AHSLEY — St. Leo’s/Holy Rosary Church Hall was filled with the color and creativity of more than 150 Barbies on Saturday, still in their original boxes and for sale to the benefit of the church.
The dolls seemed to brighten the faces of attendees, evoking memories of hours spent choosing the perfect outfit or crafting the perfect setting for a date with counterpart Ken.
The effort was a result of the generosity of Jean Ziegle, who recently passed away and directed the Barbies to be sold, not only to benefit a good cause but in order to bring joy into the lives of others.
Ziegle’s niece, Bernadette Druby, a member of the church, coordinated the event and especially enjoyed the reaction of young people to the Barbie dolls. The dolls included Barbie in the workplace, holiday Barbie, Barbie on vacation, in foreign counties, participating in a variety of sports and even Barbies that reflected such celebrities as Cher and Elvis.
Druby’s favorites, however, and often the favorite of collectors, were several “bridal Barbies,” complete with beautiful white dresses, carrying bouquets of carefully crafted flowers in high heels and sporting big smiles.
“A bridal Barbie would make a wonderful gift from a mom to a daughter as she is getting married,” said Druby. “Other Barbies would also be perfect for special occasions because of the variety of Barbies available in different roles.”
Druby reflected on her aunt’s passion for doll collecting, saying that Ziegle, who grew up in our area and then moved to Houston, began collecting when she was 50 years old. Every room of her house was filled with dolls, and she had extensive knowledge of every single one.
“She would be happy to know the dolls won’t simply be sitting on a shelf somewhere,” said Druby. “And they will brighten the lives of their new owners.”
One young attendee of the sale purchased seven of the dolls and was grateful for the opportunity to select from such a wide variety.
Ziegle’s granddaughter, Janine Klasen, on a visit from Houston also assisted at the sale. She remembers visits to family in the Ashley area as a youngster.
“I am so grateful to remember my grandmother through her dolls and to benefit such a wonderful area and church,” said Klasen.
The dolls were being sold at very reasonable prices, starting at approximately $20. Some rare and intricately crafted dolls were sold at higher prices.
Area interest in collection reflects a national and even global passion for the dolls, with Mattel estimating that there are well over 100,000 Barbie collectors.
For those who missed Saturday’s sale, the dolls will continue to be displayed and sold at the church’s annual festival June 19 through 21.