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Click on any photo to enlarge. You know you really want to study poor Gertie’s nose!
Nina strikes again! She’s the illustrator for the book series, and here is her illustration for the first version of the book, when Gertie was still a part of it. Gertie, hush! You will make your appearance!
Actually, Gertie pretty much takes everything in stride. She has to!
I have to whisper this next part, because she’s pretty sensitive about it, but apparently these l-e-s-s-e-x-p-e-n-s-i-v-e dolls of her day had their hairdos molded into their heads, and then their hair was wrapped around it. Wish I had a side view, but it’s kind of like a “skin” tiara; built up in front, flat in back. She gets more appealing with each detail, doesn’t she?
<In this second photo, I was showing off Gertie’s neat old legs. Nifty! You can also see how her body was holey and her arms were hanging by a thread.
Here’s Nina’s illustration of the dollhouse. I loved things that she did so much that I borrowed some of her ideas. The triple bunk bed, for example. You can see my version in yesterday’s post. It’s since been painted.
I also painted little portraits of Gertie and her wards for hanging on the walls. Note there are now NINE children! A little baby was added, *Poof*! Or, ta-dah! Just like that! No matter. There’s plenty of love in Gertie’s heart, which seems to grow larger with each addition.
And to these little hooligans, hers is the dearest face of all.
Look at that face. How could you not love that face?! I can hear my sister and probably many of your own voices in my head (a nice break from the usual noise) saying, “Oh. Hmm…yes, of course, Ruth. That doll is very…nice.”
I found this little woman with her wooden hands and her chipped black boots in a baggie on a random shelf in the place I affectionately call “The Crazy Lady’s Store.” For $2!
“Help! Can’t breeve!” she said.
The tone of our relationship was instant. “Hmm?” I replied, looking through the books and knick-knacks on the shelf beside her.
“Can’t breeve!” she called out again.
“Well, yes. But you’re $2! And it’s not even half price day!”
“Please!” she cried.
“Well, all right.”
In truth, my hands were nearly shaking with excitement. A 100 plus (probably closer to 150) year old glass-eyed, papier-mache-headed doll, and nobody had snatched her up already? That only happens to other people! In books!
I nonchalantly paid and carried her along with my other purchases in a large paper sack out to the car. Once inside with the door closed I reached into the bag where she lay amongst the vintage fabric scraps and other treasures I’d found, and I finally opened her little baggie.
“Thank you,” she said, her large eyes squinting in the sunlight as she looked around.
“You’re quite welcome,” I replied. “But if you’re going to come live with me, you’ll have to earn your keep.”
“Of course! Of course I will!”
And she has. She’s kept up her end of the bargain and I’ve no complaints, because I certainly couldn’t do what she does. Remember those triplets from yesterday? Well, they aren’t the half of it! She is nanny to eight little orphans. And counting! And she does it all in this two bedroom crooked little dollhouse. Not only that, she does it with love.
I’ve written countless stories about her and I could write countless more. Alas, she was cut from the first book in the series due to space, but there is no way I could keep her and her charges out entirely! Not possible! Gertie – for that is her name, she told me – has a very important and pivotal role to play in the books to come.
Bless her heart.