Of all the vintage finds I've come across, the most appealing to me are the lovely old dolls. Nearly every sale I attend whether it be a yard, garage, estate, or expo, I've found at least one doll that's caught my eye. A few years ago while hunting for finds at one of our community sales I stopped at one in which the sale consisted of vintage dolls. Old dolls from the turn of the century, some creepy, some not.
Perhaps the most intriguing and creepy thing about this sale was the person having it. It wasn't the young doll collecting gal, nor was the the elderly grandma, but a man in his 90's. Not your average doll collector by any means. He stood all of 5 feet tall, hunched over, scuffy 5 oclock shadowed face and piercing blue eyes. His face appeared weather worn and he was slightly hunched over. At first glance most would not acknowledge his presence and most never said a word to him. He just milled about moving and arranging his dolls. He had somewhere in the neighborhood of 75-100 dolls displayed. I was so intrigued and just knew he was the collector, he was the one who amassed this collection. I walked over to him and introduced myself and asked if he were the collector of this vast array of beautiful antique dolls. He reached out with both hands and grabbed mine all the while looking up at me grinning. I gotta tell ya, was quite an experience. He had a soft crackling voice and began to tell me how heartbroken he was to have to sell his collection and how long he had been collecting the dolls. We walked and looked and with each doll that struck my interest he told a story of how and where he'd found it. One doll in particular struck my fancy.
A medium sized German made doll from the thirties that had the appearance of a little boy, but was in fact a girl doll. She wore a knee length white dress that was well aged and somewhat yellowed but fit her well. She had a tattered pair of shoes with the front tips well worn from what appeared to have happened from being drug around by a child. It was a composition style doll but had not been cared for well and was not exposed to light and humidity that faded and cracked her face. The thing that truly captivated me was her expression. I'd never seen a doll with such a face. He told right out of the gate that the doll was not my "type". I looked at him with that look you give to one that says "say what?", but I just smiled and walked around looking at the other dolls. A few minutes later I walked back over to the doll and asked what the price was and again he said that the doll was not my type. This time I chuckled and told him she was meant for me as I had an attraction to her and she stood out amongst all the others. We negotiated a price and home she came.
This lil gem was to be the pride of my doll collection as I just adored her and thought how sad it must be for a doll to have been made with such a face and that no child would have wanted to love her? I placed her on the mantel of our fireplace temporarily until I found a doll case to put her in. That evening I got ready for bed and when I went into the room the doll was sitting on my nightstand. I thought, now why would my wife put her there? I walked over to the bathroom where the wife was preparing herself for bed and I asked her, what she thought she was doing? She looks at me with that look and states "what?" I said funny placing the doll on my nightstand. She said "I did nothing of the sort and laughed". Well the laugh told me yes, she thought she was being cute. I thought nothing of it and got into bed. She comes in a couple minutes later and looks over at the nightstand, then me and starts laughing again and say's "you gotta be kidding me". We laughed, turned out the light and went to sleep. I'd left her on the nightstand for well over a week with no incident.
One day while hurriedly cleaning I took the doll back over to the mantel and placed her back on it. Finished up and hurried out the door. Was a pretty busy day, hectic, and stressful. Well I got home, unpacked groceries and went through the normal paces. Went to the washroom to get the clothes I'd packed that morning to distribute to the dressers. I walked into the room and much to my surprise, dolly was sitting on my nightstand. I thought??? I know I'd put her on the mantel, but was I thinking to do so and forgot? I asked the wife if she'd done such and as usual she laughed at me and said "you're freakin yourself out". I thought, "no, you're trying to freak me out" then continued with the tasks at hand.
Bedtime had come and I went into room took a look at dolly and thot wow, she just looks seriously mad, angry? The thought fleeted and I crawled into the covers and fast asleep I went. Next morn I grabbed her and this time I was well aware that I was taking her to place her on the mantel and as I did I jokingly told her to behave herself as I was in for a long day, sorta "scolded" her for her antics. I placed her on the mantel, finished up and headed out the door.
I got home later than usual that evening and was dead tired. The wife was asleep in her recliner. I went through the paces watched a lil tv and was finally ready for bed. I went into the room to dress for bed and much to my surprise and amazement, dolly was on my nightstand! Immediately the hair on the back of my neck stood on end and I got this flippin chill up my spine. I stood there for a moment just staring at her and she stared right back at me. I then thought "oh hell no" and said to myself "this ain't happening". I grabbed her, walked her into the living room opened the closet door and set her on the shelf closing the door behind her. I woke the wife said "you're really funny, time to knock it off, blah blah blah" and stormed to bed. She was right behind me yelling "what the hells the matter with you?" I proceeded to tell her and immediately she said "get rid of it", "I don't want it in the house", she got dressed and actually went to her mom and dads to spend the night.
Well, I'd never been afraid of any of the dolls be them antique or not. This one had me on the ropes. This one was just too creepy to have hanging around. This one was the sort to find at the foot of my bed one night waiting for me. This one took a ride to the local antique store where she was placed on consignment to be sold.
A few months later while again hunting bargains I stopped at a garage sale and walked in to see a table full of dolls and you would never believe who was sitting in the midst of the dolls??? I turned walked out the garage only to hear "the dolls not your type?"! I didn't even turn to acknowledge who said it.