Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


May 5, 2014

Dolls on parade at Pleasant Hill’s Fletcher House

CROSSVILLE — Oh, you beautiful dolls! Doll (and house) lovers exhibited a wide diversity of special dolls they have collected over the years. The Parade of Dolls Show, held in April, lined up in Adshead Hall of Fletcher House. Dorothy Faunce arranged for the exhibit with the help of Pat Robbennolt, JoAnn Albright and other Uplands Village residents and staff. The Faunce grandchildren look-alike dolls in front of their photographs greeted the people as they stepped off of the elevator.

In advance publicity, Faunce wrote, “Excitement is mounting. Barbie is checking her stiletto heels, Japanese dolls are practicing their bows, the Irish women are tidying up their domestic skills, the Hippie family is practicing its moves, while the Madame Alexander coterie are watching in aloof dignity and the Faunce ‘grands’ are practicing holding their sign.”

At a reception with refreshments, several of the owners explained the origin and special meanings of their treasures. Rose Hermonat’s love of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women series sparked Rose’s precious collection of the character dolls. Madame Alexander was one of the first doll producers to make dolls based on licensed characters from books and movies. She also was one of the first to make dolls with eyes that opened and closed. Vintage Madame Alexander dolls are not only collectible, but valuable. Rose also displayed a 1942 Judy Doll in a Victorian buggy that she had since she was two years old. Kellie Dodson, Fletcher House manager, displayed any little girl’s dream collection of Barbie dolls in mint condition and a Marie Osmond and other movie star look-alikes.

When Marvin Albright did a pastoral exchange in Ireland in 1985, JoAnn Albright became interested in the cottage industry that produced Molly dolls handmade in homes. They wore homespun clothing and demonstrated household skills. This led to JoAnn’s collecting of them on subsequent visits. She also showed a Sonja Henie (Norwegian figure skater and film star) complete with ice skates and skis. When Pat Robbennolt and her late husband became pastors at a UCC church in Pasadena, CA; the ladies presented her with a “Little Old Lady from Pasadena” doll handmade from old stockings (inspired by the song of the same name). After several years of ministry there, she was again gifted with another “Little Old Lady” when they left.

The highlight of the Doll Parade was a display by artist and writer, Estelle Worrell of her doll books. Some were paper book dolls, dolls in historic costumes (20 years in print), The Dollhouse Book, Be a Puppeteer, etc. She meticulously painted dolls’ faces and created their clothing. One of her magnificent three-story dollhouses with intricate hand crafted furniture and fixtures was a wonder. Mary Alice Shepard brought the tiny dolls that she smuggled out of Japan in a matchbox when her family was forced to evacuate the country in 1939.

Herbie Naumann showed the Herbie doll from the Smitty Comic Strip from whence came her nickname for Helen (since there were three Helens in the household). Her granddaughter crafted a soft sculpture of a Sumo wrestler doll because of Herbie’s fascination with the sport when she lived in Japan. Both Margaret Weirich and Lois Brater carefully displayed their 100-year-old dolls. Some of Jeri Abbott’s dolls came from Zimbabwe. Beth Knight had a Belgium Bobbin Lacemaker doll from her stint as a foreign exchange student as well as African American dolls made by her and others for her adopted daughter.

Rebecca Kilmer showed the “doll that gets well” complete with crutches, leg and arm casts, glasses, bandages and spots for measles. It was given to her after her tonsillectomy by her grandmother. Jan Landis displayed her hand turned and painted Japanese dolls with Lady Vols’ hats. Don Inglis exhibited the biblical finger puppets that he constructed for children’s sermons. Grace Inglis’ Victorian dolls were elegant. Peg Muenstermann showed several handmade dolls. There were numerous Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls in interesting reincarnations. Faunce noted that the show contained 160 dolls contributed by 21 people.

This week in Pleasant Hill:

Friday and Saturday, May 9 and 10 — Uplands board of directors annual meeting. Board meets in Adshead Hall of Fletcher House. Friday at 11:30 a.m., All-Vilage Cookout at Heritage Hall; 7 p.m., Joyful Jubilee Concert video in Adshead Hall; Saturday at 3 p.m., dedication of Wharton Donor Plaques at Wharton Homes; 3:30 p.m., Wellness and Aquatic Center Groundbreaking at Center site; and 4 p.m., refreshments in front of Wharton Homes.

Saturday, May 10 — Gospel music at The Garden. The Jenkins Family, 4 p.m.; dinner, 5 p.m.; and Benny Berry, 6 p.m.

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