My Doll

I took my great-grandmother’s doll to be repaired in January. Eight months and seven hundred dollars later… I have a doll with
curled hair,
a ceramic pate, instead of the cardboard one that had replaced the original,
a doll dress of the appropriate type,
three mended fingers,
two legs which are not presently leaking sawdust,
and a $4 doll stand.

At some point, and I knew this before I took the doll in, my great-grandmother replaced the original hair (that had probably been pulled out by too much brushing) with a wig made from her own hair. As long as I have lived, that hair has been a long drape past her shoulders. However, it turns out that the doll was originally styled with curly hair, so the doll doctor curled her hair and sprayed it so that it looks more like the original, while still keeping my grandmother’s hair replacement.

The ceramic pate was replaced with a cardboard one at some point. The doll doctor thinks it was done in the 1950s, but I find it more likely to have been done when my grandmother still had her hair long, which would have been when Grama Bunny was young. (So perhaps the 1920s. I wouldn’t be surprised if Grampa Ben’s mother and Grama Rill [my step-great-grandfather and my great-grandmother] were the ones who fixed the hair.)

The doll doctor put a cute bow in the doll’s hair. However, she stuck a pin through the head to hold the bow on rather than pinning it with a bobby pin. The pin came out as soon as I unwrapped the doll.

The original dress turns out not to have been original at all, but instead a 1950s replacement—probably to rehabilitate the doll for the only granddaughter, my mother. It is made of an appropriate material, and the color and detail were well done, but they are for an adult doll and this doll was intended to be a child.

During the 1970s the doll factories, which were closed at the onset of WWII were purchased and someone bought all the fabrics and the doll patterns. While the fabrics from the pre-war era have all been purchased already, the pattern of the dress is now correct.

I don’t really like the dress. It is a dull color, but Dad and Steph both think the dress is pretty and it is the correct pattern, so I guess I will deal with that. The woman said that the dress would cost $175, but it was on the bill as $250. I can imagine a price increase and that, perhaps, when she was saying $175 she was thinking of her cost. However, that is an additional $75 that I wasn’t expecting.

The fingers don’t look amazing, but they don’t look bad either. And, in fact, on one hand they look better than I was expecting.

However, her eyebrows now are both bad. The doll doctor couldn’t pull out the one that was sunk into the doll’s head, so she pushed both in. But doing that shows three chips that I did not remember. At least one appears to have already been there based on the picture I have, but the chips, which are white, show up so much more now. What happened to the fixing of the eyebrow that she was supposed to do for that $425 original estimate? That money included the mink to replace the fur in the original eyebrows.

The eyelashes, both the one that was completely on and the one that was partially on, are missing. The doll doctor said she couldn’t put them on and get the eyes to close. So a simple glue-on did not happen and the doll’s eyes close, but there is no long sweep of lashes. I specifically told her that I wanted the eyelashes. If she wasn’t going to put them on, why didn’t she call and talk to me about them? It is possible the lashes are not original, but I am frustrated with their loss since they were there on my doll. (I am thinking about it and maybe she did talk to me when she first called. However, I thought I old her I wanted the eyelashes on. If I didn’t, I guess that disappointment is my fault.)

The worst part, however, is that the woman repaired the legs, but with glue and cloth, not with kid leather and not with stitches. –I told her that I would be willing to pay more for the kid leather approach to the repair, so had she done that I would have had (and anticipated) a higher bill. When I pulled the doll’s underthings down to show RG her legs, one of them was already broken again. It isn’t leaking yet, but it will be if the leg is moved any at all. Since the legs were the reason we had to quit playing with the doll, I am particularly perturbed by this.

This means that I need to go back to The Doll Hospital tomorrow, when the doll doctor is in. (She was not there today.)

If the doll can only be displayed, I will survive that, though I will not be happy, but I am appalled that the $425 to fix all the parts that she was supposed to fix left the eyebrows and eyelashes undone AND left me with an already broken leg.

What would be a reasonable amount for fixing the fingers, pate, and hair while messing up the eyebrows and eyelashes? I was thinking maybe she should give me back all the money except for the dress and maybe $50 for the curl and pate. But actually the eyelashes and eyebrows are more noticeable than the fingers. Of course, the problem with each was more noticeable when one was right and wrong but the brows just look horrible. And I miss the eyelashes.

The legs ARE improved, but they are not going to last at all if the first time I picked her up after getting her out of the store (and perhaps in the store, since I did not check them before I left) her right leg broke.

So what was done well? The dress, the fingers, the hair, and the pate.

The doll looks much different than she used to. I didn’t realize how much the curl and shorter dress would change her look.

And I was planning on going to the Houston Glass Show tomorrow, but now I will have to go to Spring to take the doll back and talk to the doctor. I am not very good about talking about things like this. I wish I could just send my sister.