From Worthington to Crailsheim, to Arizona and back to Crailsheim, potty chair to make dollhouse complete again

WORTHINGTON -- A piece of dollhouse furniture given to Martha "Marnie" (Cashel) McCarthy 21 years ago is on its way back to Crailsheim, Germany to be reunited with the dollhouse from which it came.

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Theodora Cashel sent the dollhouse that belonged to her daughter, Marnie, to Crailsheim, Germany in 1948, complete with all of the original furniture. In this photo, taken in 2017, the dollhouse is displayed in the Stadtmuseum in Crailsheim. (Julie Buntjer / The Globe)

WORTHINGTON - A piece of dollhouse furniture given to Martha “Marnie” (Cashel) McCarthy 21 years ago is on its way back to Crailsheim, Germany to be reunited with the dollhouse from which it came.

The plastic piece of furniture, by the way, is a toilet.

Carola (Stiller) Schnabl, the Crailsheim exchange student to Worthington in 1985-86, was given the little blue plastic commode last week while visiting Marnie and Bill McCarthy in Arizona. When she and her husband, Ralf, return to Crailsheim this weekend, the toy toilet will be delivered to the Stadtmuseum, the city museum, and the dollhouse on display in the Worthington room.

The dollhouse was one of McCarthy’s childhood toys, shipped to Crailsheim in 1948 by her mother, Theodora, as a gift to a family with young girls who would treasure it. McCarthy, then 13, didn’t have much use for the two-story, multi-room dollhouse and all of its furnishings as a teen.

The Bechtel family in Crailsheim received the dollhouse and kept it and all of its furnishings until 2007, when the entire set was donated to the Stadtmuseum in Crailsheim in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Worthington-Crailsheim sister city relationship.


The entire set, that is, except the little toilet.

A decade earlier, during the 50th anniversary celebration of the sisterhood, Peter Bechtel - a brother to the girl that received the dollhouse, and also the head of the elementary school located along Martha McCarthy Street in Crailsheim - gifted the toy commode to McCarthy.

“He, with some story, gave me the little potty chair,” McCarthy said with a laugh as she recalled the story via phone on Thursday. “Peter gave it back to me with some ceremony. I was just astounded, of course.”

McCarthy brought the toy back to the United States with her, and displayed it in a special spot in her kitchen for the past 21 years.

During the 70th anniversary celebration of the sister city relationship last year, McCarthy’s daughters saw the dollhouse on display in the stadtmuseum and knew that it was missing the toy commode.

“I wanted to have Carola take it back and have it complete,” McCarthy said of her reasons for returning the toy.

After their visit with Marnie and Bill McCarthy, the Schnabls drove to Denver to visit the McCarthy daughters, and then flew to Minneapolis. They arrived in Worthington Monday evening and stayed with Alan and Janice Oberloh. They returned to Crailsheim on Friday.


Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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