If you had asked any of my co-workers during my more than two decades in the news industry what I would be doing post-retirement, I am quite sure none would have predicted I would be knitting dolls and doll clothes. And yet, to me, it makes perfect sense.
Dolls have always held a fascination for me. My earliest memories of childhood are usually tied to "dolls I have known and loved". Deep in the darkest reaches of my memory bank is Thumbelina, a baby doll I craved as a pre-schooler. There were tiny dolls like my treasured, inch-tall Disneykins, my Liddle Kiddles and trolls. There were the fashion dolls like Barbie and Tammy and (be-still-my-heart!) my namesake Debbie dolls. There were soft and cuddly Raggedy Ann and Andy, and hard and brittle three-foot walking dolls. I even loved paper dolls. Every month I would look forward to the Betsy McCall cutout dolls that my grandmother would save for me. A special memory is my talking doll, red-headed Charmin' Chatty, a tall, freckled and bespectacled charmer who said random phrases when you pulled a string on her back. There were matryoshka dolls and, alas, the exquisite and fragile collector doll with real horsehair braids and hand-made and embroidered traditional Ukrainian costume that I adored but ruined as a young child, too young to truly appreciate its worth. The list goes on.
Come to think of it, from the very beginning, I hand-stitched dolls from fabric scraps and crafted clothes from bits of fabric, felt, yarn, even kleenex and toilet tissue! As I got older, I took up sewing, making my own clothes and the odd outfit for a doll. When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, it was always the same answer - "a dress designer"! That is, until I entered high school, when I realized I possessed
neither the drawing skills nor the imagination to be successful in my coveted career!
So, you see, it's not so odd to find myself spending my retirement in my loft craft room I have dubbed The Playpen, turning skeins of yarn into one-of-a-kind dolls with individual personalities, and miniature fashions for stylish poppets. I am just coming home. My second childhood.