When I see crowded pools, I always think that such a photo could never have been taken when I was a child in the 1940s in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, because all our mothers forbade us to gather in groups for fear of catching polio -- especially in a pool.
For those of us who became parents in the 1990s, there are things that we experienced that young parents of today will never understand. Like how devastating it could be when a VCR tape broke. Or when a roll of film was over-exposed and none of the pictures from your kid's birthday party came out.
American Girls, as spunky and courageous as they might have been in the plots of their books, were hardly radical. Their characters often came from privilege and learned about the "other" -- Native American friend, child laborer -- through some sort of friendly contact.
The beautiful outfits and fun (overpriced) accessories featured in the American Girl catalogs were part of what drew most of us to these dolls. But it's the stories and the bravery of the characters that stayed with us after we stopped wanting to dress up like them.