Last year, right after Christmas my parents hopped into their RV and headed towards Quartzsite, Arizona. Apparently every year there is some sort of gathering of RVer and Dad was determined to strike it rich selling his Walking Poles. Somewhere in my sorrow at being abandoned yet again by my parents (Is it weird that I actually like them?) a brilliant idea just popped into my head. I was going to make a replica of my father to put on his display table and send it to him as a surprise.
Of course I had never before done anything like that, but I didn’t want to let a tiny little detail like that stop me. A doll that looked just like my dad couldn’t be that hard to make…could it?
I decided that my first step would sculpt his head out of polymer clay. I baked it as directed on the package, then promptly found out the hard way that the baked clay will crack if you drop it. It was a good thing that I had already decided to give him a hat. A little paint, some glued-on yarn for eyebrows and a mustache and Dad was looking pretty good. In fact, I was rather pleased with the results. (I wasn’t nearly as pleased with my family’s incredulous remarks that I had actually made that head by myself.)
Then I got to work on his body. My research showed that a wire frame should be made and then wrapped with batting. Then a “skin” could be made for the doll. I got as far as making the skeleton as I called it. Then no matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to make the flesh for it.
So I put my dad away in a drawer for
a few months a little while.
When my parents came back in the spring, my guilt about the half finished doll started to weigh on me. It would have been so easy just to toss it and give it up as a lost cause. (Dad had no idea I was making it after all) but something in me wouldn’t allow that. So I dug him out and to my amazement, his body practically made itself. (Apparently he just like the hot weather just as much as I do!)
Right before my folks were getting ready to head East (Yes, they were abandoning me once again. I see no reason, whatsoever, for them to leave me to visit my stinky baby brother when I’m so obviously the favorite child) I presented my dad with his doll.
I think he liked it. Pretty much every time I talk to him, Dad gives me updates on how “Little John” is doing and how everyone just fawns over him.
Only we don’t call him a doll…Dad’s don’t have dolls, you know…