Friday, July 30, 2010


We have all heard that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I believe that is true. And I believe that you can make a silk purse out of a pig's ear -- but only if the pig was silk to begin with. Ah, inner beauty.

My Nana Laura used to take me to FAO Schwarz every Saturday to interview, and adopt, dolls and Teddy Bears. She was a familiar face there and the salesgirls loved her (they worked on commission) because she spent a great deal of money. But, she was demanding as well -- often sending the girls off to "fetch" more dolls and bears from the stock room.
Then she would line up a dozen or more seemingly identical dolls and peer intently into their faces. Back in the late 1940s the Madame Alexander dolls had hand-painted faces so there were, in fact, variations. And Steiff bears had hand-embroidered noses and mouths. The process took several hours but eventually one or two "spoke" to Nana Laura and came home with us -- but only after we had lunch at the Palm Court of the Plaza Hotel.
I inherited her dolls and bears and her style of interviewing them. I spent many happy hours in the stock room of "dollsandreams" opening Sasha tubes and lining up a dozen blondes or brunettes before finding one or more that spoke to me.
Sadly, those days are gone forever. Now I am forced to stare intently at small images on my computer screen trying to see a doll's inner beauty and trying to hear her speak to me. It doesn't work as well as the in person interview but over the years I have developed a sharp eye.
This is the auction picture of my beautiful new brunette. And she certainly proves my point that you can make a silk purse from a pig's ear -- but only if the pig is made of silk.