I don’t know much about dolls.
In the interest of fair disclosure, I should tell you that when I was a kid, I did have a G.I. Joe. But as everyone knows, a G.I. Joe is an action figure and not a doll.
My G.I. Joe came with a neat uniform and a small flamethrower. I should point out that it wasn’t a working flamethrower, although that would have been cool.
I mention my G.I. Joe action figure because on Monday my boss, Carol Stark, told me that a woman from the Heartland Doll Club wanted to talk to me. Despite my lack of doll knowledge, I like talking to the folks with the club.
It dawned on me while talking to Carol that I hadn’t spoken to anyone with the doll club in a couple of years. I used to do at least one column a year about the group, but it has been awhile. Lorna Whittenback, a longtime club member, said the 2011 Joplin tornado knocked the group off its stride a bit.
“Some of us got taken out (by the tornado),” she said. “I did. I got hurt real bad. I’m lucky to be alive.”
After the storm, the club’s annual show had to be canceled, and its 2012 show also was put on hold. The members tried to stage their annual show, but in the aftermath of the storm it became extremely difficult to find a location they could afford.
Betty Wirick, a member of the club, said that even though the doll show was shelved, the club continued to operate. Sure, there were a few monthly gatherings that had to be missed, Betty said, but club members never stopped working and continued to make more than 70 dolls a year
The group’s handmade dolls are given to the Children’s Miracle Network, area Mercy Hospitals, the Shriners Hospital in St. Louis and the Joplin Ronald McDonald House.
This year, the doll show is back. The Heartland Doll Club show will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Joplin Senior Center, 2202 S. Jackson Ave. As in the past, the show will feature a number of antique dolls along with modern and reproduction dolls. Also on display will be stuffed bears and collectibles. Doll supplies and clothes will be available for purchase.
Admission to the show is $4 for adults and $2 for children 12 and younger. All proceeds will be used to purchase supplies and materials for the club’s ongoing charitable efforts.
Betty told me that membership in the Heartland Doll Club has declined a bit since the tornado. Several members, she said, are no longer with us, and others are battling health issues.
“We can always use more members,” Betty said.
A few years ago, my wife, our now 15-year-old daughter, Emma, and I spent part of a rainy Saturday afternoon at a Heartland Doll Club meeting. We sat around a couple of large tables, snacked on good food, talked, laughed and worked on dolls. Well, my wife and Emma worked on dolls. I pretty much just laughed and talked.
It’s what I do best.
The thing is, we had a good time. Emma, in fact, just walked past my office, and I asked her if she remembered that afternoon.
“Oh yeah,” Emma said. “That was fun.”
Lest you think you have to have special doll-making skills to join the club, let me assure you that you do not. If my wife and Emma can make dolls, anyone can. See, while there are some doll-making chores that require a bit of skill, there are plenty of jobs that do not.
The Heartland Doll Club meets at 3:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of every month at the Joplin Senior Center. To join or to get more information, people may call Lorna at 417-438-4627 or Betty at 417-781-7956.
DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.
I don’t know much about dolls.
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