The Smell of Trolls

Do you remember Troll dolls? They were a toy fad in the 1960’s. Everyone was crazy about them, collecting, accessorizing, trading them. It seemed to me at the time that they were about the most amazing thing ever devised by man. I bought my first one at the five and dime in the nearby shopping center (modern day strip mall), Woolworth’s I think. A naked, pink skinned small plastic doll with big eyes, a broad grin and a big headful of wild, colorful hair.

It was about that time my mother had begun to teach me how to sew. First with a simple needle and thread and then she sat me down at the electric Necchi sewing machine. The Necchi was a beautiful battleship grey-green machine, heavy too. I’d watch my mom sit and sew clothes and drapes and such seemingly making something from nothing, from fabric and thread to a shirt that I could wear to school. It amazed me, the skill that she had to make things this way. Mom sat me on a phone book in front of the machine, stacked more books on the floor so my foot could reach the pedal and instructed me how to run the thread through the proper path to the needle and fill the bobbin then set the machine to begin sewing fabric pieces together.

Back to Troll dolls. If you recollect, as soon as the little toy became a hit, accessories soon followed, hats and coats and shirts and vests for the little dolls. I began to design miniature clothes patterns and then traced the patterns onto pieces of felt or broadcloth, cut them out and stitched them on the Necchi. A vest was just one piece of felt with two holes cut for the arms. A shirt was five pieces, fronts right and left, back, and tiny sleeves. A single button and buttonhole on the front.

One of the things I remember most about the little Trolls was the smell. A brand new Troll had an unmistakable aroma of freshly molded plastic. A fragrance that still to this day when catching a waft of that particular scent takes me back to those silly happy times. None of the wardrobes for my Troll dolls are around any longer, neither doll nor clothes on their backs. But not long ago I picked up a small replica Troll doll at CVS. I sat mesmerized by the look on its face, trying to remember long forgotten things.

Oh, how I love the smell of Trolls.