, Port Arthur, Texas

December 4, 2012

Carlin's collected treasures

Morgan Jones
The Port Arthur News

GROVES — Hundreds of porcelain dolls, are in different rooms and display cases throughout Donna Carlin's home. Shapes, sizes and color of the dolls vary, with a story to go along with each one of them.

She started collecting dolls when she was a young girl. About 100 of them were given to her and another 100 were bought online and brought back from trips. "Every time we go to different countries, I bring back dolls," she said.

Carlin's favorite doll is displayed in a glass showcase in the front room of her home. "It's the only one my husband, Ronnie, bought me," she explained. "It is from Europe. No dolls in Europe are the same as in the states." Many have freckles and details that dolls from the states don't have.

In the same showcase, under her favorite doll is a bridal doll with a wedding dress on. Next to that is a crown and veil Carlin wore on her wedding day 49 years ago. This week, Donna and her husband, Ronnie, are celebrating their anniversary.

Travelling is a big part of Donna and Ronnie's life but this time, she will go overseas without him. Carlin is planning her second trip to Israel with a friend of hers from high school for sightseeing.

"I love to travel. Ronnie and I have had the opportunity to visit Europe several times. We have enjoyed being able to travel," she said.

The Carlin's have been to 13 different countries. "You get to know people when you go with people from your area. Everywhere you go is completely different from home. You see God's beautiful World," she said.

Donna is retired after 14 years from 5 Point Credit Union. "It started as Texaco. I loved it. It was a wonderful place to work," she said.

She is a breast cancer survivor and expresses that if something is questionable to have it checked again.

"Start mammograms early so they have a good reading," she said.

While on the medicines for cancer, she had a side effect of a stroke. "I didn't feel anything different but I was slurring my words and seeing double," she said. "Now, I'm a little unbalanced."

Donna and Ronnie go dancing at Larry's French Market when they can.

She is a member of First Baptist Church in Groves and attends Joy of Living Bible Study.

"It's ladies from other churches and denominations that attend," she said.

Carlin goes walking everyday and goes to Curves as much as possible. She is also a member at Weight Watchers. "It's not a diet. It's a way of living. It's so simple and you can eat more than you think you can," she said.

She has two daughters and three grandchildren. "Two of my grandchildren attend Lamar University and the other goes to Legacy Christian Academy in Beaumont."

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