Doll visitors brighten Brook Manor

Published 6:00 am Thursday, December 10, 2009

Some of the residents at Golden Living Center-Brook Manorgathered in the foyer Wednesday afternoon, visiting and drinkingegg nog, almost like a Christmas party.

“This egg nog has that ‘come back’ taste,” said one of theresidents. “You want to come back for more.”

But it’s not quite Christmas party time yet, and it wasn’t theegg nog that drew the seniors out of their rooms. The residents hadgathered to play with dolls, or at least to view a display ofthem.

Dorothy Stone, a dietician from Hattiesburg, brought herChristmas dolls for the senior citizens to enjoy for the day.

She said the idea was born as she talked to Golden LivingCenter-Brook Manor activity director Jenny Scott one day, when shementioned that she collected dolls.

“They do a lot of beyond-the-norm things here, and we decided Iwould bring some and let the residents see them,” she said. “Theresponse was amazing. I don’t know if it’s a childhood thing orwhat, but it makes them very happy.”

Brook Manor resident Dot Brooks stopped to look at the dolls,pointing out one that was her favorite.

“Did you see her eyes?” she said. “She’s got the most beautifulgreen eyes.”

The first group of wide-eyed, perfect-haired inanimate littlevisitors came to the home on the Fourth of July, Stone said. Sincethen, there have been some to celebrate Halloween and Thanksgivingas well.

Scott said it is fun for the residents to see the dolls forseveral reasons, and sometimes it’s also useful.

“The speech therapist uses them for one of her patients,” Scottsaid. “She asks, ‘What’s this, what color is this?’ Those kind ofquestions.”

But she said the dolls also cheer the Brook Manor residents.

“No matter how they’re feeling, it always brings a smile totheir faces, and it’s something visual that could bring backmemories,” Scott said. “Some of them look like their grandchildren,or it brings back memories of collections they had, or theirfavorite dolls.”

Stone said she got started collecting the dolls around 20 yearsago when she bought her first doll.

“I just saw it and said, I should buy that,” she said. “And itgrew from there. Now it’s an obsession.”

She sees each doll as a work of art, Stone said. She said shefinds it fascinating how each one has a different face and style,and all of those were created by someone who came up with theconcept of what they wanted that doll to look like. She said she’sconsidering getting into making dolls herself.

“They’re art, just like a painting or a piece of glass,” shesaid.

And like a good art collector, Stone has definitely built up acommunity of the dolls that she can enjoy herself as well asshare.

“Let’s just say I have several hundred,” she said with alaugh.

Stone said she will be back at Brook Manor with the Valentine’sDay installment of dolls in February.