I’ve had a couple of dolls for the last 15 years.
They belonged to my mom. She had them since she was a little girl, and she hoped to give them to my or my brother’s daughters.
The problem is that we have failed to produce a single daughter between us (not us together, but with our respective wives – you know what I mean). I guess there’s a chance of a granddaughter somewhere down the road, but this is getting a little ridiculous.
These dolls were apparently beloved toys for my mom when she was little. They had been boxed up for about 30 years when they passed into my custody. I kept them in the box, unseen, for over a decade. Just recently I finally said, “I wonder what they look like?”
They didn’t disappoint.
Now they sit in my office, awaiting news of their fate and making me feel uncomfortable. They’ll often move around when I’m not looking.
I believe they were worth a pretty penny once upon a time, but ebay has brought vintage doll prices back down to earth.
Since I’m an open-minded guy, and dolls can be for boys too, I offered them to my sons. You can probably guess their answer on your own.
I don’t want them. I can’t find anyone who does. I wish I could find someone who would cherish them as much as my mom did, but my network of old lady doll collectors is woefully thin.
If these were my own, I’d just go to my de-clutter playbook and ask, “Do they spark joy?” No, they don’t. They spark terror. And I’d get rid of them.
But the problem is these dolls were once really important to my mother. Donating to Goodwill or throwing them away seems disrespectful. I’m also worried that if I don’t give them a nice home, they’re going to come back…
I think if my mom were still alive she wouldn’t care at all about these dolls. But she’s not around to tell me that, and I’m anchored on the enormous value she once had for them and her hopes they’d be a legacy to pass down.
The perfect spot for these dolls would be in a museum. Though my mom had an outstanding candidacy for world’s greatest mom (she was #1 on both my and my brother’s ballot), I don’t know that she won, and there are no plans for a museum.
They’re kinda like a Patek Philippe watch (“You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation”) only worthless and scary.
I know I’ll find someone to take care of these lovelies someday. Until then, though, I am thankful for the lesson they’ve provided.
You Won’t Have a Museum
(And Even If You Do, They Won’t Want That Stuff)
It’s a safe bet that none of us are going to have a museum. And, let’s face it, even if you do become President or something, the museum curator would take a look at a lot of the junk you’re saving for it and politely decline.
Your kids don’t want your heirlooms, but if you keep them for decades and then die, they’re going to be torn between honoring your (assumed) legacy and taking out the trash.
Other than my Conan book collection, which is rated by experts as a priceless treasure with major libraries angling for a bequest, I need to take a hard look at everything I own and make sure I’m not going to be burdening my kids with tough choices.
My half efforts at baseball card and coin collections need to go. The NFL pencils I’ve saved for 40 years – they’re super special because they include the St. Louis Cardinals, Baltimore Colts, Houston Oilers, and (ahem) Los Angeles Rams – need to be just sharpened and used. My D&D stuff needs to be donated to some nerd historian / scholar.
While my mom did leave me a little dilemma, I’m very glad for the lesson.
And a nice side story of “my dolls and what to do with them” is the entertainment value they’ve provided. Not so much for me, but quite a bit for my family and friends. No, I haven’t played with my dolls. No, I don’t have different outfits for them. Ha ha ha.
Maybe there is a legacy there after all – my mom has brought us some amusement and laughs long after she’s gone. I hope she’s having a chuckle :-). And just wait until my brother sees what I got him for Christmas!
Are you saving something for future generations? Have you confirmed with them that they really want it?
Do you like vintage dolls? Are you a passionate collector or know someone who is? If you can provide a loving home for these beauties, let me know in the comments.
Exciting update: the dolls have a new home! I asked my sons’ piano teacher, whose wife is artsy and into vintage stuff, if he had any interest. He said his mom actually collects vintage dolls (she has a whole room – yikes) and pulled out his phone to take a picture to show her / gauge interest. I walked right past him and loaded them in his car 🙂 I told him he was free to do anything he liked (including discarding them), but he can never challenge my mental image of them safely ensconced in a loving home. Victory!