Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sentimental Value

My grandmother built my dollhouse and I remember it being spectacular. I think I probably remember it as more spectacular than it actually was. But that is because I loved it so much.

It lived at my grandma's house and I played with it pretty much every time I went over there. So, a lot. I would make up stories and scenarios for the dolls. I would arrange them in the various rooms. I would make extra things for the house-- a mailbox made out of a clothespin, a tiny drawing to hang on the wall. I would act out the storybooks my grandma read to me. I would take out all the furniture and things and use my grandma's cleaning products to scrub the carpet and clean the floors and then I would put the furniture back in and arrange everything nicely.

My grandmother died when I was 12 and I was devastated. I miss her more than I can accurately describe. She was really the only person I was completely myself around, when I was younger. I know our relationship would be different if she were alive today. I know that I would never appreciate her more than I did when I was a child. So maybe it's better that she never saw me in the throes of teenage hormonal rage and adult frustration and angst. We are captured in my memory forever as the delighted cherub and the benevolent, cookie-baking protector.

When my grandma died, the dollhouse was moved to my house and stayed there until I was a sophomore in college. Then, during Christmas break, I came home and found it out in the storage room, in pieces.

What happened? Why didn't anybody tell me?
We tried to move it, but it just collapsed. I'm so sorry.

Someone must have packed away the pieces and the furniture and the dolls because they disappeared for a few years. And then they returned. And disappeared again.

Last week, I searched high and low at my parents' house while I cleaned and organized my things from the storage room. Then I found out that the dollhouse things had been not stored, but incorporated with the rest of the toys. And so children had played with my dollhouse furniture and left it quite well loved.

I sifted through a basket of miscellaneous toys. Here is a chair from my dollhouse. Here is a table that now only has three legs. Here is a tea tray with the handle broken off. Here is a cabinet with no door now. Here is a bookshelf, was this from my dollhouse? I can't remember, looking at this jumble of things. Here is a spindly yellow chair with flowers, yes, I remember that. Here is the green couch. Here are my memories, in pieces. Here is me, raining tears onto on the floor.