This week: I didn’t know what was happening at the time.
In the weeks leading up to my 10th Christmas, my dad started acting strangely. There was a room at the top of the stairs with a white door. One day there was a padlock on that white door. When I asked why my dad told me he and a friend of his were working on a carpentry project. They were making a special toolbox for their friend Dale, who was very sick and needed something special. They needed to lock the door when they were finished for the day because they would leave dangerous tools out. Being 10 I believed every word my dad said; why wouldn’t I?
Dad and his friend worked for about a month on whatever was hiding in the room at the top of the stairs. I thought it must be a super snazzy toolbox and I couldn’t wait to see it.
So on Christmas morning I was awake early, as usual. I opened my stocking with was in its usual place at the foot of my bed. I was not allowed to wake mom and dad until at least 7am so I waited. My bedroom was right next to the room at the top of the stairs and I don’t think I gave it any thought as I played with the treasures in my stocking.
Finally it was 7am and I raced downstairs to see what Santa had brought me. I don’t remember now what that was; what I do remember is Mom and Dad leading me up to the room at the top of the stairs after I had opened my Santa gifts. “I’m finally going to see the toolbox!” I thought. They unlocked the padlock and opened the door. And inside the room was the biggest dollhouse I had ever seen.
It was an A-frame home, with four hinged roof parts for easy access. I don’t think I spoke for a very long time. My dad apologized for fibbing about the toolbox but he wanted to surprise me. I opened the main roof and saw a family of four, sitting on couches and chairs, watching tv. A few steps down on the right side of the house was the kitchen, decorated with a sink, stove and dishwasher, and an enormous china cabinet, complete with tiny plates and teacups. A fresh baked loaf of bread was cooling on the kitchen table. Up the stairs and around the fireplace to the left you again went down a few stairs to the office, and then around the perimeter of the office/kitchen were the bedrooms, three in all. And every one of them was decorated in different wall papers, carpet, and furniture. A pink girl’s room with a chandelier; a blue boy’s room with soccer balls; and a green master bedroom with a sitting area for mom and dad to read. It was perfect. It was more than perfect; it was a dream come true. My dad explained he built the house and my mom decorated. She made all the furniture herself, from a kit. I’m pretty sure I cried.
I searched for a bit and found this picture online, which is the exact plan of my house:
I also found this old advertisement for the same dollhouse plan in the Herald-Journal newspaper from 1976.
I didn’t know what was happening at the time, it’s true; and it turns out what was happening was very special indeed.
Next week: Your city one hundred years from now.
This is the latest exercise in my 642 Things to Write About Project. Click on the link to find out more, or click on the category 642 Things to Write About Project to read past exercises. 🙂