Alphonse is my doll; I've had him since I was born. I think of him as the original 'Action Man'; a forerunner of the badly coiffed plastic toys of the late 1960's.
He came from London's prestigious 'Red Cross Ball' in around 1944-ish. My mother won him in a raffle, and I'm very pleased that she kept him (no doubt in case she later had a son).
Alphonse represented a Prisoner of War under the Japanese, and no doubt the money he raised was sent out in the form of aid. He wears a raffia hat, and raffia shoes. His clothing is that of an army Private. Other than that, I know nothing about him. Originally he walked with the aid of a stick which was attached to a metal band around his waist; but that wasn't my scene, and I soon abandoned it.
Being a typical boy, I drew all over his face; some of which won't now come off. However, he's lasted well considering how old he is, although his clothes could probably use a good washing.
Dear Alphonse is a one-off; his uniform was hand made, as were the hat and shoes. There is no other Alphonse. At present he is wearing a Poppy, and is sitting in our bay window until Remembrance Day. I think he'd approve.
We've been together for 75 years, and he hasn't changed one bit. I love him.
Did you name him?ReplyDelete
No, I don't even know if my mother named him. He's always been Alphonse.Delete
Nice. His clothes might disintegrate if washed. It is a wonder they haven't anyway.ReplyDelete
I shan't touch him; he remains as he is.Delete
My goodness ... when was the last time you heard anyone use "shan't" in a sentence?Delete
I never have ... this is the first time for me! A contraction of "shall not!" Love it!
Marcia LaRue, I use "shan't", albeit judiciously. And I am not even English.Delete
I was going to say the same thing Ursula but was unsure where Marcia LaRue comes from but wanted to point out that shan't is in common everyday usage in Britain. Now seeing you have said it I will also say it.Delete
Marcia's comment rather surprised me too; I hadn't thought of it as unusual at all.Delete
I use the word shan't at times. I don't think about it but I suppose you don't hear it often. I must listen.Delete
Not something you hear in the U.S. and definitely not in California or in Colorado! 😏Delete
Maybe so Marcia, but then you do use words such as 'gotten' or 'offentimes'. Never heard in English English.Delete
He’s in pretty good condition for his age ….. you could take him to The Repair Shop …… the teddy bear ladies would sympathetically restore him !!! I bet you are coming across all sorts of things in your Brighton hone. XXXXReplyDelete
I'd need to practice my blubbing in front of the camera. I'm not sure if I could cry on demand. Yes, loads of interesting stuff up in the loft.Delete
If his uniform is removeable, I suggest very gentle hand washing or perhaps dry cleaning to remove any dust it has gathered.ReplyDelete
I don't think I'd dare washing it. A good brushing with a soft brush will probably do. I don't want him to look too new.Delete
He is a beautiful boy and I can fully understand your love for him.I have a teddy bear called Big A.The A sounding like HA because thats what I said as a baby when I had him at 8 months old.He is 66 now and I love him to bits!.He sits in my living room with a fur waist coat on in the Winter and a sun hat in the Summer! I wouldnt try washing your boys clothes.The cotton that holds the outfit together is over 75 years old and would fall apart.I made that mistake washing a Vintage dress many years ago!xxDelete
What a treasure.ReplyDelete
Maybe I should change the name of my page to 'Cro's English Attic'; so much stuff up there that we haven't seen for decades.Delete
When do Alphonse and you appear in the Antique Roadshow?ReplyDelete
You seem to have an extremely good time there in Brighton.
It is more than 2 years now since I have been in the UK.
Such a thing has never happened before since my discovery of Brisish soil in 1968.
I've been away too long, it's lovely re-discovering everything again.Delete
Well done for keeping him so long. I have to say he looks a bit plumper than prisoners of war that I've seen on TV.ReplyDelete
Sue, my thought entirely. I wasn't going to say it. Given my reputation I can't be too careful what I voice. Anyway, didn't want to spoil Cro's joy at the reunion. And who wants to frighten a little child by giving him a near skeleton for a doll?Delete
I presume he was simply a male doll who had an army suit made for him, specially for the raffle.Delete
I think he looks wonderful. I know my husband would love to own him.ReplyDelete
Well, he's not having him!Delete
Oh yes Cro, do give us a tour of Cro's English Attic!ReplyDelete
Lots of paintings up there that I can't get to yet.... all very exciting.Delete
Cro, for a moment (top photo) I thought you were the proud owner of a Kathe Kruse doll of long gone times (the facial features very similar). The old ones now fetch a small fortune.ReplyDelete
Funny with boys and dolls. My brother also defiled one of his sister's with ink. Other than that he was a good dad when cast into the role. And when one of my younger cousins came to stay he took an interest in the apple of my eye. Simone had not only real hair, she also had eyes that could move. Till they didn't because he wanted to understand the mechanism and, accidentally, poked them out (into inside her). Luckily I am not easily spooked. Simone had a one week stay in a toy clinic and returned as good as new. My cousin? I forgave him. He later became an engineer (like his father). Aeroplanes. Plenty to fiddle with.
What a wonderful treasure trove (of real and memories) your attic has turned out to be.
Girls should never let boys anywhere their treasured possessions; they have them in bits at once!Delete
I love this. One of our favorite program is the Antique Roadshow. I'd love to see what they make of Alphonse...and what a blog post THAT would make.ReplyDelete
I'd sure love to see what else you pull out of your attic.ReplyDelete
I don't think he's special enough for the AR. I daren't go up in the attic too often, I never know what I'll find.Delete
It would be fun to see what the folks at AR had to say about your Alphonse! It might surprise you! You should give it a go if you get the opportunity to get on the show.Delete
I actually think you'd be surprised. Not kidding.Delete
The problem with clearing up and going through things, like your attic, is the next step, what do you do with the stuff. We knew someone who deals in this sort of thing and he bid us for the lot. We took it. We had 80 to 100 years of collected 'stuff' at my mother's house most of which hadn't been touched for 60 years. I think Alphonse is a collectors item.ReplyDelete
The only reason why there is stuff up there, is because we considered it all 'valuable'. That's half the problem.Delete
We went through it all, outside sheds full of huge furniture too, and wartime gas masks etc., you name it, it was there. Much of it went for export to the States.Delete
Alphonse's raffia hat looks so cool. Why weren't all soldiers issued with raffia hats instead of those heavy metal helmets they were given? So hot and heavy.ReplyDelete
I don't think those prisoners of the Japanese had such luxurious hats.Delete
"Alphonse" - has he been to France?ReplyDelete
Do you mean to the beaches of Normandy? No, I'm afraid not. He was left behind on other duties.Delete
Alphonse is wonderful. What a one-of-a-kind treasure!ReplyDelete
He's certainly very special for me.Delete
Re-discovering treasured items like Alphonse is a nice trip down memory lane.ReplyDelete
I've actually been looking forward to being re-united with him; I've missed him.Delete
Brought tears to my eyes as my first husband was a prisoner of the Japanese. Why not see if The Repair Shop on BBC1 would take him on to spruce him up a bit.ReplyDelete
I like him as he is. His slight shabbiness is part of his charm.Delete
I am surprused at this talk of the Repair Shop. He looks perfectly good as he is to me.ReplyDelete
Agree, Rachel. As Alphonse clearly hasn't been exposed to much sun over the last few decades he is also wrinkle free. In fine fettle.Delete
Yes, I agree. I would hate to see him looking new again.Delete
Alphonse is quite a treasure! His raffia accessories have stood up particularly well to boyish treatment. The uniform is beautifully made.ReplyDelete
The hat is loose, so it's amazing it's still there. Luckily he's complete.Delete