I’m trying to re-spark the holiday spirit. So, I’m going to talk about the past today.
I don’t remember anymore what year it was.
With its 6 rooms, and a WORKING ELEVATOR that went all the way from bottom to top, it was the epitome of coolness for me. One of my best friends had one, and I was so envious, I wanted to go to her house, and play with it all the time, to the exclusion of even spending time with the friend! I had barbies galore, with tons of accessories, but no dollhouse. I pined, I yearned, I burned for one. I circled it in big black marker in the JcPenney’s catalog – toy section, so that my parents would know the only thing I wanted was a dollhouse. A Barbie dreamhouse.
Well, Christmastime rolled around, as it is wont to do, toward the end of December that year. I was good. I was so good, I think my bedroom floor sparkled, even covered in carpeting as it was. Well, I guess that could have been the glitter I’d spilled making my makeshift halo, but whatever. I was a darling angel of a girl that year, hoping beyond hope that Santa would grant the one wish I had and fulfill my wild dream of the condo from heaven.
Christmas Eve at my house was always a night of anticipation. We went to church, and when we returned, we were allowed to open 1 gift. 1 small, insignificant gift that Mom was allowed to pick out for us to open. Everything else had to wait. I have no idea what that present was that year. I couldn’t have cared less, frankly, because it wasn’t the dream house. I went to bed, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Big Man.
In the morning, I awoke to the sounds of jingling bells and ho-ho-ho-ing emanating from downstairs. I leapt from my bed, wanting to race down the stairs to find my dreams had all come true, and Santa loved me.
I found my mother standing guardian in the doorway, watching both my brother and I. She forced us to get dressed and comb our hair before we were allowed downstairs.
“But SANTA’S WAITING FOR US!” I cried. “HE’LL LEAVE IF WE DON’T RUN!”
“No running in the house.”
I was the racehorse at the gate, waiting for my stupid brother to finish getting ready. I trembled, I shook, I wrung my tiny little hands in anxiety and anticipation.
And finally, Mom sprang us.
I could hear male laughter drifting up from the main floor, where I just knew that SANTA was waiting. I could hear my dad, and my uncle Hal, chuckling in the kitchen as my brother and I fought for pole position on the way down the stairs.
Herds of elephants stampeding across the veldt of Africa were quieter.
Tasmanian Devils were less outspoken.
And when we finally made it to the bottom of the stairs, we were both stunned and awed at what awaited us in the kitchen.
Santa had left the building, obviously, as he was nowhere to be found. Instead we found our dad and uncle Hal seated at the kitchen table, kicking back with a cigarette and some “orange juice”. Yes, I’m sure that’s what it was.
My brother got something like the picture to the left, except on a smaller scale. What? Of course, I don’t have pictures of the actual workbench, I was a kid, a girl kid. Workbenches were for geeky boys. Ewww.
3 stories of ALL MINE was written in every room. A matchstick railing used to run around the top of the townhouse (it was later eaten by mice – pet mice – of mine). White in color, it was clean and sparkly and beautiful. There was even a little family that fit into the rooms. Because of course, it was much too small to fit Barbies. But I didn’t care. Honestly, this magnificence was more than enough to make up for not having some old cardboard barbie house. This was quality plywood, folks!
We didn’t make it to the tree till much, much later.
I wrote my name in orange crayon on the inside of the doors, staking ownership for all time. It’s still scrawled there, my feeble attempt at interior decorating.
Over the years, I’ve acquired more furnishings for the dollhouse. There was a period of my pre-teen years that was absorbed with buying mail-out kits for furniture. Things were lost, including the plastic family. But more things were gained. My best friend in high school had a dollhouse that her grandfather had made for her, and she had made many of the intricate beautiful things inside. When she moved away, she bequeathed the treasures to me, and they still have a place of honor in the dollhouse.
I have since given the dollhouse to my YoungerDaughter, who has yet to “make it her own”. It just doesn’t have the same appeal to her that it held for me. But that’s ok. There will come a day, after it’s been refinished and refurbished, when some little girl will look up and say “Really? For Me?”
And she won’t regret not getting to see Santa either.