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Little Flower Doll Hospital

 

 

 

 

 

 Inside Covington's

Little Flower Doll Hospital

As reported by River City News Covington, Ky. 04/08/2014

 

 

 

  •   River City News Article

    TUE, 04/08/2014 - 15:30 ADMIN

     

    Dolls passed through generations of family members can become worn and weathered

     

    throughout the years but when a head falls off, a face gets dirty, or an original dress is

     

    ripped there is sanctuary.  Nestled in a tiny upstairs office on Covington's Madison Avenue

     

    a wife and husband team of plastic surgeons. And glass surgeons, whatever the case may be.

     

    Sheila and Don Lubbers operate the Little Flower Doll Hospital and have restored family

     

    treasures for the past fourteen years. After first welcoming damaged dolls to an office in

     

    Florence, Little Flower moved to the second floor of 428 Madison Avenue in 2007.

     

    "Covington is a really great city," Sheila Lubbers said. "We try to walk to work and keep

     

    everything centralized." The Lubbers live in the Mutter Gottes neighborhood.

  • Page Two

    Sheila does most of the restoration work, repairing broken limbs and clothing and even

     

    creating new ones when necessary, while Don has become an expert on eye restoration and

     

    on restoring the mechanical boxes hidden in the guts of speaking dolls and toys

    .

    Her work as a doll surgeon of sorts arrived after a path led Sheila through careers with

     

    some of Cincinnati's most iconic department stores such as Pogue's and Giddings where she

     

    created window displays, while her education at the Art Academy also prepared her for the

     

    hands-on labor of bringing nearly-lost heirlooms back to glory.

     

     

    It all started when Sheila began teach doll-making and art classes at Covington's Baker

     

    Hunt.  Now Little Flower has carved a niche in a region without many options for such work

     

    and attracts return customers, the hospital's most common patrons, from around the region,

     

    and sometimes, the country.  The Lubbers can restore dolls from the Victorian era to modern-day

     

    Barbies. "We try to keep everything as original as possible," Sheila said.  Their work extends

     

    beyond dolls and into statues, too. One statue of the Virgin Mary laid face down in water for

     

    nearly a hundred years before arriving at Little Flower and leaving with a new shine. Another

     

    statue, one of Saint Joseph holding the Baby Jesus which was missing a hand, also left with

     

    a new hand attached.  "We made the hand of God," Don joked.  From body parts and eyes,

     

    the Lubbers can also restore doll wigs sometimes with real human hair    "I just see the merit in

     

    this," Sheila said.  So do her many customers, some of whom have retained a child-like attachment

     

    to dolls and toys from their past. The oldest doll to be serviced at Little Flower Doll Hospital dated

     

    back to 1820  Recently,  the pair fixed a Snoop Dogg figurine.

  • Page Three

     

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    Little Flower Doll Hospital's name is derived from St. Therese of Lisieux, known as the Little

     

    Flower of Jesus. The saint once wrote, "How quickly those sunny years of early childhood

     

    passed away, and how sweet the memories they have left behind! I think with delight of the

     

    Sunday walks when our beloved Mother always accompanied us. Indeed, I can still feel the

     

    the vivid and poetic impressions made on my childish heart by the vision of the cornfields

     

    studded with cornflowers, poppies, and daisies. All the beauties of nature cast their spell

     

    upon me and raised my soul to Heaven.

     

     

    For more information, visit:  The Little Flower Doll Hospital.com

     

     

    -Michael Monks,editor

 

Copyright 2000