On top of Doll Mountain

KewpieA few weeks ago, I wrote a blog entry about my impending move out of state and the unsavory task of packing up an obscene number of dolls acquired during my 22 years of collecting. Many of you wrote me, asking to be kept updated on the drama of moving a doll hoard—I mean collection. You’ll be happy to know that I have succeeded in my task, and the seven curios, nine shelves, and innumerable boxes that once occupied my doll room have been replaced by what my family has dubbed “Doll Mountain.”

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BOXES ONE BOXES TWO boxesI must admit that it’s an impressive sight. And I think I did an admirable job of consolidating the real estate that my 500+ girls occupy. I tossed out about 70% of my doll boxes, and instead carefully packed about 300 girls in sturdy plastic bins (complete with desiccant packs to avoid molding). The remaining 200 or so girls had either intricate gowns or hairdos or were deemed “too special” to travel via cargo. So they were lucky enough to get their own individual boxes.

The larger girls also got their own boxes in which to travel. Packing my dozen Himstedts (many taller than three feet) was no easy task. I have most of their huge boxes and shippers, but dragging those boxes out of storage meant confronting the ever-present “palmetto bugs” that reside in our garage. If you’ve ever seen a Florida palmetto bug, you know that it can reach roughly the size of a small rat. Now, I’m not frightened of many things. Snakes and spiders are fine with me. But Florida roaches are a fucking freak of nature and need to be destroyed at all costs. Needless to say, there was a lot of shrieking in the garage and orders to my husband to “kill the damned thing.”

The things I do for dolls.

Himstedt packing in progress. Can you spot the real child?
Himstedt packing in progress. Can you spot the real child?

I was nervous about packing my porcelain and resin dolls. In particular, I have one delicate porcelain Native American mother and child dressed in real leather and adorned with turquoise and sterling silver. Her artist named her “Butterfly Mother,” and she stands about two feet tall. I love this doll. I purchased her at, of all places, Trump Tower in Las Vegas for an amount of money that I will divulge only upon pain of death—and perhaps not even then. It was 2004, and I was in Vegas with my mom to see Barry Manilow in concert. (Yes, you read that right. Don’t judge.) This was also the trip in which I took my mother to see a Chippendales show. She enjoyed it way too much.

dancersSo, as you can imagine, this doll is not only gorgeous—it’s steeped in memories. I used a combination of bubble wrap, foam, and packing peanuts to cushion mother and child. I’ll be putting this box in the car with me when we make our journey. Not trusting any moving dudes with this treasure.

moving-homePacking up my girls did give me the opportunity to appreciate each one individually. It also was a chance to do an inventory. I entered the name of each doll in an Excel spreadsheet as I packed it away and noted the numbered box it was going into, which will help me identify where specific dolls are when we arrive at our new home. I’ve always been terrible at keeping track of my hoard, instead relying on memory, which, when it comes to dolls, is scarily good. I only had to consult the Internet a handful of times to identify specific dolls or their outfits as I packed them away. If only my memory worked just as well when it comes to locating my keys or glasses.

I was also able to identify a dozen or so dolls that I can live without. I’ve mostly sold them off, which will allow me to pay for a particular doll I’ve been waiting for all year. Paul Pham’s latest Numina doll—Sung—will join my other Numinas—Stratus and Alma—in October. Pinch me.

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With the dollies and lots more of our household in boxes and ready for storage, hubby and I are working on some minor house fixes. So if anyone out there is interested in relocating to sunny Tampa, let me know and I’ll give you a deal!

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18 thoughts on “On top of Doll Mountain

  1. Wow! First thing that came to my mind when I saw the doll mountain was a line from the now old movie “Crocodile Dundee.” If you’ve seen it, it’s the scene where they’re getting mugged at knife point in New York and Dundee pulls out a huge knife and says with a chuckle, ” that’s a knife!” If you haven’t here’s a link to the scene on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vW54lAtldI That’s what I thought when I saw the sheer magnitude of your doll collection. ” That’s a doll collection!”
    Frankly I wouldn’t have the energy to deal with all that. I’m even at the overwhelmed point with mine and it’s no where near the size of yours. However I have to commend you on your being able to face packing and unpacking all of that and with such cheerfulness. Hope you write about what all of this deconstructing and reconstructing your doll collection means to you. Also, I hope you’re happy in your new home. Does your boy ever hide in the doll mountain?

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    1. Thanks for your comment! Yes, I am familiar with Crocodile Dundee. I loved that movie as a kid. … I have actually enjoyed all this preparation for moving. I don’t get nearly the amount of time I’d like to have with my dolls, and this has allowed me to play with them and claim I am working at the same time. 🙂 … No, my son hasn’t started playing around the mountain yet, but my cats think it is a fabulous playground.

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  2. Wow, you have some really beautiful dolls there! I noticed your son is holding onto a really large doll stand! It makes him look like he is driving a car! Those bugs sounded creepy! I would be screaming too! Good luck with your move!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeah, the bugs are crazy nasty down there. I didn’t stay long. Your doll collection is incredible. It will be a lot more fun to unpack it, I imagine!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Loved reading this blog. I can relate on the packing and moving dolls. When I moved to N. Carolina I boxed up most of my dolls and sent to my daughter’s house where Id eventually be moving.. A lot of money to pack and send. And sent some other dolls for safe keeping to my friend in Washington state, till I got settled. By the way where are you moving to?

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