Monday, May 23, 2011

How a snow storm led to a doll collection

In the mid 1970's I lived with my husband, son and daughter in Stone Mountain, Georgia, a small town east of Atlanta.

Now for those of you unfamiliar with Atlanta and environs, it does not snow in Atlanta… it ices!!

One time about 1974 it iced for a whole day knocking out electricity in our part of the world. My husband was stuck on business in Augusta, Georgia so I was by myself trying to keep the children warm in a house with no fireplace and a furnace dependent on the electric blower.

After two days plying the children with hot chocolate and trying to keep them indoors and dry, I loaded them into the car to go and look for a warm place. We finally found a motel near downtown Atlanta that had a room… at twice the normal rate. At least we were out of the cold and dry.

On day three our electricity was not yet back on and we had run out of emergency cash. The proprietor of the motel would not take a check or my husband's American Express card number over the phone so we faced eviction. I finally found a bank that would cash a check so we were good for another day. By that time the electricity had come back on so we could go home.

This frightening experience prompted my husband to get me my own American Express card. Remember, this was the time before all or us (at least for me) didn't walk around with a pocket full of plastic.

My card came with my name on it and I proudly carried it feeling very secure. It never crossed my mind to USE it for anything other than emergencies. I know it is now quaint, but we were a cash and carry family.

A year or so later I got my catalog from Yield House Company, a business situated in North Conway, New Hampshire that sold furniture kits to assemble and paint or finish yourself. In addition to the furniture kits (mostly Early American) Yield house also sold home accessories. Among the accessories were kits to make reproduction China head dolls and a line of bisque head dolls depicting historical, literary and regional figures. This particular issue offered four Little Women on sale for half price!!

Now I was a stay-at-home mother (also quaint, I know) with little extra spending money. I looked at that catalog for two weeks until I finally picked up the phone (remember, not internet yet) and called to order.

The operator apologized and told me there was only one of the Little Women available. She also said there were so many disappointed people who had called that the company would discount any of the doll kits by 50%!!

On the spur of the moment I told her, "Just send me one of each of whatever you have and put it on my American Express card". I believed because my name was on the card the bill would come to me and I would have time to figure out how to pay for them.

A week or so later I was the proud owner of: George and Martha Washing; John and Abigail Adams, Abe and Mary Todd Lincoln; Romeo and Juliet; and Beth from Little Woman. A week or so after that my husband came in and said, "You know, I have had this American Express card for over ten years and this is the first time they have made a mistake. $85. 'Yield House', must be a restaurant up in New Hampshire".


And that is how I got into collecting Yield House dolls and their kits!!

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