Graduation Dolls & Dolls for Graduates
Now that it’s mid June, my social calendar is certainly in full bloom. With the weather finally being warmer—and many activities being held outdoors—I finally get the meaning of the term “social butterfly.” Yes, I am really like a butterfly who has emerged from her couch-potato cocoon. Suddenly I am outside for graduation barbecues, graduation lawn parties, graduation deck gatherings, and, of course, the actual graduation ceremonies for middle schoolers and high schoolers. (I don’t have any college grads in my current social coterie.)
The graduates—whether they’re 13 or 18—all seem miraculously young to me. I have to admit that I feel a huge amount of pride and happiness in seeing these onetime little kids who have blossomed into respectful teenagers, as well as young men and women. But I also feel tinges of jealousy. They have their whole lives ahead of them, and I wish I could say the same for me!
Graduation is always couched as the completion of an education. It’s the end of a school career. But look at the doors it is swinging open. For some of the younger grads, the ceremony is simply a bridge to another learning stepping-stone. They have another institution of learning right around the river bend. (In my head, I heard Pocahontas from the Disney movie belting out that really stirring song.) For college grads, it’s the threshold of a brand-new career and identity. Oh, how I do envy them! I think my only shot at a new identity is if I get absorbed into the Witness Protection Program.
As I’ve been attending these ceremonies, I try to mix up the gift-giving. For many folks, cash is still king and queen. They want greenbacks to help chase away the summertime blues. For others, a card and a sentimental or sweet present is the way to commemorate their grand achievement.
Dollmakers have long understood the importance of donning that cap and gown, and a whole auditorium’s worth of these dolls has been manufactured over the decades. It’s interesting to see how the grads have been sculpted and garbed. Many are rather spot-on depictions of rosy-cheeked, well-scrubbed teenage faces. But then there are the rather amusing, outlandish ones: the Troll with the unmanageable hair springs to mind. You have to hope he/she didn’t get a degree from cosmetology school. Another quirky one is the Kewpie doll, who is clad in serious black robes and cap. Did he get his bachelor’s degree in adorability? It’s quite plausible.
In addition to the “Pomp and Circumstance” musical theme that dramatically plays at most graduations as the students slowly file down the aisles, another omnipresent theme has been emerging of late. Dr. Seuss’s “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” is a cheerleading send-off for all graduates. It gives heartfelt, rhyming advice and inspires students whether they are moving from pre-K to kindergarten or high school to college.
As a matter of fact, the seemingly nonsensical alliterations and whimsical text are so inspirational, it could be recited at job promotion parties, bon voyage farewells, and, heck, even retirement gatherings.
So, even though I got my bachelor’s degree too many moons ago, I’m going to take a page from the humorous and earnest doctor’s advice book:
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go . . .
You’re off to great places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So . . . get on your way!”
Congratulations to graduates and their families everywhere! May your journeys be filled with wisdom and whimsy. After all, being bright without a bright disposition and bright smile won’t get you anywhere. Oh, the places you’ll go!