Dolly Parton Recalled 1 Fan’s Morbid Gift That Made Her Cry: ‘It Affected Me in a Very Unusual Way’

Dolly Parton appreciates every single gift her fans give her — so much so that she can’t part with any of them. Parton has said that she’s gotten many kinds of thoughtful gifts over the years she keeps stored in a special building, including one morbid present she said “affected me in a very unusual way.”

Dolly Parton wears a pink suit and smiles for the camera.
Dolly Parton | Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Dolly Parton once received a morbid fan gift she said moved her to tears

Parton once received a fan-made gift that represented the death of her brother as a baby. It was a painful reminder but the singer still found it touching.

In a 2017 interview with Vanity Fair, Parton shared that, among the gifts she has received, a fan gave her a doll inside of a coffin. “I thought wow — I know that they were so touched by that [Parton’s brother dying], and when I saw that it made me cry because it affected me in a very unusual way,” she explained.

In her book, Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics, the singer wrote about how her brother’s death impacted her. “I lost my baby brother, Larry,” Parton wrote. “Because there were so many of us, Mama would kind of assign each new baby to one of us, to look after. Like, ‘This is going to be your baby.’”

She continued, “I had planned and worked so hard to be ready for him, to be his ‘little mama.’ Then when he died, it just absolutely crushed me, crushed me. I still start crying when I think about little Larry. I was at a very vulnerable age. It was like I’d lost a baby of my own.”

The fan’s gift that was inspired by the death of her brother, understandably, makes Parton emotional.

“Death was new to me at that time,” Parton wrote in her book. “I was trying so hard to deal with death, with sorrow, with grief. There was a little dead baby there. I remember seeing him in his little coffin, and I just couldn’t connect all that.”

Dolly Parton doesn’t throw any of her fans’ gifts away

Parton loves everything her fans have given her and has explained in past interviews that she keeps everything. She does have an organized system, however, keeping everything in a special building she affectionately refers to as her “arts and crap” warehouse.

During a February interview on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Parton said that since people put so much effort into the gifts, she doesn’t want to throw any of them away.

“I also have — all my fans that make things for me and write poems and things to me, paint pictures… I have what I call my ‘arts and crap’ building because I can’t throw anything away,” Parton explained.

She continued, “No, that’s what I call it — affectionately. I have a whole warehouse full of arts and crap because it’s stuff that I know they work so hard on it. Even if it’s not something I really can hang in my house, I can still go by and look and think how sweet that was and the time that they took for that.”

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