From the Ranch

From the Ranch

Friday, October 5, 2012

When I Was a Little Girl I Passed a House Every Day on My Way To School

When I was a little girl, everyday as I walked to school I wanted to go to the door of one of the houses I passed and knock on the door to see if I could come in.  The reason I always longed to do that was because the little white house had a little white sign in the window that read "doll hospital."  Year after year I walked past, wondering what wonderland lay in that little white house.  Then, and I can't even remember why, or what doll my dad decided he would take to the little doll hospital, but he announced on a Sunday afternoon we were going to the Doll Hospital.  Now I had never said a word about wanting to go there, but my dad has always been pretty observant, and very partial to little girls, and we always had everything my dad could afford to give us, and the most important and significant of those things was his time.  On Sunday afternoons, even though he didn't have many resources during my childhood, after church, after lunch, and then after his short nap, he nearly always took us on some little field trip.  We might go to the school grounds and fly kites, or little airplanes with red wind up propellers, or catch frogs or tadpoles and put then in a jar to take home, go for snow cones, or just a drive in the country.  My mom and dad were such sweet parents to us as we were growing up, and they still are.  On that one Sunday we took some doll and walked down the street to the house with the "doll hospital" sign.  I remember being terribly disappointed.  There were no rows of beds with little dolls lying in them, no nurses, and no "doll doctors."  It was just a perfectly ordinary living room.  The lady living there took the doll from my dad, made it little ticket out, and gave him a receipt.   As we walked down the steps my mother said in a cheerful voice to break my silent thoughts, "Well Sam, that was disappointing, let's go get a Dr. Pepper and a candy bar."  I have been consoling myself with a Dr. Pepper and candy bar ever since, and I must admit that technique has taken a toll.  

When Randy was last home on leave, despite my not wanting to go, (the being on crutches thing was really getting to me,) he insisted that he was taking me on a little get away.  We couldn't go far because we both had multiple doctor's appointments.  He had picked a little resort on Lake Conroe.  Now I am usually gun ho for every trip, but I wasn't feeling well, and I was a little blue.  When he started picking out my outfits and putting them in the suitcase, I realized I was going, and put what he had picked back, and got ready.  I had so much fun, and on a little trip into Old Spring Town, between Conroe and Houston, my disappointment from that Sunday afternoon so long ago, disappeared as he took me to The Doll Hospital in Old Spring Town.  It was everything I had dreamed it would be as a little girl.


Old Spring Town is full of wonderful little shops, bakeries, and restaurants, but of course my favorite was this little shop.  


The shop keeper was everything I had envisioned as a child, complete with a traditional lab coat, just like a "real doctor."

Since 1987, Mary Ann Pizzolato has been operating this little shop, and her background in chemical engineering was evident as she talked with a customer who had brought in some vintage dolls for restoration.  She had bought them for herself because her own collection had been stolen many years ago.  (I am convinced a little girl is in all of us women, and we love dolls until the day we die.)  The doll doctor was assuring her customer that she had chemicals to remove stains without damaging the beautiful dolls which were to be left in her care.  

 Mary Ann is no amateur either, and her reputation has landed the Doll Hospital a feature article in the December 1996 issue of "Good Housekeeping" magazine.  Then in 1999 of the November issue of "Parents Magazine, " the Doll Hospital was featured once again.  Both the Dallas Morning News, and the Houston Chronicle have done stories on the establishment, and of course little girls for years have made memories in the shop.  That isn't the end of their fame, with the Discovery Channel doing a feature piece, and on September 28th of 2000 "The Lynette Jennings Show" showcasing the shop, and the reputation of the business has been established literally around the world. Those of us who collect dolls, and manufacturers alike, share the story of the skills of the Doll Hospital to bring back a dear little friend.


There are white lace curtains, just as I expected, and row after row, and shelf after shelf of dolls.  It is too hard to decide which one is prettiest!  

Not only can you get your doll repaired, but you can buy 
beautiful new dolls, and all kinds of accessories!  


If you are in the Houston area, you shouldn't miss the Doll Hospital in Old Spring Town.  They are located just about 20 miles from Houston, and less than an hour from our house, if you are staying with us.  In fact, there are so many things to do and see in our area, that this story, along with their web site information, will be permanently available on a new page of our site.  We will be doing stories on all the intriguing little shops and special places near Soldier's Heart Ranch.  There is always something special to do with-in an hour's drive.

 You will note the Wicked Witch of the West, but look closer, Glenda the Good Witch
 is nearby, no cause for alarm!

Every doll shop must have baby dolls, and of course my favorite one there in the center is the "Army" baby.  His shoes were untied, and the good doctor noted that, and stopped to tie them and pose again with the doll.


No doll shop is complete without bride dolls!

 Accessories for dressing your dolls are always needed.

There are so many more dolls to see, but you will just have to go and look at all Mary Ann's beautiful dolls, and talk to her of her craft.  It was everything I had hoped it would be when my father took me to the Doll Hospital  fifty years ago, and it was well worth the wait!  Here's where you find the Doll Hospital in Old Spring Town.

The Doll Hospital
419 Gentry @#102
Old Spring Town, Texas 77373