Suzanne Herrington

I grew up on a farm in Mississippi and really had no time to play with dolls. I had a few but I enjoyed being in the field and the woods.

When I grew up I had a son and a daughter. They took up most of my time. I wanted my daughter Elizabeth to love dolls and things, but she took after me and found interest in other things. The children grew up and went their own way. My husband and I started working the flea markets just to get out of the house.

One day I was walking around and came to a table with alot of different things on it. There at the back of the table sat a large doll that tugged at my heart strings.. I do not know what came over me but I knew I had to have her. The lady said she wanted $15 for her and I gladly paid the lady. I had no idea I had just bought a Patty Play Pal. When I walked back to our booth my husband though I had someone's child with me. It was right after Christmas and I named her Angel.

I did not know she would bring a new world into my life.

I bought her new clothes and gave her the very best place in our living room to stand. But she did not stand alone for long. As the years passed I added so many dolls to my living room, my husband threatened to leave me if I brought one more home.

Then in August 2005 my world changed forever...

My birthday was in September and my husband got me a doll as an early gift. I named her Katrina. I only had her for three days. We lived in Bay St Louis, Mississippi, and hurricane Katrina was heading our way. We packed a few things and headed for safety. We had left for storms before, and felt no different this time. We figured we would have a few tree limbs to clean up but nothing worse. Were we wrong?

After two weeks we were allowed to go back home. But there was no home to go back to. When I saw what was left of our home, I knew my dolls were gone. My husband tried to find some of them. He did find a few, but they were beyond saving. I found one of my dolls in a tree in our back yard. But I never found Katrina or Angel.

We went by the house on Christmas day, and the city had cleared the house. All that is left is the slab. Someone found one of my dolls and sat her on the slab. I left her there. It was like looking at a grave.

We live in Alabama now and I have one large doll - but never again will I have as many as I had before. It hurt so bad to lose my dolls but I will always remember Angel, and how she showed me the beautiful world of doll collecting.