The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.sculpt
    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
  • Front.tar.wide
    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
  • Front.pull
    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
  • Front.ropes
    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.

Carma Sutton is Barbie's Best Friend 2007.11.07

Written by David Green.


Carma Sutton is just about out of the Barbie doll business, but they’ve certainly been a part of her life for a long time.

She and Barbie go back to 1959, the year Barbie was introduced by Mattel and when her daughter, Jeannie, received her first one.carma.sutton.jpg

“Jeannie had one of the first Barbie dolls out and she got me started making clothes,” Carma said.

Jeannie surely had the best-dressed Barbie in the area. Even after she was finished playing with Barbies, people remembered her mother’s miniature dresses and sweaters.

People still asked Carma for doll clothing and she used to sell a few items. She would knit tiny sweaters, crochet a dress and sew a blouse.

Years later—decades later—Carma’s work with Barbie dolls led to a project that has brought a Merry Christmas to dozens and dozens of little girls.

When a shopper at Fayette’s St. Vincent de Paul store found a clean, bright-looking Barbie, it was Carma Sutton who had made it look new again.

Barbie rehab

Long after her daughter had graduated and moved away, Carma remembers trips to Salvation Army stores with Louva Brooks. The two friends sometimes went looking for bargains.

They were looking for clothing, but Carma couldn’t help but pause when she went past the Barbies.

She often bought two or three and brought them home to spruce up.

When the St. Vincent de Paul store was built in the early 1990s, Phil and Betty Monahan were the doll cleaners, but eventually Carma got involved—at least with the Barbies. They were her specialty, and she became the Barbie volunteer for many years.

“They come messed up and I fix them,” Carma said. “Sometimes you wonder if kids really appreciate them.”

Year after year, she refurbished more than a hundred dolls for each Christmas.

Most of them needed a good scrubbing to return the “skin” to its original luster. The clothes needed to be washed—sometimes bleached—and many dolls were in need of new outfits.

“I made a lot of the clothes, but I got tired of that,” she said.

She had a collection of used outfits and footwear. Sometimes a drop of glue was needed to keep one of Barbie’s glamorous boots from falling off.

Carma’s Barbie hair salon presented the biggest challenge. It can take an hour to make a doll’s hair look good again.

Little girls like to unbraid a doll’s hair, but when that happens, it generally turns into a big frizz.

Carma has spent a lot of time rebraiding and making a new style. With many problem cases, Barbie goes out the door with hair a lot shorter than when she came in.

When a bald Barbie comes in, Carma got out her needles and crocheted a little hat.

Carma worked on Barbies through July of this year, but then at age 93, she decided to turn the job over to a new volunteer from Hillsdale County. She passed on her collection of pieces—all sorted and bagged—and she’s looking forward to seeing what the new Barbie lady produces.

“I won’t miss the worry,” Carma said about the rush toward Christmas, but she can’t completely leave behind the doll that’s been a part of her life for so many years.

“I’ll still take a few to fix up,” she said. “I really like Barbies.”

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