displays are enticing. I like the fact that they are historical. Each doll comes with a book, explaining some of the background of the era. Jacqueline made her decision: she chose Caroline, the War of 1812 doll. "Good choice," I said. "The War of 1812 was fought between the Americans and the Canadians (British). That's an appropriate doll for a Canadian girl to get."
After our purchase, we headed upstairs where more dolls waited. Half of the upper floor is taken u by a bistro where girls can eat with their newly purchased dolls. But we had spent enough money for one visit. Jacqueline took a couple of photos to show her American Girl Doll club members back home. With Caroline in a giant shopping bag, we headed back to the car.