Sharing a legacy

Alisa Boswell

John Wall said he is honoring his mother’s request by selling her collection of more than 5,000 dolls.

Irene Wall collected dolls from all over the world for more than 50 years, including porcelain dolls, Barbie, Cabbage Patch dolls, baby dolls and much more.

“I was an only son and she collected them all this time knowing I’d be the one who ended up with them,” John Wall said, laughing.

Wall rented a store front next to Bealls on 18th Street and will be selling dolls for $1 to $10 through the end of the year.

“I know that was my mom’s legacy. It was what she was known for and she left them to me,” Wall said. “It’s hard to sell them but in the same breath, that’s what she wanted.

“I remember her having dolls from the time I was a small child. I don’t know what her interest in them was, but once she got the word out that’s what she collected, everyone started giving her dolls.”

Irene Wall died in early September at 90 years old.

“She told me, ‘sell them, don’t just give them away,’ so she wanted me to get something out of it,” he said. “She knew that someone’s getting them who would want them to remember their past and that’s what would mean a lot to her.”

Wall said customers in their 40s and 50s have approached him to ask if he has specific dolls from when they were children and many of them, he has sent away happy, such as one woman who was looking for a 1950s doll called Poor Pitiful Pearl.

“It was like I just gave her the greatest treasure,” Wall said. “And that doll’s name fit it ‘cause it was the ugliest thing.”

Sales have been brisk.

“If you want a doll, you can surely find something in here that catches your eye,” said Wall’s girlfriend, Patty Beggs, picking up one of the older generation dolls. “I love this one. It reminds me of Mary Poppins.”