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Live From Modesto: Confessions of a Mad Doll Collector

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Nancy Ann Storybook Exhibit

Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls in UFDC Special Exhibit by Elaine Pardee

Denise Van Patten
Updated April 10, 2003
Tuesday, April 1st, 11:59 pm

Yawn. I just finished packing up for my trip to my first Regional Doll Collector's Convention--"Playtime In Spring," the UFDC R2N Conference. Its taken me all day. Now, before you assume I'm a fashion plate and spent the entire day packing my clothing and personal items...I didn't. I spent the entire day packing up my husband's truck 1/2 full of dolls and doll related items for the sales room, since I'm a dealer in the sales room at this convention. Today was easy...tomorrow, I go to my doll shop to fill up the rest of the truck. THAT will be the hard part, since there is no WAY that the rest of the dolls I want to bring will fit in the truck. Just no way.

Wednesday, April 2nd, 11:00 am

Why do ALL of my customers visit the store on the morning that I'm packing up frantically for a doll show? And, how can tiny little bisque and vinyl dolls weigh so much when you put a few in one container?? Well, at least everything is now containerized, if you count baskets and paper bags as containers.

Wednesday, April 2nd, 12:00 noon

Arleen, my roomate for the convention (and President of my doll club) arrives at my shop. She takes a dubious look at the stack of items still waiting to be packed. Now, Arleen is a true-blue doll friend--she is still speaking to me after already having been evicted from my truck for the road trip to the convention earlier in the week, due to lack of space. Arleen, being a very true blue friend and REALLY wanting to get to the convention sometime this month, simply started grabbing doll items and throwing them into her trunk and back seat. After 1/2 hour, everything is packed. We even get the doors closed, and caravan to Modesto.

Wednesday, April 2nd, 5:00 pm

We finally get to Modesto, after a gigantic traffic jam on highway 99. You could tell it was going to BE a gigantic traffic jam because there were about 6 light-up signs on the way to the traffic jam warning you about it. Once in the traffic jam, I amuse myself by playing with my brand new cell phone (I'm sure I drive Arleen crazy by calling her every 10 minutes or so on the cell phone...but I'm a grown woman, mother of two and I've never HAD a cell phone before, and I can even dial Arleen with only my voice!!). After Arleen firmly informs me that we are out of cell phone roaming range (whatever that is) I then amuse myself by pushing dolls around in the car because I evidently didn't pack very well, and dolls are falling all over the place.

Once at the hotel, we find out that the hotel has NO attached parking lot--parking is in a municipal garage across the street! I was planning to leave most of the doll boxes in the truck overnight until we could unpack to the sales room in the morning...no WAY am I leaving all those dolls in that unguarded municipal garage. I inform Arleen that we need to bring all the doll show boxes, trunks, bags and baskets into our room overnight. Arleen looks ill, and seems to be thinking that maybe she should have chosen a different roomate.

Wednesday, April 2nd, 6:30 pm

As I type this, Arleen is peering at me over the piles of boxes in the room. We managed to transport everything upstairs ourselves with a hotel luggage cart--great exercise, especially for the other hotel guests dodging our heavy, over-loaded out-of-control cart. We then registered for the convention, and are off to dinner!

Wednesday, April 2nd, 9:00

Look for more blogging tomorrow! This is my first experience at a Regional doll conference (collectors from Northern California, Nevada and Utah), and my first time in a doll convention sales room as a dealer. I'll be blogging all 3 days of the convention--check back here each day for updates! Tomorrow morning, I'm giving a Lecture/Slide Presentation on "The History Of Fashion Dolls." Then, doll room set-up, several programs as an attendee, doll competition entries, and a tea party! Should be fun--don't miss the rest of this blog--it will be just like being there!

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