Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Dollhouse

[reprinted from an earlier blog] We were living in the little house on Washington Street in Waldo during WWII from the time I was four until I was eight. Those were the Santa Claus Years and a time of magical childhood.

On a day in December, Mother and I would get all dressed up and walk from our house through the passageway by Broadway Methodist Church and catch the streetcar at the 74th Street stop on our way on our Great Christmas Shopping Adventure. We rode along through the southwest part of town, past the Plaza with the bright lights on all the buildings, up the Main Street hill, then down past the Liberty Memorial and Union Station. We got off at Petticoat Lane and began our trips through the stores.

First Harzfeld’s, then across the street to Woolf Bros. Back to Main and up to Kline’s and the Jones Store. Then over to Grand and a stop at Wolfermann’s for lunch (ham on egg roll and a milkshake). On to the final stop…Emery Bird Thayer. Laughing Santa in the window at ground level and fairyland on the 6th floor. The mezzanine was a place to stop and rest, rearrange the packages, and take stock. Mother loved to dash into the needlepoint shop for a project. Then my father would meet us as he left work in the Dierk’s Building and help ferry the packages home on the streetcar.

The year that I was seven, there was a very large package that we left at my father’s office for him to bring home later. He tried to sneak it in but I found it hidden in the closet. One day when my mother left me alone in the house while she went for stamps for the Christmas cards, I peeked at the present. A dollhouse! My little girl dream. Just what I wanted. I was so excited.

From that moment until Christmas morning I held the secret close to my heart and every night when I went to bed I would dream of playing with it. On the big day I rushed to the living room to look under the tree. No big package there. I can remember looking around thinking it might be in the den or somewhere else in the house. I opened a few packages and I remember a scarf and some mittens and a book. But no dollhouse. The day came and went. No dollhouse.

This stands out in my memory as my first heart-crushing disappointment and feeling of betrayal. I never mentioned this to my parents. Later…after they were long dead…my sister told me that was the year that my father did not get the Christmas bonus he was expecting and that it had saddened them immeasurably to have to take the dollhouse back to the store.

It saddens me now to think of those years when times were tight and my parents tried very hard to give me a happy Christmas. But that disappointment was a great life lesson for me. Probably more valuable than getting the dollhouse would have been. Throughout my life, I have endured some other unrealized dreams and weathered them better for it. But if I have a grand-daughter, I am getting her a dollhouse.


Post a Comment

<< Home