This has been one of those stories from childhood that just keeps on getting more and more hilarious…The Good Luck Doll story has been told to me as long as I can remember. Most of this story was told early on, yet the more time has passed? the more stories seem to arise.
I’ll just begin here………
My parents lived in Maryland where my Daddy was a carpenter. He could build just about anything he set his mind to.. his main jobs were building houses. On many job sites there were remnants of other people’s junk to be tossed and a particular huge dumpster that was on their drive every day.. the usual spot for “one mans junk, is another mans treasure” kinda thing. Tales would have it that sometimes there was some pretty good stuff there that people had tossed out. They always made time to take a gander on the way by.
Not long after I was born, my Daddy came home with a surprise. He had found me a Doll!!! it was in pretty good shape and he just knew it was a real find.
My Momma was a little skeptical.
I’m not sure she saw it as the treasure that he did. She went on to tell him that the thing was the ugliest doll she had ever seen in her life, and why in the world did he bring that old thing home? He went on to tell her it was in fact a “good luck” doll…. it even said so on the tattoo stamped shamrock on its left arm. He was so excited about his find. She still held her opinion that it was in fact.. a very ugly doll.
So, from that day on… it was known as “my ugly doll.”
Judge for yourself…. behold.. the “Good Luck Doll”
Since there were no photographs with me and this Good Luck Doll? I’m sure my Momma put it somewhere out of sight.. like a long-lost closet space.
After my parents had separated, time would move forward to us leaving the house in Maryland and moving back to West Virginia. However, the doll wasn’t part of our luggage. The stories would still come up from time to time about that “ugly doll” and Momma had no idea where it had gotten to. She enjoyed telling the story about it more than she missed it.
The Good Luck Doll apparently moved with my Daddy. Little did I know that it was in good hands with one of my cousins. For most of her childhood, the doll was a part of her baby dolls. The funny thing about her stories? She played with the doll a whole lot, not because she loved it so much, but because she said she had always felt so sorry for it because it was so ugly.. and if she didn’t play with it? well, she just felt so bad for it. (She still has that kind of empathetic heart to this very day)
When my own daughter was very young, my Aunt came across the Good Luck Doll once again. She decided to make the poor thing some clothes. Hand crocheted dress, hat and shawl. So much love poured onto that old ugly doll. You just knew she was worth the trouble.
We chuckled so much seeing the doll again.. and of course, we all remarked at just how ugly the doll had remained. Yet, here it was, wrapped in lovingly made clothes, more stories about how it came to be a part of my family. The Good Luck Doll… or “my ugly doll” as it was known.
It had been packed away for almost 10 more years, so when I recently came across it again? I decided that I would use the internet to research. I just wanted to know more about this doll. (okay maybe I just wanted to make sure it wasn’t a “Chucky” protegé!!!!
And so the antics with this doll had escalated so much – it provided a weeks worth of more stories, and more giggles and laughs. Oh how my Daddy would have loved to have known just how many snorting laughs have surrounded this doll over even the last few weeks.
My daughter had taken special care to go over the doll and retrieving all of the markings and numbers and symbols. We were on a mission to find out the history of this doll. After all, it had been clear that it was an unusually ugly doll.
The more I researched? the more hilarious the doll became.
The first thing I noticed was a pair of dolls. A boy and a girl.
Sitting here looking at the adorable dress and bonnet on my ugly doll… I realize that she is in fact a “He”….. (okay the whole image of the doll has taken a really wide turn)
There was really nothing left for me to do except make the phone call. I’m still laughing when I replay the conversation in my head to my cousin.
Me: “Hey, do you remember the ugly doll?”
Her: “Oh yeah, I could never forget that doll”
Me: “Well, do you know that it is actually a BOY doll?”
Her: “What?” then a lot of ………………inaudible laughing … “but Mommy made it a dress?”
Me: “Yes. the dolls’ whole existence has been a LIE!” Aunt Mert had no idea.
Let me tell you… the tears from laughing were epic.
For 49 years this “Good Luck” aka my ugly doll has circulated in my family… I felt it was appropriate to blog about it because it’s future must contain this story. It is so fitting.. mainly because my Daddy was a jokester..and was hilariously funny without trying. I wonder today if he, in fact, knew all along. (giggle)
It would only be fair to reveal the true identity of the Good Luck Doll and a little of its history.
Meet “Stumps Shabby O’Hair” … hang on and let me stop laughing again.. I can barely type…
Vintage W. Goebel Charlot Byj doll #2902 made in Western Germany, 1957. Made of rubber he has bright red hair and wears the original grey checkered shirt and black felt pants with red pockets in front and a green patch on the back. On the front of his shirt he sports the original cloth tag that reads “Western Germany” albeit frayed, it is legible. On the back of his neck it’s marked “2902 – Charlot Byj – © – W. Goebel – 1957”. These same markings are on his back. On his left forearm is a tattoo that shows a four-leaf clover and reads, “Good Luck”. Another obvious mark is the number “02” on the back of both feet. One of the first dolls created by American artist Charlot Byj who passed away in 1983.
copied from Wikipedia
Charlot Byj (pronounced “bye”) was an artist known for her greeting card designs, posters and advertising artwork in the mid-1940s. She is most famous for the transformation of her artwork into a line of figurines created by Goebel.
Living in New York after art school, Charlot ducked into the doorway of a greeting card store during a rainstorm. She admired the greeting card line, noted the name of the publisher, and called the company for an interview. She was hired by the publisher, and began creating illustrations for greeting cards, featuring the impish, redheaded children that became her trademark, namely, Shabby O’Hair, his sister Raggy Muffin, and their plump mother, M’Lady O’Hair.
Franz Goebel, of the W. Goebel Porzellanfabrik company, took a liking to her artwork and invited her to his German production facility. Working with master sculptor Arthur Moeller, they designed the first figurine, entitled “Strike”, in 1957.
Between 1957 and 1988, when the series was discontinued, more than 100 different figurines were created. The line included both redhead and blonde children. The redhead figurines, as they are known, are mischievous characters, whereas the blondes tend to portray more serene characteristics.
Charlot became ill in 1980 and began cutting back on her designing. On August 7, 1983, Charlot died in New York City.
With all of that said…………………long live the Good Luck Doll in my family…
And thanks to Momma and my Aunt and Cousin for the loving preservation of my ugly doll.
and .. thanks Daddy… you have provided laughter once again for your little girl.