My love of dolls is a gift given to me by the two most important people in my life, my mom and my husband.

Mom began my doll collecting when I was only five. Most were 50s hard plastics, (I didn't know their names then) a few compositions, and lots of bisque and hard plastic storybook dolls. Though I had lots of “play dolls,” the really special dolls were kept in an antique cabinet and remained in mint condition.

When I went off to college and had “outgrown” my dolls, Mom carefully packed them away, knowing that one day I would want them back again. And so right she was.

When I unpacked them and again carefully arranged them in that same antique cabinet, I began researching who they were. I discovered I had Madame Alexander composition dolls, Toni, Sweet Sue and Arranbee hard plastics and lots of Nancy Ann Storybooks, along with an assortment of dolls collected on vacations and from friends in foreign lands.

For years, I was the envy of all my friends who lamented that their moms had gotten rid of their dolls so many years ago. Then, in 1992 we had a house fire - all my dolls were destroyed and all that remained of the doll my Great Grandmother received at the age of 10 in 1882 was her head which was in many pieces.

As I searched antique shops and doll shows, I was always disappointed at the prices and the quality of the HPs and composition dolls I found, and thought I would never have dolls again.

Then my wonderful husband, Pete, stepped in. A few years after the fire, for my 50th birthday, he gave me a new display cabinet and said, “You're a doll lover - you should have dolls again.” (And who is going to argue when your husband is telling you to buy dolls?)

Though I still couldn’t find any HPs I liked, Pete discovered the world of Lencis and I had dolls once more. Then I was introduced to eBay and found so many dolls that were not only beautiful, but also affordable and with the sage advice of many new friends from eBay’s Doll Chat, I have now rebuilt my collection completely, even expanding into a third doll cabinet.

In addition to collecting dolls, my Mom taught me to sew at a very young age. As she sewed for my brother and me, I would make little dolly clothes from the fabric scraps.

Mom recently gave me our family christening dress - she said she would much rather see it on a doll than have it stored in a closet. Originally made for my Dad by his great aunt in 1916, it has since been worn by their four children (my three brothers and I) their six grand children and four great grand children. It now graces a 1930s composition baby doll pictured here with Mom and a Patti Play Pal wearing my First Communion dress Mom made for me in 1951.

To introduce my two nieces to dolls other than Barbie, for Christmas, I gave each of them a doll case and two HPs complete with wardrobe. I hope they have as much fun playing with them as I did making their new clothes & getting them ready to go to their new homes.

I also hope, in the years to come, they continue to cherish the family heirlooms and love of dolls that I have been blessed with. I know that the greatest joy in my doll story is that the remains of my great-grandmother’s doll was able to be restored and that my Dad’s christening dress, my First Communion dress and a prettly little smocked outfit my Mom had made for me when I was six months old were still in Mom’s loving care at the time of our fire.

How truly blest I am!

Thank you for letting me share my dolls and story with you.