“I told him I would move but I needed three things,” she explained during an interview at her screened-in porch. “I wanted a donkey, a gazebo and a convertible.”
She got the donkey, named Jodie, and a gazebo, built by her son, Jeff. But instead of the convertible, Godfrey is now the proud owner of a new building that houses her impressive collection of dolls.
“I’ve always loved dolls,” Godfrey said. “When I got married 58 years ago, I stopped collecting and didn’t start again until my children were teenagers.”
The couple’s children, Jackie Daehn, Elizabeth McKay and Jeff Godfrey, have blessed the family with six grandchildren, Barbie (named after her grandmother, Barbara (Jane), not the popular doll), Kris, Eddie, Marilyn, Amber and Jade. They also have 12 great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter.
After the children were almost grown, Godfrey realized she needed something to do.
As her collection grew, Godfrey started going to doll shows and found more and more favorites.
After she retired from her position as the Dike postmaster in 1992, she began to dream about a building to house the collection. Her husband of 58 years, who still works at O’Reilly Auto Parts, teased her about playing with dolls, but his attitude changed once he, too, started attending doll shows.
The collection grew so large that the couple were being pushed out of the house.
“I never thought I’d have a museum,” she said. “It was just a dream. But, as the collection grew, we had a choice. We could either move out or build a museum. So, last year, we started on the building here next to the house.”
Godfrey’s collection includes several Shirley Temple dolls, a shelf devoted to Lucille Ball, a case that houses the entire cast of “Gone With The Wind,” complete with Bonnie Blue Butler, the child of Rhett and Scarlett, and Belle Whatley, the madam of the house of ill repute in Atlanta.
Dolls from “The Wizard of Oz,” “Little Women” and the popular Raggedy Ann and Andy are also a part of the museum.
When asked how many dolls she has, Godfrey sighs and says, “I have no idea how many dolls there are. The collection is a work in progress. My husband says if a doll moves in, it never moves out. There’s so much to do, but I love it.”
Janie’s Doll Museum is now open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. The museum is located 2.2 miles north of the loop on State Highway 19. Tickets are $3.50 for adults, $2 for children and $3 for groups. Private tours can also be arranged by calling 903-885-3956.
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