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

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
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    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
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    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.skelton.vigil
    MORENCI’S three Skelton brothers were remembered with both tears and laughter last week during a candlelight vigil at Wakefield Park. Several people came out of the crowd to give their recollection of the boys who have now been missing for five years.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.

Carma Sutton is Barbie's Best Friend 2007.11.07

Written by David Green.

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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