A doll revival
Shirley Taylor combs the hair of a doll at Vintage Park and debates what clothes to put on the doll.
“We’re back in our childhood,” Taylor said with a laugh. “We did this before.”
Taylor and other residents of Vintage Park, an assisted living retirement center in Tonganoxie, get together weekly to refurbish various dolls.
It’s a partnership with the Good Shepherd Thrift Store and Food Bank in Tonganoxie.
Jean Pearson, board secretary and Friday manager for the store, said volunteers at Good Shepherd used to clean up the donated dolls before putting them on the shelves for sale at the thrift store. But it’s been harder for volunteers to take care of refurbishing the dolls.
A couple months ago, Good Shepherd volunteers approached Vintage Park about helping with the doll work.
Jennice Baragary, activities director at Vintage Park, said residents were eager to assist.
She started the project with three residents helping out. Now, there are about 10 who work once a week on the dolls.
The group has prepared between 30 and 40 dolls for the thrift store, Baragary said.
This past Wednesday, residents sat around a long table topped with an assortment of clothing as they dressed dolls of varying sizes.
“They talk about their kids, their grandkids, to each other and share outfits,” Baragary said. “They really enjoy it.”
The outfits are ones that came with the dolls they receive from the thrift store. Baragary also makes additional clothes for the dolls and tries to have clothes in residents’ favorite colors.
“Now, I just try to copy it and make a pattern with extra material to keep up with the ladies,” Baragary said about the clothes.
Betty Layton, another resident working on the clothes, said she likes getting the dolls ready with hopes of making some youngster’s day.
“I think of the happiness it’s going to make for some little girls,” Layton said.
Pearson said the dolls have been a popular sell at the thrift store.
“I think so because they look attractive and they come with a little tag that they were dressed at Vintage Park,” Pearson said.
The tags also include the name the Vintage Park residents give to the dolls, which sometimes are names of children, grandchildren, Vintage Park volunteers or even pets.
“I named mine Lucy,” Taylor said. “I had a cat named Lucy, and she’s not with me here, so I named the doll Lucy.”