Florida Is More Southern Than the South

You won’t find many beaches, thongs or Cubans here in North Florida, but you will find about everything else.

Like giant rocking chairs,

big-ass trucks,

and bigger-ass trucks,

Things for the lawn, like sheds

and other things for the lawn (sold alongside western wear and hay).

Of course you’d find golf carts

and oranges

but you’d also find peanuts!

and 50 lb. bags of potatos

You’d also find people sleeping in tents

and maybe tee-pees (although I think the tee pee is just to attract tourists)

Of course there’d be people selling crafts, like on most highway, but I bet you wouldn’t expect to find the only hand-made Ragged Ann and Andy dolls in the country, would ya?

I pulled over immediately when I saw this sign

Not just because I hadn’t seen a Raggedy Ann doll in maybe twenty years

but because I’d never seen someone selling so many clowns in their front yard before.

I’d also never seen anyone decorate their house with a Raggedy Ann and Andy theme before.

Meet the lovely Viona Tew,

founder and owner of this little roadside company.

She’s out here selling these hand made dolls every single day on her car, except for when it rains.

She loves her country

and is particularly fond of Tinkerbell.

She told me her life story, like most people I encounter. I won’t go into the details of this amazing woman’s life, but I will tell you that she couldn’t afford her own doll as a child, so she taught herself how to make them. She’s whole-heartedly committed to making sure everyone who wants a doll gets a doll and that the dolls are treated with respect. For instance, when Viona was approached by a sorority from Gainesville, whose 6ft tall Raggedy Ann mascot doll was soiled beyond repair with beer and God knows what else, she sewed them a brand new 8ft tall one. Any guesses what happened to the old doll? Instead of burning it, like the sorority sisters asked, Viona buried it in her backyard because “she deserved a proper burial.”

Viona loves publicity as much as she loves these dolls. She sells them online, although not many people visit her website. This could be because her computer blew up, according to her. It might also have something to do with the fact that she’s not so internet-savy. “Since google done changed it’s name, I’m not so sure how to sell my dolls on the internet.” Believe it or not, for a minute I thought google might have actually changed their name since I’d seen Hot Tub Time Machine the night before, and that’s coincidentally what happened in that movie. Then I realized I’d just checked gmail from my phone not five minutes earlier and that I probably shouldn’t rely on sources on the side of the highway in the middle of nowhere, even if they’re positive google done changed their name.

If you want to buy a doll or just check out Viona’s adorable website, here’s the link.

She looks a little older now and has longer hair

But she’s still willing to sew special order giant dolls (4ft to 8 ft. tall)

and has started incorporating some diversity into her doll-making

Like Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls of color.

I know a lot of my stories are a mix of true and make-believe, but every bit of this story is true. I’m just not creative enough to make someone like Viona up.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Carolann Sherriff says:

    I would like to purchase the black raggedy Ann and Andy dolls

    1. I’m still trying to figure out if this is the proper website to buy the black raggedly Ann and Andy dolls dressed in blue, with black hair. I’m confused because they are advertised on this site.

  2. How do I purchase the black raggedy Ann and Andy dolls

  3. I like the black dolls

  4. I’m confused. I am looking for the site to see if I can buy raggedy ann dolls.

  5. I read that you were selling dolls. How do I go about buying a set of black raggedy Ann and Andy dolls? The other site you gave me for the dolls does not open.

  6. Katherine Diggs-Watson says:

    I know this story is true because I grew up in this area and she’s been alongside that road since I was a little girl and I bought one of the Raggedy Ann dolls a couple years ago for my granddaughter and today I stopped by looking for her although I haven’t seen her out there. I need to find her number or a way to contact her. If you know how to get in contact with her please, please let me know. I need one for my second granddaughter

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s