Woman keeps several of the items in her home

Woman keeps several of the items in her home

Posted: Wednesday, February 2, 2011 8:01 pm

By PAM CASSADY
The Daily News
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — Having a hobby is a perfectly acceptable pastime. Some people collect baseball cards or stamps, others might knit or sew.
While there are lots of hobbies to choose from, Carol Spinks of Bowling Green came up with one on her own that can be a bit startling when you walk into her home.
Sitting on sofas and standing around the living room are seven life-size mannequins who appear to be enjoying a visit with friends.
“It wasn’t a hobby I set out to do,” Spinks said with a laugh, admitting that she sometimes apologizes to visitors who aren’t quite sure what to think about the unusual decor. And the seven in the living room aren’t the only ones. Throughout the home, in various poses and sizes, are a total of 19 full-size mannequins.
Spinks credits her love of flea markets and dolls, as well as her profession, with creating her unique interest. A retired teacher, Spinks got her first mannequin, a seated male, to use in her sixth-grade class at Bristow Elementary School.
“We called him Marvin,” Spinks said. The class would use him in lessons and when no one wanted to confess to doing something wrong, they would blame Marvin.
“The kids loved him,” Spinks said. When she saw an advertisement for a female mannequin, she decided Marvin needed a friend and it grew from there. “I just kept finding more.”
Spinks began to use the mannequins to display family heirlooms. Two dressed as her parents, Gatewood and Eunice Brown, are in the living room. The man is holding her father’s World War II jacket and flight book while the woman is wearing the outfit worn by Spinks’ mother on her wedding day. Her in-laws are also represented in the room with her mother-in-law wearing her wedding dress, too.
“At first, my husband and kids thought I was nuts,” Spinks admitted, but now they have come to accept it.
“It’s different,” said her daughter, Amelia. “But it’s something she loves.”
An admitted packrat, Spinks has various collections throughout her home. Her kitchen is done in Coca-Cola memorabilia, a bathroom is filled with pictures and items from classic television shows such as “I Love Lucy,” and there are dolls and figurines throughout. She has many family items she’s kept over the years and she uses the mannequins to display them.
In the den are two child-size mannequins, one dressed in a cheerleading outfit and the other in a gymnastics outfit.
“I had two girls who cheered and one who did gymnastics,” Spinks explained.
Another child-size mannequin is wearing her brother’s Boy Scout uniform and one is wearing her husband’s sports jacket from he was a student.
“I’ve always collected dolls,” Spinks said. “Someone once said that now I just have bigger dolls.”
Those bigger dolls were about to take over some rooms on the first floor of the two-story home, so when her oldest daughter got married, Spinks decided to turn her room into a slumber party frozen in time. The pajama-clad mannequins seem to be having a blast. One has Spinks’ huge old curlers in her hair, while another lounges on a bed amid old Beatles albums. Underneath an old-fashioned hair dryer, one girl is flipping through a scrapbook from the 1930s. On the floor, one party-goer seems to be searching for something under the bed, as all you can see are her legs. But, Spinks explained, she placed the girl like that because she has no upper body.
“Sometimes I’ll just buy body parts,” she confessed.
When she and her husband, Steve, are out browsing flea markets, she keeps her eyes open for anything to add to her collection and has a hard time saying no.
“I can’t pass it up, but I need to because I’m running out of room,” Spinks said.
A used mannequin can cost around $70, while a new one can run anywhere from $150 to $400. Spinks’ latest addition to her collection was a Christmas gift.
While the mannequins throughout the Spinks home usually stay in their designated locations, Amelia confessed that she and her sisters have been known to move them around as a prank and to shock their parents and each other.
While some may think her collection a bit bizarre, for Spinks the mannequins are a great way to enjoy the items she has kept and collected over the years.
“It’s the remembering I enjoy,” she said.
As for being creeped out by these realistic statues throughout her home, Spinks says they don’t bother her at all.
“I don’t pay attention to them anymore,” Spinks said. “And they’re actually great to talk to because they don’t talk back.”

Published in The Messenger 2.2.11

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