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This time, rather than weather, antiques, food, family, house, and myriad other things, I'd like to say a word about my old friends Joan and Larry Kindler of Whitestone, NY. Joan, Larry and I have known each other through thick and thin (and fat for me!), since the very early 1970's when Kathy Schoemer Antiques was positively embryonic, and my focus was American stoneware and redware pottery. Yes, we shared that first passion and then moved on to dolls, Joan having a much more cerebral and wide-ranging interest, while I focused on cloth dolls. Not to say that Joan wasn't the champion of cloth too; she has a very sensitive eye for that subject and so we crossed paths often.
I spent some of my happiest times in that house on 140 St in Whitestone, just over the big bridge of the same name. Joan and Larry's daughter, Janet, can laugh with me about well-remembered events
of that time, because, as far as I know, all Kindlers are very, very funny people (especially son, Andy, who is a real, professional comedian). The main source of that incredible humor was Larry. All of us who did shows in those years can close our eyes and see and hear Larry - his wonderful voice resounding and embracing all of us. A warmer, sweeter, more adorable man does not exist in my experience, and so when I heard that Larry had passed into eternity in January, the world shut down for a few minutes, and a disturbing quiet came over my world to imagine life without him, and to try and imagine Joan without that teddy bear next to her, always protective, always caring, always totally attentive. The Kindler kids had the best marriage on the planet to emulate. Joan's daughter told me that her son, at Larry's service, said something like -"There's a rumor that Larry Kindler died. That rumor is not true." (Forgive me if that quote is not exactly accurate, Kindlers.) Oh, that is so true.
Such a spirit lives!! On my last visit not long ago, to Joan and Larry to purchase - what else? - a great cloth doll, as we were winding up our delightful chatter, Larry reminded Joan that they were going to gift a doll to me, a doll I had always admired, sitting in a chair in that beloved living room, where so many happy hours were spent. He jumped up and got the doll - a real beauty which turns out to be a highly desired rubber doll from the American 19th century. The doll had been missing lower arms, and I enlisted the master, Michelle Camden, to restore them. This all comes to mind because on April 19th, at the Sturbridge Doll Show, Michelle brought the doll back to me, with exceptionally perfect old arms.Thank you, Michelle. Thank you, Joan. Most of all, thank you, darling Larry, for leaving this delightful piece of Kindler-dom with me to cherish, and Godspeed, Larry, to the land of the origin of humor and love. We will never forget you.