Gotta Read Those Old Headlines Carefully!

My friend and professor Clare Goldfarb published a beautiful piece in Lilith that involves two of my favorite topics: memory and family history. If you recall, I reviewed her novel She Blinked here. You can read “Material Culture: The Samovar” here. I love how it focuses on an object to talk about family and history. Just gorgeous.

That would make a good writing prompt: write about a family heirloom.

I’m working on the Flash Essay course I’m taking right now, but in my research for essay #2, I found this interesting newspaper article from July 9, 1920. Look below the lake commerce article for that tiny article that begins “Seven Babies.”

When I first read this report, I took it at its word: that there were seven babies that had been killed or kidnaped.  They even clarified in the headline, although they tried to disguise it. I can just hear the argument.

“You can’t leave it so readers think these were real babies.”

“But it makes for better newspaper sales!”

“Put Kewpies in the headline!”

Grumble grumble. I’ll put it in, but in a way that fast readers won’t pay attention and will still think it’s 7 dead babies.


Haha. Is that all this woman can write about: dolls, cats, and birds?!

Speaking as a doll collector, I can tell you that Kewpies are very popular collector items, and I think this stash of 1920 dolls would be a hit today with the right person.  You can click through the following photo to the blogger who posted about her aunt’s kewpie collection a few years ago. It’s full of cute Kewpie photos, and, yes, you can find a real baby in the mix (though not in this exact photo)!

Today is my BIG birthday. I turn 60 today. I still feel like a smidgling (my made-up word for a wee one), but there it is: 60. That’s a whole lotta numbers!



Filed under #AmWriting, Dolls, Essay, Inspiration, Memoir, Research and prep for writing, Vintage American culture, Writing, Writing prompt

25 responses to “Gotta Read Those Old Headlines Carefully!

  1. Happy Birthday, Luanne! Enjoy your special day! Okay, the doll photo is freaking me out a bit. 🙂

  2. Happy birthday! And I’m with Jill – those dolls are creepy.

  3. Very creepy. Can’t believe they were popular with children.

  4. Luanne…I am not so far behind you. Happiest of birthdays to you 🙂

  5. Happy birthday! I’m closing in on that number soon enough.

  6. First off, Happy Birthday! And second off, thanks for teaching me something new. Until your blog post, I had no idea what a Kewpie was. 🙂

  7. Happy birthday! 60 is still young, so embrace it! I loved your article as well as the one from 1922 and the kewpies photo.

  8. Happy 60 years young! Have a wonderful day, Luanne, and enjoy being on this side of the grass.

  9. Happy BIG birthday to a woman who still likes dolls. I remember winning Kewpie dolls on the midway of fall fairs and always being disappointed that I didn’t get the big stuffed Dumbo. Who knew they would be collectibles?!

  10. never new. Just emailed my sisters the image of LittleFatso’s relatives. Thank you for the family name to search. Never knew what race she was or how to find a picture or how to describe. The writing idea is fun and descriptive and I like it. Not sure I’ll ever read carfully. Happy birthday Luanne

  11. Happy birthday! I have been avoiding borrowing from the library, while I catch up on reading the wonders awaiting on my shelves, but I could resist a new book by Dr. Christiane Northrup, who’s been (through her books), my woman’s health guru throughout the years. She is a tad older than we are (I’m two weeks 60…), but has a lovely perspective on aging well. The book is Goddesses Never Age…Happy birthday and here’s to this next decade of adventure!

  12. Hope it was a good one

  13. Happy Birthday, Luanne! I remember I got a kewpie doll at the fair when I was very young. I thought it was the best thing ever until Barbie came along 😀

  14. Happy Birthday, Luanne! I hope you’re having a fun day–with chocolate (if you like it as I do), kitties, and celebration! I’ll be 60 soon, too.
    I agree with some of the above comments that the doll photo is creepy. 🙂

  15. Happy birthday my friend! And wishes for a great memorable birthday week!

  16. Happy birthday, young lady! Enjoyed the post about those “babies” found under a log. 😊

  17. Happy Birthday ! My sisters and I had kewpie dolls when we were little. Love the picture.

  18. Belated happy birthday! I hope the day was lovely for you, and that the coming year will bring amazing people and wonderful things into your life. 🙂

  19. Hope you had a wonderful birthday Luanne. Those babies would be worth a bit of money these days.

  20. Happy Belated Birthday Luanne! (You have the same birthday as my older son.)

  21. Luanne, I thought I had wished you a Happy Birthday, but maybe I dreamed that…at any rate, welcome to Club 60 – it’s an exclusive group! The Red Man and all of us at Casa de Canterbury wish you every happiness! Take good care of yourself!!

  22. Happy Birthday! The ones that end in ‘0’ are often the hardest to get through, but sometimes they kickstart decades that are especially meaningful. Hope this is true for you.

  23. Happy birthday All Year Long, Luanne! 》°○ *☆♡《 You are way too young looking to have to claim your age:)
    I have always felt Kewpie’s were cute. I liked the predecessors of German bisque Kewpie dolls. Sweet. We have dolls, sewing, creative thinking and Lake memories between us.