I was thinking about apple-head dolls the other day. It IS apple season, after all, so don’t you think of apple-head dolls every year? No? Really? Look on Pinterest, I bet there’s a hundred pages of them.
So what’s an apple-head doll? Well back in colonial and early American and Laura Ingalls’s time, little girls would take a spare apple, peel it, carve a face into it, and then hang it in a warm, dry place, like an attic, for a month or so until it dehydrated and shriveled and shrunk up (and hopefully didn’t go all moldy). When it was fully dried up, it would uncannily resemble a wrinkly old person’s face, usually a woman’s face, as the men tended to drop dead in the fields at 50 but the women back then lived to be at least 60 and would be apple-doll-faced wrinkly and shriveled up by then because sunscreen.
Then they’d take these apple heads, and stick them on a body of two sticks lashed together, like jesus on the cross, and then if they were really crafty, upholster the sticks with rags to form a body shape and then if they were REALLY crafty, or just bored out of their gourds, since radio wouldn’t be invented for another 75 years, they’d sew little dresses for the dolls too. And then they’d have hours and hours of long, cold, wintertime fun, playing with the 19th century version of Barbie, unless the rats got to her and ate her face off. Life was a little more…. “raw” back then, wouldn’t you agree?
So myself, being a big fan of all things colonial and early American and laura ingalls, due to living in a colonial era town and participating in Bicentennial festivities where we all dressed up and reenacted crafts and activities from the era, like rolling big hoops with sticks and playing with dried fruit, made many an apple-headed doll in my youth. I just liked the way the apples dried up and turned into faces, all shrively and crinkled. You could really exaggerate the features by carving them deeply and then as they dried the chin and nose would really pop and droop, like a witch’s face. Being only 8 or 9, I had the smugness of a smooth-faced child, and never gave a thought to the fact that I too, one day, would start to see my once-flawlessly unwrinkled face, start to give way and resemble an old Cortland, left for dead in the attic.
But it’s happening. My rosy apple cheeks of youth are starting to fade and I see lines forming across my forehead and little crinkles around my eyes, and I know my appleheaded days are upon me. It’s ok, I can deal with it. I look pretty good for my age, mostly because I never had kids, which ages you worse than smoking two packs of camels a day, but now that I’m acting and am a “lifestyle” model (yeah, really, I know…) I’m getting more calls to audition for menopause drug ads and a lot fewer calls for I don’t know…cool apps? But I really don’t want to linger on the subject. We all get old. We all age, you can accept it or look like Meg Ryan and then you die anyway, so…The end.
Oh and also, Foodiness™ does cause wrinkles, we’ll discuss that too, on today’s show.