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How Betsy McCall Helped Me Try New Things...


Being an only child can be tough.

I know people with siblings will heartily debate that fact, but there is an inherent aloneness which comes from growing up and having no sister or brother to help you find your way.

That was my case.

Yes, I had loving parents, but they were far older than they should have been when they had me.

Yes, my parent’s social circle had couples who brought along their children, and I played with them. My childhood social circle was built-in, as one might say, and it wasn’t until we moved away that I found I had to make my own friends and be courageous in everything I did, for that built-in security blanket of watching others go before me was gone.

Enter the Betsy McCall children’s books and my own guiding light.

Although to meet me you would not classify my character as being shy, but I was, and am, shy when it came, comes, to trying new things or meeting new people. That “only child syndrome” has never totally disappeared.

Back then, while at home, in the safety of my bedroom, I would pick up a Betsy McCall book and read about her wonderful adventures and how she welcomed in the New with open arms, grace and complete positivity.

Betsy would visit the seashore, her uncle’s farm... 

And with her paper cut out doll and her many outfits, you could take her on your own childhood adventures, being a little less scared.

Then as now, in times of apprehension or plain old fear, I will think back to that little girl with the bob cut coif who smiled so sweetly, and ask…

What would Betsy do?

Maybe humans never really grow up. Sure, we must do adult things. We have adult responsibilities. But maybe it’s an idea or inspiration from our childhood which helps us through those “adulting” times.

Is it so terrible to ask an imaginary character for advice when maybe it might be the best advice going?

Be positive, Barbie. Be courageous. Do new things. Expect the best from people. Mind your manners, and always, always care.

I miss Betsy.

I miss her caring ways and her cheerful outlook and how she viewed the Unknown with gleaming adventurous eyes.

Covid, Ukraine War, Fuel Crisis, Climate Change, Inflation… what would Betsy do?

Famine, Unemployment, Job Insecurity, Food Insecurity… what would Betsy do?

Yes, Betsy is as close to my heart today as she ever was, and although her voice has grown dim, her attitude still soars, and I feel her within me… when times are tough or downright scary, and I need that helping hand.

Maybe life is cyclical. Maybe what goes around, indeed returns, or never really leaves us at all.

Today, I will ask Betsy what she would do to make the world a brighter place.

She will know, and I will feel better and more courageous, and I will smile when I must do those hard-to-do adulting things.

For to be any other way, Betsy would frown, and the adult in me couldn’t abide that.