When I wrote about the studio update the other day, I included a photo of my beloved dolls.
My mom’s Shirley Temple doll on the left, Tressa in the middle, and Emma on the right. I also said that both Tressa and Emma had a story; more specifically, a rescue story. One of you asked me to share those stories. It’s my pleasure.
Tressa’s story: In 2008, my friend Heidi and I were on an antiquing jaunt. Heidi was looking for things for the shop. One of the rooms in her store was called “The Baby Room” and it was filled with all sorts of wonderful vintage toys and books for children. Heidi spotted this doll and grabbed her, thinking she would be perfect to display in the baby room. We both fell in love with her.
When Heidi took her up to the checkout, she was told that the doll had two left feet. What? Sure enough, upon closer examination, we did indeed confirm that she had two left feet. Dolls were often repaired with replacement parts and that’s what happened with her leg. We were told that doll collectors would pass on a doll like this one, that a collector didn’t want a doll with two left feet.
Well, this only made Heidi and I love her more. She was so exquisitely done, her smile was so sweet, her satin dress and bonnet so beautifully made, that we knew she had to go home to Heidi’s shop. She’s a large doll and one can hold her just like a baby. We often did.
There she is, on display in the shop. Every time I worked there, I would pick her up and hold her. I was in love.
At the beginning of 2009, I went to San Diego for a six month long job at the Old Globe/University of San Diego. I never forgot about that sweet doll. Would someone buy her while I was away? When I came home on a break in April, she was still there. I scooped her up and held her. As I was about to go back to San Diego, I realized that I couldn’t let anyone else have her. So I called Heidi and asked her to hang on to her until I returned home in July. She marked her ‘Sold’ and Tressa came to live with me that July.
She’s named Tressa after one of my great-aunts. Meredith suggested it because we’ve always loved that name. It suits her, don’t you think?
Emma’s story: In 2010, Don and I were exploring an antique center (the same one where we found our lamps.) As I turned the corner into the first booth, I saw her. She was tiny. She had a beautiful face. Her dress was lovely, as was her bonnet. She looked lonely in her chair. I picked her up and looked more closely.
There was damage to her legs and some crazing on her limbs. But her socks, her shoes, her dress, her bonnet, her face – they were simply lovely. The damage? Who cares? It just made her more beautiful in my eyes. But, I sadly put her back. I couldn’t afford her.
I went back to that shop two more times over the course of the next few months.
She was still there. In the same place. In the same chair.
No one wanted her.
But, I had to stick to my budget and besides, I was about to go out to San Diego – again – to do some coaching and I would be gone for about 10 weeks.
I went to San Diego. I couldn’t get her out of my mind.
Now, I am not a doll collector. But I did love dolls when I was a little girl. And I had a Tiny Tears doll that I especially loved, given to me in the waning days of my girlhood. My grandmother made all of her clothes. She had a pink corduroy hat and coat. Somehow she was given away by my mother in the course of moving and it broke my heart. I still think of her to this day and wish I could find her.
This little doll reminded me of my lost doll.
I couldn’t bear to think of her sitting there, once loved, now forgotten and lonely. Does that make me a bit loopy? Probably. I can’t help it.
One day while I was sitting in my apartment, I googled the Antique Center and sent an email to the manager. It said: “I saw this doll when I was in your shop – if you turn to the right when you walk in the front door, she is in the first booth. She’s wearing a pink dress and a bonnet and she looks sort of like Tiny Tears. Is she still there?”
The next day I received an answer from the manager, who knew exactly what I was talking about and yes, she was still there.
The price had been reduced.
I called the next day, bought her and asked the manager if he could hang onto her for the next six weeks until I was home again.
He said yes.
And six weeks later, Don and I went to pick her up. She has a home now. And friends to play with – Shirley and Tressa.
I’m a rescuer. All of my dogs have been rescues. So why not these two dolls? They needed a home. They needed to be loved once again. And they are.