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Reader Exchange: Christmas brings out holiday wishes

By Linda D. Cole and Ingrid L. Kohler, Times Staff Writers
Published December 15, 2007


The time is growing short, and the Christmas beat intensifies. Some of these requests may be too late to be filled this holiday, but, hey, a little Christmas magic may be all that's needed.

Martha Hickey and her husband have a couple of bicycles a man's and a woman's that should be easy to fix up for kids who need wheels. They are fairly old and need a little work, probably just new tires, maybe a bit of paint. The couple know there are charities that recycle bikes for needy children at Christmas: They just don't know how to locate them. Maybe our readers can help. Please call (727) 786-5613.

What would Christmas be without the music? Martha Clairmont of St. Petersburg hopes she doesn't learn the answer to that question this year.

Martha is homebound and gets a lot of enjoyment from playing the piano. During a recent move she lost a lot of piano music, including her Christmas carol book. She would deeply appreciate a book of Christmas music should you have a spare. Please call (727) 545-5054 and get Martha's piano keys in tune with the holidays.

Need some Styrofoam peanuts for packing or making garlands for the Christmas tree? Mary Broeker of Seminole has 2 1/2 large bags of them, and she says, "Come and get 'em." (727) 392-4706 is the number to call.

Jan Lynne has a toy-related Christmas rush. She very much wants to replace a small cloth doll that belonged to her daughter and was lost under sad circumstances. Jan's daughter doesn't play with dolls anymore, but Jan wants to replace it anyway. That's because her daughter had a daughter very recently, and Jan wants both new mom and new baby to share this doll, starting on Christmas day if possible.

The doll, named Baby Beans, was made by Mattel in 1971. She is 11 inches long and has a vinyl face. She is dressed in a blue sleeper with white flowers and a matching bonnet. That bonnet covers a tuft of blond hair. She also has a pull string at the base of her neck (she was made to talk, but that feature need not be functioning).

If you can help stir old memories and start new ones with this little doll, please e-mail Jan at or call (727) 866-0089.

Remember the old-timey Lincoln Logs? Back in the day you bought the logs and supplied the imagination; nowadays you buy a set with logs that are cut to fit a predetermined pattern; each step is dictated by a diagram.

Genny McDonald of Tarpon Springs wants some of the bygone Lincoln Logsfor her grandson. Heck, we may have a blossoming architect here, not just another guy who reads directions. Please call (727) 459-1296 if you can help.

Peggy Mills, age 92 and living in a nursing home, needs seashells, coral and sea fans, both large and small, to decorate Christmas gift items. Her daughter will pick them up in Hernando County and surrounding terrain. Please call her daughter at (352) 476-6020 or e-mail

Here's a poignant request in the spirit of the season. Joanne writes that a friend of hers, a single mother-to-be, is due to give birth to twins on Dec. 27. Tests have revealed that at least one of the babies will be born with health problems.

Pregnancy issues are keeping this young woman from working full time, and she is barely making it on her own. She needs cribs and clothing, especially diapers, for the babies. But just about anything for infants can be used. She can pick up items in the Brooksville area; please call (352) 277-2344.

Diane Wiktorski writes that her family's tree is beautiful, thanks to the "snow-flake lady," who introduced many of us to a whole new way to bring snow indoors with the help of soap. Both children and adults enjoyed making and applying the snow.

Diane's request to our readers is another holiday emergency totally unrelated to snow. At the end of the movie Polar Express, Diane reminds us, the boy receives a red-and-white striped box that contains a reindeer bell. If you have seen this film and remember the box, Diane hopes you might also be able to replicate it. (We get the impression that the reindeer bell is a separate and unrelated issue!) A box like the one in the film is obviously involved in a Christmas surprise at the Wiktorski home, because it is needed before Christmas.

If you can help, please call (727) 422-3044.

Natalie Noga of Spring Hill is searching for old practice plastic golf balls and out-of-use soccer balls, basketballs and/or softballs. She takes them to SPCAs and Humane Societies for the cats and dogs to play with. She will pick up the items. Call (352) 684-9044 and leave a message, or e-mail

Send requests to Reader Exchange, Floridian, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg 33731 or e-mail


[Last modified December 14, 2007, 10:14:20]

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