Dollhouse grave


winter sucks
Little Nadine Earles was diagnosed with diphtheria, a contagious respiratory tract infection, in November 1933. The area around the Earles' house was roped off and the family was quarantined. Work on the dollhouse her father was building her came to a halt.
As the holidays approached, Nadine's condition grew worse when she developed pneumonia. Hoping to boost her spirits, her parents gave her two early Christmas presents - a china tea set and a life-size doll.
However, Nadine was not satisfied with those. She really wanted a playhouse, a project her father had started to build and planned to give her on Christmas.
Nadine replied to the incompletion of her beloved dollhouse with four simple words.
“Me want it now.”

Her response would never escape her father’s mind and is inscribed on the tombstone inside the dollhouse, which reads:

“Our Darling Little Girl, Sweetest In The World
April 3rd, 1929 – December 18th, 1933
Little Nadine Earles
In Heaven We Hope To Meet
‘Me Want It Now.’”

Linda Fulcher, who has lived in Lanett, Alabama most of her life, said, “Mr. Comer Earles, her dad, wanted to build her a dollhouse.
“He was a really great carpenter and just a really nice person, and he started it, I understand, at their home somewhere down close to the church.
“But he did not get to finish it, because he just ran out of time, and she was just really wanting that dollhouse soon. J.Comer Sr. went to that grave everyday until he died."
Fulcher’s parents were friends of the Earles.
According to a Valley Times-News article, by Jim Watson, published in 1989, the partially finished playhouse was transferred to Oakwood cemetery, and Nadine’s parents hired a contractor to complete it in the spring of 1934.
She finally had the dollhouse she always wanted.
Her parents filled the dollhouse with toys and continued to for years after Nadine’s death.
The woman in charge of decorating Nadine’s grave the past seven years, JoAnn Lewis, said,
“There were skates in there, you know just anything that was popular that year.
The parents, they did it, she never grew up in their minds.
They did it as what her age was when she died.”
Looking inside of the dollhouse from its front door, Nadine’s tombstone lies on the right, and there is a fireplace, no taller than 1 foot, on the left wall. The house’s original blue-concrete floor was replaced with light-blue carpet.
Currently, a navy-blue and white tea-set, a doll dressed in a red and white cloak, and two teddy bears wearing knitted-yarn clothing sit on the tombstone. Her red tricycle and other baby dolls are among some of the other toys in the dollhouse.

Also, on the window sill above the tombstone, is a picture of the children in Nadine’s class visiting the site for her birthday party many years ago.
According to Watson’s Valley Times-News article, “On April 3 1934—on what would have been Nadine’s fifth birthday—a party was held in the cemetery…They sang, had ice cream and bade their friend goodbye.”
Not only have Nadine’s friends and family visited the grave, but many Lanett residents, who never knew her, have visited Nadine and her dollhouse as well.
“Usually, in the afternoons when I drive by, I see someone just looking [at the house],” Lewis said.
Fulcher said that when she was growing up she and her friends used to ride their bicycles over to the cemetery on Christmas just to see what dolls and other toys Nadine got that year.
And children are still visiting Nadine’s grave.
According to Lewis, she has found candy, money and letters left by children for Nadine.
“They’d say I love you Nadine,” Lewis said. “They don’t know her, but they do that.”
Just last Christmas, Nadine’s mailbox was stuffed with letters from visitors, Lewis said.
Not only has the dollhouse attracted local visitors, but people from all over the country are interested in Nadine’s story.

Members of the community have chipped in to make sure that Nadine’s renowned dollhouse looks its best and stays in good condition.
Lewis has continued the tradition of decorating the dollhouse that the Town and Country Garden Club of Lanett started. The dollhouse is decorated for seasons and holidays, especially Christmas.
For Christmas, Lewis puts a small tree inside and a tea set on the fireplace mantel. Occasionally, she puts candles in the windows, and icicle lights are strung around Nadine’s dollhouse as well.

Also, contractors have repainted Nadine’s dollhouse, inside and out, since 1933, Lewis explained.
Besides the repainting and addition of blue carpet, few things have changed in Lanett’s favorite dollhouse since its completion nearly 77 years ago.
A picture of Nadine used to hang above the fireplace in her dollhouse that is no longer there.
The black and white picture highlighted her large toothless smile and her bouncy brunette curls.
In the house’s yard fenced off by bricks, there are two major additions. Julian Comer Earles’ grave, inscribed with 'Daddy Of Little Nadine,' and Alma Earles’ grave, inscribed with 'Mama Of Little Nadine'.

Nadine had 2 bothers... J. Comer Jr. (Sept. 7, 1931-Sept. 12, 2003) and brother Jimmy, age unknown.

The picture that hung over the mantle

The doll gravehouse

Walking in the door, Nadine's grave to the right

Closeup of the picture in the window, Nadine's 5th birthday party at the gravesite, 1934

The back wall

Miniature fireplace on the left wall, 1 foot high

Looking outside

As it looked after 10 years, 1944...I think that's her mother on the right

Parent's graves, mother in front - father along side


I can not imagine the pain a mother or father goes through losing a child. My heart hurts to the ones who have had to go through that. I think the dollhouse is so sweet and a wonderful shrine to their child. Makes me sad.


Something Ironic...
Grief over the death of a child can make parents do some very strange things:(
Yes it can! I understand about them forever thinking of her at the age she died, because even though if T.J. were alive today he would be 21, in my mind he will forever stay 7. I can't picture him any other way, and if I were to buy him something now it would be for A 6/7 yr. old little boy. I think it is wonderful that they still take care of her beloved little house 77 yrs. later! :)


Morbidly Curious
Her parents were so heart broken...wish she had lived just long enough to see that dollhouse. It would have made her so very happy. Now, people from all around go to her grave and celebrate her short life. When I die, no one will weep for me, but everyone wept for her, and still do to this day. Very special little girl!