Shelved Dolls: Kay Thompson – The Real Eloise

kay thompson eloise funny face

I often tell people it would take a tidal wave to get me out of New York. I mean – when prompted – not just at random. When people say, “Do you think I should make pancakes with smiley faces on them for breakfast”, I do not reply “Goddamn, it would take a tidal wave to get me off the island of Manhattan!” I mean, I could, but they would think I had suffered a psychotic break. And then I would not get smiley face pancakes – or maybe I would receive an inordinate number.

Maybe the pancakes would look like this:

sad pancakes

So, as I am writing this, New York is being hit by an 11 foot wall of water. I imagine when I wake up in the morning my neighborhood will look like something out of The Day After Tomorrow. I have always wondered why people did not just locate submarines and survive the tidal wave in that movie. It turns out it’s because submarines are really hard to find! At no point in today’s in-depth coverage did NY1 direct me to a place where I could acquire a submarine.

I don’t know why NY1 wants us to die. I guess because New Yorkers really only watch that channel when there is some sort of tidal wave approaching – otherwise one of its main features is someone literally reading the headlines from the newspaper - and the newscasters probably hate us.

So I mostly just sat in my apartment, which is in no way, shape or form a submarine, and thought about when I decided that  New York City was the kind of place worth going down in a tidal wave.

It all probably started, as it does for so many people, with Eloise.

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    • Nancy

      Wow, I loved her on Funny Face but I had no idea who she was until now! And it really is so inspiring to read about people who reach their dreams AFTER their 20s, definitely.

    • JennyWren

      Kay Thompson may be the only redeeming feature of Funny Face. Almost everything about that movie sucks except her.

    • Candace

      OMG THIS IS THE MOST MINDBLOWING THING IVE EVER READ. how did I not know the Think Pink Lady wrote Eloise?! My whole childhood feels different now.

      This makes me so happy.

    • Sarah

      My mum and aunt grew up idolizing Eloise, and it’s been passed down to my sister and me (down to our childhood pet turtle, Skipperdee). Though none of us fit into that reader profile whatsoever, I think we all have a little bit of the crazy Kay Thompson seemed to possess.

      Thank you for this post!

      PS-Has anyone stayed in the Eloise Suite @ the Plaza? Worth the insane price tag or no?

      • Jennifer Wright

        I am dying to. Like to an extent that I reference Eloise constantly in the hopes that someone will be like “I will treat you to a night in the Eloise suite.” I’ve been doing this for two years and it hasn’t worked yet, but I will keep you updated.

    • Nat

      I love this series and I love this one especially. Is it bad I’ve learned more about interesting ladies in history through the Shelved Dolls than through actual history classes?

    • AmbienceChaser

      I am really very bothered that I never read Eloise as a child. I did not learn about Eloise until I was 26. (I probably was not allowed near Eloise for the same reason I was given 600 books about not being bossy. And seriously, what’s with those? Does Little Miss Bossy even have a name anymore after she’s “cured”?)

    • fionarocks

      Thank you so much for this one :) I’m such a huge Eloise fan (Jennifer, you need the special edition compilation of all the books) and you write beautifully. Everyone’s said it, but you need a book deal stat. Also, how awesome of a godmother Kay must have been. I would love to hear Liza’s stories about her.