Days Gone By - stories from the past

She died before Christmas – Parents love for a child has no bounds – this story is a heart breaker

A cemetery is a strange place to find a miniature red-brick house complete with windows, fireplace, front porch with a mailbox. There is such a house in Oakwood Cemetery in Lanett, Alabama.


According to the Alabama Currents magazine article, by Lanett City Hall Human Resource Manager Jennie Gunnells, published in 2010, Nadine, daughter of Julian Comer and Alma Earles, was diagnosed with diphtheria, a contagious respiratory tract infection, in November 1933. Her health worsened quickly when she contracted pneumonia a few weeks later.

Since she was so ill, her parents gave her a doll and a tea set, but Nadine was not satisfied with these gifts. She wanted a playhouse. Her father was building one and he planned to give it to her for Christmas. When Nadine heard her father’s explanation she replied, “Me want it now.”nadine's playhouse3

She died before a few days before Christmas and her distraught father never forget her words. 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. Nadine’s wish was granted 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.nadine's playhouse 5

 

Her parents filled the dollhouse with toys and continued to for years after Nadine’s death. The house has been turned over to the city to keep. Her parents are buried on the same site.

 

The Tombstone Inscription Reads:

“Our little daughter,
sweetest in the world.
Little Nadine
April 3, 1929
Dec. 18, 1933
In Heaven we hope to meet.
Me want it now.”

Nadine's playhouse party

 

 

 

Books by Donna R. Causey

Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) – A novel inspired by the experiences of the Cottingham family who immigrated from the Eastern Shore of Virginia to Alabama

 

Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) (Paperback)

By (author):  Causey, Donna R

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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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86 comments

  1. This house in the cemetery is awesome.

  2. I was raised in the Valley in my younger years in my childhood, till i was about 8-10. Then moved to Opelika. Since my family from both sides is from all over the Valley area, we visited quite often. So, I would see that beautiful house from time to time. I didn’t know the full story until I was an adult, married n have children of my on. It is a very special place and I hope it always continues to be taken care of.

  3. That cemetery is just a few miles from my house.

  4. What a sad story. So glad I saw this.

  5. Been by there so many times. Enjoyed the video and the cotton mill video also. Parents & grandparents have roots there.

  6. I know that cemetery! Thanks for sharing.

  7. What a precious undying love.

  8. Here’s another example.
    Idk that I’d call it weird though.
    http://www.cultofweird.com/death/dollhouse-graves/

    1. I wonder if the two Indiana memorials were constructed by the same contractor? The deaths were 9 years apart, but the structure is the same… Outside trim is different, but otherwise, the same.

  9. Wow! What a memorial for the little girl. I have been through Lanett several times. If I go through it again, I want to look this cemetery up and see this.

    1. If you know where Lanett High School is, the cemetery is behind it. If you’re coming up in front of the school, on your right is the playground, you’d take a left at the red light. Or if your coming up straight from hwy29, then go straight thru the red light. The cemetery is on the right, you can see the doll house from the main road. It’s very darling to see.

      1. Sorry, not the high school..the jr high school

  10. The loss of a child is like a knife in your heart….I know.

  11. I grew up there and saw this precious little house many times. Such a wonderful tribute.

  12. Growing up in that area I have seen this and told the story when I was a child. They are all together in Heaven. RIP

  13. I used to teach at Lanett Jr. High. Neat story .

  14. My wife and I lived in the Lanett area years ago. One day as we were driving around we saw this little brick building in the cemetery. At first we thought it to be a care-taker’s tool shed but it looked out of place. We stopped, got out and walked up to it. When we realized what it was we were shocked. Did a little research to find out more about it. All I can say is that this is such a fitting and tragic tribute.

  15. So sad. It is a shame they did not have it put at a children’s hospital courtyard or somewhere it would benefit someone in honor of their daughter.

  16. I use to live a couple of streets over from this cemetery. Passed it everyday. Such sweet loving tribute.

  17. I have been there. My sister, Bobbie lives just up the street from there.

  18. I have seen this precious house many times. I have Aunts and other family buried in this cemetery.

  19. I’ve noticed, over the years of tromping around cemeteries, that when parents lose a child, sometimes they cannot let go. So they put up another and another head stone and statues of dogs and hunting gear, etc. Basically all that child enjoyed. One very poor couple, back in the early 1900s, built a rounded headstone of cement with marbles pushed into and all around the structure. It finally fell apart almost 100 years later. So sad, because it wasn’t fixed. It was just gone.

  20. My parents lived in Lanett before they passed away….saw this little house many times….

  21. Is the little girl buried beneath the doll house?

    1. If you watch the video, you can see the slab grave marker inside the house. The tea set and some of the stuffed animals are sitting on it.

  22. I grew up in Lanett and my memory as child was such sadness when I went by the little house. My grandparents are buried close by .

  23. I grew up a portion of my younger life in Lanett and live in Valley. I see it from time to time and visited the doll house before. It is a touching story.

  24. i live very close to this location, I must go see for myself

  25. So sad , but wonderful too.

  26. This cemetery was behind my grandparents house. I remember the doll house well.

  27. I have been there . It is amazing

  28. Duggermfamily picture?

  29. Dugger family picture?

  30. so sweet but so sad to loose your daughter oh my!

  31. Touched my Heart; Great but sad story!

  32. I have been there many times !!!! So beautiful and calming !!!

  33. We lived across the street from the cemetry . As a kid I would walk around the whole cemetery, We called it the doll house. I would sit there looking in the windows wishing I knew that lovely child. The house has been refinished over the years , In the early70`s it was wood painted white. Momma & Daddy still live there

  34. We lived across the street from the cemetry . As a kid I would walk around the whole cemetery, We called it the doll house. I would sit there looking in the windows wishing I knew that lovely child. The house has been refinished over the years , In the early70`s it was wood painted white. Momma & Daddy still live there

  35. Would love to see this. Childhood disease used to kill so many children. Marvin’s grandfather had two little girls die in one week.

  36. This is in the cemetery behind what used to be my grandparent’s house. I remember going to that dollhouse many times during my childhood.

  37. My grandpa is buried near hers.

  38. Have visited this cemetary several times.

  39. John Mark I don’t know that I ever knew this part of the story… Did you?

  40. I have driven by this cemetery and knew little of the story of this doll house. Enjoyed reading the full story of what happened to the very young child.

  41. I’ve been to her house many times and always have to wipe a tear away when I leave.Its heartbreaking

  42. My Mother and Father are buried within sight of the Dollhouse. I remember seeing this my whole life. It’s a beautiful tribute from their family to little Nadine.

  43. Wow. I go thru Lanett all the time. Going to have to find this.

  44. What a sweet and sad story! Thank you for finding it and sharing it with us! I am learning so many interesting things about Alabama that I never knew!!!

  45. A parents love has no bounds

  46. Oh, Joe! What a great post. Will add this to my bucket list. Thank you for sharing

  47. Since I grew up in Valley, I have, also, seen it many times. It is a beautiful little house filled with dolls and toy furniture.

  48. Brenda Stephens Harrelson Bear Harrelson

  49. Very familiar with that little house.

  50. Great story,putting this on my list to see in Al.

  51. Collen have you been there? So sad!

  52. This is in Lanett, Al . If you are in Lanett, you must see it.

  53. Several relatives buried near this.

  54. Very Heartwarming and sad at the same time. I’d love to visit this doll house the next time I’m visiting family in AL.

  55. All that background is houses now

  56. Well worth a visit to Lanett to see this. It is so sweet.

  57. A father’s love for his daughter, heartbreaking.

  58. Beautiful but heartbreaking.

  59. It surely was a heartbreaking story. Their love for their child has no limits and I am about to cry. Such a sad story!

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