Sunday, February 19, 2012

Difficult Days

The past few days have been very difficult for me.  My emotions have ranged from shock to grief over the loss of two people who died one day apart.  The world shared one person with me.  I shared the other with her circle of doll collecting friends and her own family and friends.

Whitney Elizabeth Houston, who died on February 11, 2012, was always a very beautiful woman and an accomplished, most talented singer and actress, with the singing being her passion.  I remember one of her first videos, "You Give Good Love." (Her tiny frame and ill-fitting spandex pants make this video memorable as well as her melodic voice).  After becoming familiar with the songstress, I recall recognizing Whitney in a bit part on, Gimme a Break

The news of her untimely death was very shocking.  I couldn't believe it, but unfortunately, it was true.  I will always remember her powerful gift of song.  In the words of my 7-year-old niece, who is also a gifted singer, "She has the most beautiful voice in the world!"

R.I.P. Whitney Elizabeth Houston.

Paper Flowers*, a 2011 UFDC Convention souvenir gift from Ruth

Ruth Manning entered my life on January 20, 2003, after I received an email request from her to join my online black-doll discussion group, WeLoveBlackDolls.  According to the new-member protocol, I introduced Ruth to fellow WLBD members with the following email:

January 20, 2003, New Member Welcome - Ruth M.
Please join me in welcoming our newest member, Ruth, to our list.
We also have another member whose name is Ruth. For this reason, I
will refer to our new member as Ruth M. Below is Ruth M's self-description of her doll-collecting hobby.
Hi Debbie,
I've been collecting dolls about 30+ years but I've really gotten carried away in the past 3 years. That's how long I've been retired.
I have about 700 dolls of all kinds but mostly black. I have about
150 Barbie/friends of Barbie-about 95% are black. I only look for
black vintage dolls but I don't stick to that. The last black dolls
that I bought, in Dec, 2002, were 4 Barbies, Bebe-a Jan McLean
Lollipop Girl, & Madison-My Scene Barbie. I've bought about 150
dolls since last May-mostly black. The dolls are running me out of my own
house. Between the dolls & my 700 Ty products (beanie babies) I
am nearly bankrupt.

I go to doll shows, frequent antique shops, & really enjoyed the
Barbie convention held in Denver, last June. I only collect dolls.
I made my first & last doll last summer-a black porcelain doll about
22". That was too much hard work. I can really appreciate the cost
of dolls.

What can I say? I'm really an "Incurable Collector"!

Always Blessed,

Doesn't Ruth sound like a delightful person? Please join me in welcoming her to our list. Thanks!

And welcome her we did!  She became part of our doll-collecting sisterhood.  We loved collecting dolls right along with her and vicariously through her doll purchases because Ruth could buy some dolls!  Her monthly doll purchases often totaled 30 dolls or more, and she had the pictures to prove it.  In the spring of 2003 (shortly after joining the list), Ruth allowed me to share her doll collector's profile with the readers of Black Doll-E-Zine

The WLBD members not only delighted in Ruth's enthusiasm for doll collecting, but we were also fascinated by her zest for living life to the fullest.  She traveled throughout the country often solo to doll shows and conventions.  She had a goal to visit all 50 US states.  I believe, with the exception of never visiting Pennsylvania, she accomplished this goal. 

As illustrated in her email introduction, her signatures usually exhibited her faith in God, which remained steadfast until the end.  They varied from  Always Blessed, Hallelujah Anyhow, Healed by His Stripes, to just signing her name (after she switched from individual emails to reading posts at the WLBD website in 2011). 

Ruth lost her battle with an extended illness on February 12, 2012.  I did not find out until February 16, 2012.  The world lost a sweet angel and heaven gained one.

I will truly miss our several-year on- and offline friendship and hearing her sweet voice over the telephone to just talk dolls or about things in our personal lives.

Rest in peace, sweet Ruth.  I will always love you. 

*The paper flowers are actually called lithographed paper scraps that were possibly made in Germany. Collecting and swapping paper scraps was a popular childhood pastime. There are adults who continue to collect these today. Read more about the process here.


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  1. May Ruth rest in eternal peace. Saying prayers for her family and yours as well. I too just lost a family friend on the same day. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning, what a mighty God we serve to know that our loved ones that have passed on are walking in their glory with Him. Whitney is singing along with the rest of the saints in the choir of the most high! Glory!!!
    Be blessed and comforted Debbie:)

    1. Thank you Chynadoll for your prayers. We all appreciate them.

      I am sorry to hear about your recent loss. My prayers are extended to you as well for God to provide comfort to you, the family, and friends.

      Our fond memories of those we lost will live forever.


  2. I felt sad that Whitney Houston died, but in the years since I became a member of WLBDs, Ruth Manning was someone I spoke to and who spoke back to me. She was friendly and welcoming. Online, of course, but I remember her generosity sharing her doll photos and sales sources and doll news. I did not know her as well as you and many of the long-time WLBD members. I regret that I did not have a chance to meet her in person. Thanks, DBG, for passing out this sad news.

    1. Thanks D7ana for your comment and your acknowledgment of knowing Ruth. She was a remarkable woman.


  3. Posting on behalf of WLBD member Janice Larsen Tyre:

    Your Blog Tribute is wonderful, Debbie! I tried to add my comments in the spot on the Blog, but I am not able, so I will just say this here. Since, my sentiment at the time, flew out of my mind.......I will try to say something similar.....but not quite...

    "Both Whitney & Ruth have touched our life's, will be always loved and missed by all of us!"

    "I believe that you, spoke for those of us, who knew Ruth, and enjoyed the times we shared together on WLBDs and our gatherings." I say "Gone but not forgotten!" A "piece" of our puzzle is now missing, and we only have memories to fill that void. I love you, Ruth!

    Love & Dolly Hugs,


  4. Wow! I didn't know Ruth but she sounds like a wonderful person. There is not a lot that I can say because the words just don't come, only the tears. Whitney's death was and still is a shock. There has been so much death lately. I will send healing thoughts and prayers your way to help you through this difficult time.

  5. Thanks, Vanessa. Ruth was a gem. I am slowly coming to terms with her absence.


  6. Posting for WLBD member, Dorothy S.:

    Thank you, Debbie!

    This is one of the best blogs, you have written!
    It touched me so much! You can never imagine!! It
    honored two, beautiful talented, women!
    One, with a singing voice of an, angel! The other had an
    eye for beauty, in dolls! Both, so enriching!!

    We will miss our, Ruth! She made a lasting, loving doll
    impression, on us all!! We will also miss, her sweet personality!!


  7. I visited WLBD today, looking forward to reading posts and getting caught up with everyone, when I saw the sad news that Ruth has died. I always enjoyed reading her posts and seeing her doll pictures, and I looked forward to her input when I posted photos of my own. She was a sweet, wonderful person, and I will miss her. I really wish that I had not stayed away so long. :(

    1. Hi Roxanne,

      I'm still attempting to cope with the fact that Ruth is no longer with us. There were certain times of the day that I could pick up the phone and call her and maybe catch her at home if she was not out enjoying life (at a movie, line dancing, traveling to a doll show, or engaged in one of the many activities she enjoyed) before her health deteriorated. Even then, I called her at least once a week to check on her and was able to speak to her until the last time I called and the hospice nurse said, "She is not doing too much talking these days; she is mostly sleeping."

      I will definitely miss her.



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