penny in a castle

A digital chapbook.

Dream home

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One Christmas, when I was the same age as my children are now, I received one of the best gifts from Santa ever.

It was a giant doll house.

It was only slightly less tall than I was. It had two floors, a stair case, living room, dining room and bedroom.  It was Spartan in its furnishings (there were none). It was not your typical doll house because it had no clear branding (ie Barbie or her kin) and it was made out of cardboard. It was rustic doll living at it’s best.

It was, literally and figuratively, loved to pieces from the moment it arrived.  My baby brother attempted to crawl through the front door on the first day I had it and tried to sit in the living room.  Being made out of cardboard, there was a tear in the front hallway and the floor sagged and was never quite the same again.  For years my various dolls lived in it and I created endless hours of soap-opera worthy stories for them in my head.  However, it never quite survived the soaking it received soon after it was relegated to the basement and my brothers decided to douse the imaginary “fire” with the hose.

Despite my many happy hours playing with my doll house, I have never bought my daughter the Barbie dream home that many aspire to. Part of me feels guilty – a doll house almost seems to be a not-politically correct, gender specific rite of passage for girls – even for today’s generation. She does not play with dolls of any kind much and I was not interested in bringing a huge hunk of expensive pink plastic into the house.

Recently my dad, in the interest of cleaning his own house, decided to get rid of all the toys that were sitting there waiting for children to visit. Among them was an ancient pink monstrosity from the ’80s that may have been my cousin’s. He broke it down into its component pieces and brought it over for us to figure out, along with a gang of Barbies, clothes and accessories.

After having had two garbage bags of pink plastic sitting in a closet for several months, I decided yesterday to tackle assembling it. I knew that there might be some grumbling from my better half about the space it would take up, but I thought that my daughter would enjoy it.

It took me much longer and more effort than I ever anticipated. All the pieces seemed identical but clearly fit together as a complicated puzzle.  The old plastic was so fragile that the connecting parts seemed about to shatter if I pushed too hard – or as I pulled it apart multiple times, swearing, having realized I had made a mistake. I was exhausted and muscle sore after finally putting it all together.

I have bought a real condo and a real house – and it took less effort, time and brain power to buy those two pieces of real estate than to put that Barbie house together.

It was all worth it though when my daughter came home yesterday to a pink mansion for her dolls (as well as the posse that emigrated from her grandfather’s house). She started to play with it right away, and I could hear the many stories and conversations her dolls would have over the next few years, whispering in my ear.   Now, it’s my dream home too.


Written by pennyinacastle

June 12, 2015 at 2:32 am

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