Sunday, October 2, 2016
Dolls and Chess
Why Collecting Dolls is like Playing Chess
On one of my favorite radio shows, WVIK’s Saturday Morning Life, followed by Scribble, both hosted by Senator Don Wooten, there was a lively discussion about those with a passion for chess. One local professor who was an artist and a priest was a regular junkie. He always had three or four chess games going, and even played postcard chess. The players would mail their moves to each other by writing them on postcards. Supposedly, the good Reverend made a mistake and couldn’t bear to let the postcard go through the post; he would have lost the chess game. So, he dressed in his full clergy regalia, and waited seated on the curb for the postman so he could retrieve his card.
I was struck by the analogy to the back and forth strategy of doll collecting. So many of our finds are still discovered by “mail”, whether snail mail or email. There is often strategy involved; where will we put our dolls? How will we display them? How will we pay for them? How do we plan out trips to conventions and shows? Should we restore a doll or not? Should we buy a doll or not?
For me, collecting was always about strategy, and about selecting dolls for my future museum. Strategy dictated how I would work doll hunting into our family trips, and later into mine. Sometimes strategy was planning to get to a doll before someone else did, and I admit that I’ve played my cards close to my vest when it comes to some of the places I look for dolls.
Planning doll talks, doll books, doll programs, and doll displays involves a lot of strategic planning, too. If I can’t find just the right doll to bring with me or to write about, the whole event is ruined for me!
Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that chess figures are relatives to dolls, as well. I have my share of those as well, and love reading Dorothy L. Sayer's Gaudy Night because an antique chess set plays a role in the plot.
Finally, just like our friend the Reverend, I just hate to lose, especially if I lose a doll I’ve searched for during a long period of time.
I hope you enjoyed my random thoughts. Happy Collecting.