The Doll Lady had a storefront business selling and repairing dolls, but a few years ago she moved her dolls into her house and closed her store. Now her living room is heavily populated with dolls and headless doll torsos. Even her kitchen has curio cabinets stocked with dolls.
Last September I dropped off my grandmother’s German Kestner doll for The Doll Lady to repair the holes in her kid (a type of leather) body where sawdust was coming out. She said she could re-set her wig, as well. That was, as I said, September.
I started getting anxious by February. I began to request to pick up my doll every couple of weeks, but The Doll Lady couldn’t seem to understand why I wanted her back now, finished or not. When my dad’s illness was diagnosed as terminal I became even more agitated that I might never get my doll back.
She had been my dad’s mother’s doll for decades–and my father gave her to me several years ago, as well as some clothing my grandmother had made for her. I’d admired her for much of my life, and it was thrilling to receive her, another link between my grandmother, my father, and me.
I wrote before about my grandmother’s doll and her beautiful clothes here. When I left her with The Doll Lady, I left her without clothing so that they wouldn’t get damaged. Finally, I was able to retrieve my doll on Sunday. Here she is with her new ringlets and same vintage steel hairpins. And the patches below her knees. What a beauty.
And here is the “reverse” view:
This doll is over 100 years ago. She might be from the 1890s.
As I waited in the living room of The Doll Lady for the paperwork to be completed I looking around and wondered how her husband enjoys living amongst all those dolls. I know that some people don’t even like to stay in my guest room where I keep my dolls because they don’t like all those eyes upon them. But how would it be to live right in the midst of the dolls?
Does her identity slip away or does she feel like a Doll God?