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Doll House

I tagged along with Brent to Home Depot. He wanted to get a bunch of stuff he couldn’t find there. I stared at the various bins of nuts and screws, noticed the price of Coke, wondered why women, in international restroom signage, are round while men are triangular.

We passed some plastic shelving and Brent made a comment that we were going to need some eventually. He thought that my dollhouse might fit on the shelves in front of us.

Some things take on weight well beyond what they should. My dollhouse, by this reckoning, weighs several tons. Before it was my dollhouse, it was my mom’s. Her grandparents built it for her, carpeting it with washcloths, furnishing it with everything from a pink playpen for the pink baby to a Thanksgiving turkey on a tray with all the trimmings. It’s a lovely family home, two bedrooms, one bath, formal dining room off the kitchen, living room with fireplace (and a Monopoly dog stuck down the chimney, but it was my brother who did it), patio off the kids’ room. It has green shutters, a red scalloped sandpaper roof, and pine trees in the yard.

My grandmother re-roofed it for me when I was little and planted red plastic roses in the window boxes. She also arranged the furniture and hung the pictures on the walls. I had mixed feelings about that because while it certainly looked more like a “real” house when she was done with it, I sometimes liked having the beds in the living room and the plates in the bathroom. Most of the time I just stuck the parents off in their room and got down to the real business of playing with the little girl doll, who had adventures galore.

Because the dollhouse was so big, it lived in the garage. Because it was heavy and awkward, it used to rest on a red wagon. Because it was big and heavy, I left it at my parents’ house as long as possible before it eventually moved to my Berkeley basement. At some point, critters moved in and trashed the place.

Syd came along and I succumbed to the fantasy of reliving my own childhood. The fantasy didn’t last very long because Syd’s personality is emphatic. I folded away the fantasy and the dollhouse went into storage, only to be seen again after many years. The dirt and neglect have marked it. The twin beds in the master bedroom strike me as quaint. The dog is still stuck in the chimney.

My mom never fixed up the dollhouse for Syd. She’s not that kind of grandmother and Syd is not that kind of kid. Someday maybe I’ll be that kind of grandmother and I’ll have that kind of grandkid. I’ll either fish the dog out of the chimney or tell a story about Uncle John. I’ll touch up the paint, clean the windows, replant the window boxes with something more organic. And I hope that little girl doll will be ready for adventure.

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