The word is out that I love old linens, ivory ones with tattered lace trims. My friend Toni was packing to move south and let me know that she was collecting for me. I knew that she was going through family trunks and paring down, but I had no idea that the box would be so big.
Or that it would come with attendants.
Toni left a note inside that explained that the doll belonged to her husband's mother and that no one really knew what to do with her now. She was still loved, but it was time to find a better home for her. Of course, it was easy to think of me I guess, though dolls aren't really my thing. Ah, the responsibility to our treasures.
She was in beautiful condition with a sizable wardrobe, a darling pony friend and a few accessories- including a really wild wig (which I am not sharing because it was kind of a fright-night thing and I think it takes away from her dignity).
I knew right away that the doll should go to Joan, my 89 year old neighbor who collects and repairs old dolls. Known as the regional expert on doll collecting and history, she is one of those remarkable women who still uses every home-life skill she learned as a girl. Cooking, gardening, sewing, hobbying, home-keeping and volunteering keep her busy from dawn to dusk. Visiting Joan in the house she grew up in is like stepping into a vintage 1930's how-to book. She's caning a chair or canning her tomatoes or cutting patterns for a new doll dress. Joan has shared her remnants with me too.
I did some online research and found out what I could about the doll. When I described her to Joan, she said she'd like to meet her. Yes, meet her.
I packed up her things and took her over to Joan for a look-see (or an interview). She asked me what her name was and I was sorry I didn't know. After pointing out that the pony was not really the doll's vintage, Joan was quiet for a few minutes and then matter-of-factly said she'd see what she could do with her. We were both taking things up to the church sale that week and thought maybe the doll could go there after a little primping. Joan said she might like to keep her and would make a donation to the church if she did.
A week later I had a lovely message from Joan letting me know that the doll was fully restored. She went on to say that she had named her Alice after the doll she'd had as a child. One that had been greatly loved and sadly lost. One that was nearly identical to this.
Isn't it wonderful that Alice found her way to the right home, to the right hands and heart?
I let Toni know the whole story. Everyone is happy- perhaps Alice, most of all.