Friday, February 5, 2010

An Almost Perfect Surprise

Dear George,


Husbands have good ideas, but they don’t necessarily get things right.  A good example is a few years ago when I was driving around on the west side of Cincinnati looking for old postcards in antique shops.  I passed a place called The Doll Shop on Harrison Avenue which said “dolls and antiques” on its sign.  I parked and went in.  In fact, they did have five old postcards of American Indians which I bought for five dollars (a price way beyond my usual standard).  I looked around the rest of the first floor, but it was mostly dolls.  Then I went upstairs, where one of the back rooms had a double bed completely filled with dolls and a sign that said $15.  I didn’t know if that meant $15 apiece (which seemed kind of high) or $15 for the whole collection (which seemed unthinkable since there were 60 or 70 dolls on the bed).  I went back downstairs and asked the owner, and, sure enough, she was selling the whole batch for $15.  A double bed completely filled up.  I had to think this over.  They looked like pretty good dolls to me.  I have lots of collections of different things, but nothing like dolls.  It didn’t seem like my thing.  But where would you ever find a sale like this again?  Probably never.  It came to twenty-five cents apiece.  Katja would love it, I finally decided.  It would be like a childhood dream come true for her, something she might have always wished for but never expected in her whole life.  So I went for it – I bought the whole thing.  The dolls took up six hefty bags and filled the trunk and back seat of my car.  The shop owner said, “I thought somebody would buy this, but I didn’t think it would be a man.”  “It’s for my wife,” I said.  “She will be so excited. 


I carried the bags of dolls into the house, but Katja was out shopping.  So I took them upstairs to J’s room and set them all up on his bed, using pillows to elevate the ones against the back wall.  They totally covered the bed, crammed closely together, and were a wondrous sight.  I closed the door so I could bring Katja upstairs myself and make it a big surprise.  Then I went out to the grocery store.

When I got back Katja was waiting for me.  I could tell something was wrong as soon as I walked in the door.  “What have you done?  What have you done?” she hollered.  I asked what was the matter.  It seems she’d come home and gone upstairs and taken a shower.  When she’d finished, she’d needed to get a towel from J’s room and went there in her birthday suit.  Exposed and vulnerable, she opened the door and was met by 60 or 70 pairs of eyes staring at her from the dimly lit room.   By Katja’s account, she screamed in horror, slammed the door shut, and ran, still screaming, into our bedroom.  Even now, she shudders as she describes it.  She says she is lucky she didn’t have a heart attack right on the spot.


After she’d calmed down a little, I explained about the amazing bargain I’d gotten and how certain I was that she would be thrilled to have this new collection.  “I hate dolls,” Katja said emphatically.  “Why would you think I would want all these dolls?  They’re horrible.”  I mentioned that she still had a doll that she’d bought in Switzerland as a college student, but that carried no weight.  Katja told me to get the dolls out of there immediately – she never wanted to see them again.  So I silently stuffed them back into the hefty bags and lugged them up to the attic to my paper ephemera storage room.  That’s been their home ever since, and they lend a very pleasing, human touch to an otherwise unremarkable place.  Katja’s forgotten they even exist.  But I feel they’re just about the best purchase I ever made.




G-Mail Comments

-Phyllis SS (2-8):  Dave, Cute, funny story.  They look nice on the file cabinets.  I'd love to met them someday.  Linton was very good today.  But we knew that you and Katja were having a grand time at the game.

-Vicki L (2-6): Dear D, I'm so glad you still have the dolls ... I'm sure J and K will really appreciate them when they have to go through your things post-mortem (now that I think of it .... we could set up all kinds of surprises for our children as they go about de-constructing our lives...whips and bondage devices come to mind, cases of ex-lax hidden under the floor boards; silver dollars taped to the wall behind the refrigerator. Gosh, the possibilities are endless). Love, Vicki

-Gail CL (2-6-10):  David. Great story ;;))))))its great to hear from u

I hope all is well.  Miss u. 


  1. Boy, we have all done this with some item! Maybe you could find a group of seniors willing to do them up as a project for Christmas give-a-ways. Your heart was in the right place. A friend gave me 6 clown dolls once--I am terrified of clowns but no one knew that! I love your blog!!

  2. Thanks, Maribeth. That's a great suggestion. Glad to hear you're enjoying these blog reminiscences.