Rae Holzman’s two-year career as a doll maker is a real rags-to-riches story. Using discards gleaned at thrift shops and flea markets and nylons donated by her aunts, the 24-year-old San Francisco artisan has created a thriving business making dolls that double as pillows. Her collection of more than 100 characters includes Napoleon and Bullwinkle, Superman and Indians. “I started out with little dolls,” Rae recalls, “but at a craft fair another artist advised making them big.” Some of her dolls are life-size or, in the case of one gawky Gargantuan chum (behind her, below), larger than life. “I can’t sell that one—ever,” she says loyally. The others are sold as quickly as she can create them, a painstaking job that limits her output to two or three a day. They are priced at $40 up at half a dozen smart shops in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Lake Tahoe. Buyers are clamoring for more, and Rae has hired a friend to help but won’t set up an assembly line. “It’s so personal,” she explains. “It would be really hard to give someone else the job.” She earns a comfortable living—about $800 a month—and her success has set an example for at least one other struggling artist. Her mother quit her job as an occupational therapist and is now making stitchery pictures on her sewing machine. “I kind of inspired her,” says Rae proudly.
David Fletcher was alarmed when he discovered from a lab test that his urine contained high levels of blood and protein. A first-year student at Rush Medical College in Chicago taking science courses at Knox College in Galesburg, III., David knew it wasn’t normal. Doctors suspected kidney problems and urged him to check into a hospital. But Knox biology prof Robert E. Johnson diagnosed athletic pseudo-nephritis, or false kidney inflammation, common among people who exercise strenuously. David, 22, played on the college ice hockey team. To determine how long this phenomenon persists, he enlisted his teammates’ help. “There we were,” David recalls of one game when Knox and its opponent shared the same dressing room, “all lined up with our specimen cups. The other team couldn’t believe it.” David published his findings last April in The Lancet, becoming one of the prestigious medical journal’s youngest contributors. He discovered that 48 hours after the game the players’ urine returned to normal. “Every active person is going to manifest this condition, so he should be aware of it,” says David. “For instance, it could make a difference on an insurance exam.”