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The ultimate in recycling

Sallie Satterthwaite's picture

Two short stories today, both with happy endings.

Alice was the most maternal of our children. She cuddled her dolls, she fed them and scolded them, and grew up to become the most-wanted babysitter in young Peachtree City. All three of the girls babysat, but Alice was the one people asked for when they called.

Dave’s parents traveled a lot – his father was a travel agent – and his mother (Alice’s namesake) picked up dolls she admired because she knew which grandchild would love them.

Soon there were more dolls than Alice could prop up on her bed.

My leaky memory being what it was, I can’t even describe which dolls came from what country, but Alice knew, and told visitors all about them.

Her dad built her a display cabinet and mounted it above her bed.

After she died in April of 1977, the dolls remained, unplayed with, in their cabinet. I had no plans to make her room a shrine, so in due time, we gradually worked at getting rid of things that belonged to her. Then we took out the wall between her room and ours, and made a really nice, big master bedroom for ourselves.

John Farr of Palmetto, a colleague of Dave’s at Owens-Corning Fiberglas, helped us with the heavy work. On the last day he would be working there, he brought his little daughter along. She saw the doll case and asked to see the dolls. I don’t remember half of them, but I do remember that the glitziest of them was a pair of Thai dancers in shimmering white sequins, their arms twining over their heads.

And it suddenly struck me: Why not give them to the child? We had no use for them, and there were no other family members interested, so I offered them to her. Her face lit up, and her father made the usual demurrers until he was satisfied she had not asked for them.

The dolls went home with Amy, and that was the last I thought about them.

John called Dave the other day, and mentioned something about the dolls, that they had been the subjects of many a Show-and-tell session. He said his daughter (who would now be in her late 30s) eventually donated the dolls to one of the elementary schools in Peachtree City, and it was on display there. The school was Peachtree City Elementary on Wisdom Road, the first, and for a long time, the only school in town. It was also Alice’s first school here.

We rode up there last Monday, and asked to see the doll display. Librarian Amanda White, Amy’s sister, came out of the media center and led us to a case in the hallway, in which books about travel and foreign lands were stacked like stages for the dolls to stand on.

They were smaller than I remembered, but there they were, including the Thai dancers, ever posed on their slender feet, arms raised above their heads.

Alice would approve.

When the Sharpsburg Curves for Women closed recently, a casualty of the economic downturn, Peachtree City Curves was able to accommodate their members to achieve their three-times-weekly workout.

Finding a new home for the exercise equipment was another matter.

The Sharpsburg franchise owner contacted the corporate headquarters about what to do with the equipment on which women exercised in a 30-minute circuit.

The Peachtree City club, now more than six years old, could not accommodate it and the corporate office said they could not take them back, and told the owner to sell them, if she wished.

If she couldn’t sell them, give them away. And if she couldn’t do that, the next stop would be the landfill.

The owner moved the equipment into her parents’ garage until she could find a place for them, when a broken water line flooded their house and they had to move the machines upstairs. That’s when she started trying to give them away.

They say that teachers and farmers gather or collect things that they “might need some day,” and are the packrats of the human community. The idea came to Lori Eagleson, manager of Peachtree City Curves: “Why not donate the equipment to a school?”

Calls were made and Booth Middle School became the grateful recipient of about a dozen pieces of workout equipment that are roughly the size of a bicycle and heavy enough not to tip when users climb aboard. A Better Way movers donated time, muscle, and a truck to move the machines from Sharpsburg to Peachtree City.

Debbie Martin, owner of the Peachtree City franchise, commended Lori. “This equipment could have become landfill, but with the quick thinking and assertiveness of a few individuals, children will start a fitness program that will help them reduce fat and build muscle. With the establishment of a better, healthier eating plan, students can be on a path to taking better care of their bodies.”

Talk about recycling. Curves and A Better Way took a bad situation and made it better for everyone.

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