050 Ashley Peel Pinkham


My entire family is from the rural south. When we visited our families as kids we always wanted to go to my grandparent’s house the most. They lived on top of a remote mountain in the Ozarks in north central Arkansas. It was our favorite not because of the beautiful and idyllic scenery, but because of my grandmother’s amazing collection of dolls and toys. Some collectors have discerning taste, but my grandmother collected anything and everything from high end porcelain figurines to stuffed ALF dolls from the hit 80s sitcom. There were four-inch tall dolls lining the rooms and drawers full of doll parts and shoes. In her kitchen cabinets she stored souvenir mugs and other odds and ends including cheap plastic bird warblers. Little magical whistles in the shape of a bird that you fill with water and blow into to make a bird call. I loved these as a kid and we would play with them while she was making us a hardy (and most likely fried) southern meal. I didn’t know what they were called back then so I referred to them as whip-poor-wills after the birds that would make their unique song throughout the woods there. Years later, there was an electrical storm that caused trees to fall on the house and it burnt to the ground. Everything was lost. I picked up this orange warbler in memory of the house, my childhood memories and family lost but never forgotten. I’m happy to donate it to a different type of collection that hopefully will be more permanent than the house on the hill.