We here at The Life and Times of Ann Estelle have been discussing ideas for new features on the blog and we've come up with a plan to introduce you to our individual dolls, one at a time, over the next year or so. Claudia describes this as showing you around our neighborhoods! So you will see a couple of new categories on the list to the right. My dolls will appear under "R's Joe Pye Clan"; Claudia's under "C's Neighborhood"; and Andria's .... maybe under "Andria"?
I've been spending a lot of time recently working on some of my own family history, doing genealogy searches. I've been working on a part of my family who originated in what is now Germany and was very excited to find a "Familienbücher" for "my" little town of Ensch. And was tickled that the author of this "FamilyBook" is a man named Tonner! So maybe RT and I have a very distant connection?
So with this amalgamation of thinking about family, thinking about Germany, and thinking about dolls, it became obvious to me that the first doll in the Joe Pye Clan that I want to "feature" is Andreas!
To be honest, I no longer remember why I was looking around through a German home shopping (both 'net and TV) website in late 2004. But what caught my eye was this photo of a "porzellanpuppe" named Andreas.
I got out my metric ruler and put Babelfish to work and became more and more excited when I realized he was very close to the same scale as my Tonner ten inch dolls!! Not only did he have an absolutely wonderful smile but also keep in mind this was P.M. - pre-Michael from Tonner - and there were no boys in my small (but growing) clan! We needed a boy!
This doll was designed by Adele Faelens, for a line called Adele's Puppenhaus, within the rf Collection (rf standing for Reinart Faelens)
So having fallen in love with the little boy, I contacted the shopping network to see if I could purchase him. Sadly, they only sold to addresses in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. But then I started watching German eBay and in not too long a time an Andreas came up for sale!! The seller and I communicated with MUCH assistance from Babelfish and she decided that she would be willing to ship to me in the US if I won the doll. And happily, I did!! But then came the interesting process of getting cash Euros to her - she was not set up with PayPal, would not do a bank-to-bank transfer and only wanted cash. Luckily I was working for a bank at the time so it was a learning process for me to obtain foreign currency. And then I put it in an envelope and with great trepidation, mailed it! Sending cash in an envelope is one of those things that my mother told me never to do! Like going swimming right after you've eaten. Or crossing your eyes. Even worse, this was sending cash in an envelope overseas (and for all I know it might not be "legal"). But all was well - the letter arrived and Andreas was mailed to me. Then all wasn't well, because the poor kid must have come from Germany to Wisconsin via the Suez Canal, across the Indian Ocean, through the Panama Canal, up the east coast, down the St. Lawrence Seaway, etc etc and all in a very slow boat!! He took forever to get here! But he arrived safely, all in one piece, even with change in small Euro bills and coins (I could only purchase Euros in relatively large bills here and thus had sent more than the actual cost of the purchase.) To this day, he takes two of his Euro coins with him just about where ever he goes.
Andreas is the antithesis of a lot of things I look for in a doll: He has no articulation below his shoulders and his proportions (a little like those of a very healthy cherub from a Baroque painting) mean that he can share no clothes with the rest of the gang. But oddly enough, even with this, he is one of my favorite dolls! This shows in the number of photos that he appears in throughout earlier blog entries and in some of the Firefly Girls of the World stories. While he is mindful of his status as a rare, all-porcelain doll (he doesn't go up on ladders or hang gliding like Michael and Christopher Robin) he does like activities like ice skating, skate boarding and swimming. He has a pet lizard named Anatole. He loves dressing up for Halloween!