Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Story of Whitney and Hot Checks



I don't have any of my many dolls from childhood. When I was 9 years old a house fire destroyed everything. I loved my dolls, and I longed for a real live baby doll! My mother said that you had to have a heart to live, and my dolls didn't have one, so they could never come alive. I started praying often and hard for each one to be given a heart. I was about 4-5 years old then. Later, when we lost everything, I didn't get any new dolls. I just thought I had been through too much to play with dolls. However, years later I felt my childhood prayers were answered when my three children were born.





But this story is about Whitney. She is now 25 years old. She belongs to my first-born grand daughter, and for years, they were inseparable. At 15 months old, my grand daughter, in a stroller while we were shopping, spotted the doll in a box on the shelf and just begged to hold it. I handed the box to her and she ripped it open before we could stop her! She pulled the doll out, raised her own little shirt and started pretend-nursing her! I picked up the ripped box and my heart sank--the price tag said $35.00! Who had $35.00 to spare in the early 80's? Not us!! Not me! We didn't have credit cards then and I just couldn't take her "baby" away, so I wrote a "hot check" for her.

This is how it worked back then. We'd drive 35 miles to Phoenix, buy whatever, and write a check. You had about 5-7 days to get the money to cover the check and deposit it in the bank. Check floating is what we called it. By then it would be payday, and the money would be in the bank before the check would clear. It is the same scheme that's used today--robbing Peter to pay Paul, but now credit cards are juggled to pay the payments on other credit cards. Neither is a good practice, but this kept us in much needed groceries near the end of the pay cycle, as well as to cover any other emergency that came up. Unlike today, you just needed to make sure you never exceeded your pay check. That worked for years until new technology and credit cards became readily available. Now, people don't bother worrying about whether the paycheck will cover any outstanding checks, they just pay by the month! But I digress....





Whitney is the size of a newborn. She looks real, and for years Whitney caused us plenty of embarrassing moments. People would stop and tell us we should be ashamed for holding her wrong, or they admonished us for not properly propping her up in the shopping cart seat. The most eventful was at a parking lot where people were screaming that a baby was left in the car in a car seat. We ran over and tried to explain it was just a doll but someone had already called the police. The policeman told us not to ever leave her in the car seat alone, as she was so lifelike that he would have broken the window to save her from sure suffocation in the blistering heat.


Whitney was retired eight years ago. My grand daughter at age 16 had a tear in her eye when she placed her in my doll room. The outfit she has on is the outfit my last-born grand daughter wore coming home from the hospital when she was born. I think every family member has a "Whitney" story to tell. I know our Whitney is a big part of our family past, and as it is with kids and grand kids, adds an added layer of richness to our memories.

7 comments:

Julie said...

What a great story!!! That is amazing that the policeman was gonna break the window to get her out of the hot car!!! WOW!

I love how you had to pay for her! Hey...it worked!!! Grandma to the rescue...I'm so glad you could get the doll for her!

You mention your "doll room". What have you got in there??? Can you show us???

Chris said...

That was a beautiful post. I have three girls ages 8,6,& 3. We have several dolls. The American Girl ones are their favorites. Hope all is well!

Aiyana said...

Cute story. No dolls for me, except Betsy Wetsy and an Alice in Wonderland doll. I never really played with either. I remember the days before credit cards myself! I never wrote hot checks because payday was every two weeks, but I did write "hold checks" a check with a future date entered with the agreement of the merchant. The key was to maintain a good record with them of always having the money to cover when the due date came. I suppose it was a form of credit that kept us in groceries until payday. The problem with that method is the same as with today's credit cards--you're always behind!
Aiyana

BabYpose said...

Beautiful story and really a little reminder for me to pray like you did for a baby girl. Godwilling soon.

Hawk woman said...

Great story! I still think you should do some professional writing. You are so good at it. Dolls always freaked me out. Don't like the ones with the eyes that follow you!

Pudgeduck said...

Hawk woman--LOL!! I know how you feel about dolls! That is why I have your doll in my doll room!!

Anonymous said...

HEY LADY...
I remember you talking about the dolls when we were growing up. But didn't know you got your grandaughter one also. We sure have lost contact and need to catch up on details. I'll see you in December. Love ya, Betty