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Something to Celebrate

It's a beautiful August summer day, 80 degrees, only one curious visitor. Already the

geese are practicing formations. The Vermont Life with our Vermont Arts Council ad arrived. Nothing to be sad about. Having just written a column for the newsletter at St. Luke's in thanks to everyone for great August Supper, I suspect I am ripe for writing about my own personal thanks for 44 years of doll making. Fresh from visits of six grandchildren, I am reminded of Isaac's repeated refrain. Why, Grammie? Why?

The celebration in the form of the Bundle Doll Reunion is just two weeks away--September 8 and 9, but original planned for this August weekend. Why was it changed? To be sure my daughter Kara and her husband Andy could provide music and that their six children could see my doll making history unfurl. What better helpers to fill in the Time Line! Already Isaac's big brother helped design the hairdo for one of the prizes, Madeline, and learned proper stuffing style on Andro, another keepsake prize. Together we removed color photographs of dolls from antique plastic albums where he asked big questions like who was first, who was second, why don't you make the soldier Ian any more, or discovering Katie the Kangaroo. One jumper immediately relates to another!

Earlier in the summer I filled an order for my niece's daughter, Claire, who has just graduated from high school and is off to engineering school. Her mom provided a picture of one-year-old Claire with her mommy's dolls at one and a couple dozen portraits of the senior. From those I sketched the face and submitted it for applause and then sent samples of fabrics and Beatrice's clothes to ascertain what went where. The final outcome was glorious. Like lots of Bundles, Claire is off to college with her "mom. What is it about these connections? It's not only in our family. I made a special Laneybug Lucy for a neighbor's great grandchild, varying the presentation of the Lucy that William and I created six years ago. While braiding the hair, I had two thoughts. One was sitting between my mom's legs on the floor while she pulled and tugged my long generous dark brown hair into braids. Then I remembered braiding daughter Katie's hair as she sped off to catch the bus, one side not braided. I would later learn that Mrs. Maass would braid that child's hair just before the salute to the flag.

That all took me to Silly Tilly and how she's colorful and matching but upside down and coo coo just like a child I remember. That pile of clothes in front of the upstairs mirror dressing for school where your bows had to match your socks and everything in between had to contrast or match. No wonder I love laundry today! And doll making because it takes me back, makes me remember, causes me to reflect and matches my time with the task and your special order to my talent.

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The reunion promises to be stories, yours and mine, and all my other passions like nature, our glorious views from any spot in our Chester, and feeding you great cookies, yummy salads and glorious soups while you visit. Hearing from treasured old customers like Arna who wants me to design a fairy for her and Julie who wants Belinda and will share a photo with her Bundles from Mississippi. It doesn't get any better! Unless a visitor or two popped in to purchase a doll or two. They did!

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