By Robert Licke
Ask to see Kay Kickbuschs doll house and you will be taken upstairs in the Kickbusch residence to a whole room full of dolls, doll furniture, doll clothes, most anything to do with dolls that ever was, along with more than six hundred dolls.
Soon it becomes apparent that dolls and doll collecting is more than a hobby with Kay Kickbusch. Those dolls are her friends.
I have always wanted a collection of dolls, confided Kickbusch. I put some away after my children grew up and bought some for myself. Now I have a collection.
When I was a young girl, I had only one doll. But I always kept thinking that someday I will have a bunch of dolls and here they are, added Kickbusch, smiling. I have a young granddaughter, well, not so young really. She is in the sixth grade. Her name is Briana and we call this Brianas doll collection.
Kickbusch started to get serious about her doll collections about six years ago when she and husband, Bill, searched their house from attic to basement, and found the basics for her collection.
Kickbusch starts with Kewpie dolls, same chubby dolls with a top know of hair. Then she moves on to the Raggedy Ann series and to Gerber babies and porcelain collectibles and on to row after row of Barbies, along with many Kens as well.
One area of Kickbuschs huge doll house is reserved just for musical dolls. Another area has numerous pairs of twin dolls, just ready to take action.
And in the middle of the night, is there ever a replay of the Nutcracker Suite in the room with all those dolls coming to life.
I always wondered that myself, said Kickbusch. I do know that one doll would cry out Love me, love me for no reason. One time I was vacuuming and heard that. Why, I almost dropped the vacuum it startled me so.
Dolls sitting in genuine twig chairs, dolls bundled up for an outing sitting in a sleigh, but with a lost muff (shades of Nutcracker). One doll that is a Crolly doll from Ireland. That doll is a fish net mender but for some reason is the spitting image of Woodrow Wilson. They are all there and more and more and more.
Doll furniture too. Tiny and large. Some large enough to hold a real two to three year old.
My sister made that doll furniture, said Kickbusch, removing a doll from a very comfortable over stuffed chair. Her name is Irene Bond and she used to sell her furniture in Idaho where she lives.
Some of Kickbuschs dolls have names. Some do not. Some are poised for action in tea parties, some are as large as a normal three year old and one is as small as a nickel.
Many nationalities are represented as well as many different poses. One doll has no face at all but is hiding her face in a stuffed animal and looks for all the world like she has done something wrong and is embarrassed by the entire episode.
The room, the dolls, all are therapy for Kickbusch.
I come up here in the morning and drink my coffee here. It is so relaxing, said Kickbusch.
Kickbusch thinks that her collection, while perhaps not having a large value in dollars and cents, is priceless in what the dolls mean to her and her family.
The dolls are my enjoyment. I wouldnt want to sell any of them. They are all precious because friends have given them to me, confided Kickbusch.
Goals for the future? You bet.
I have around six hundred dolls now, said Kickbusch, with a grin. Id like to hit a thousand and then Ill quit.