Posted on February 1st, 2010 6 comments
While procrastinating over cleaning the kitchen floor, I went digging into some far corners of junk and found the business man figure above. He’s rather Don Draper, isn’t he? The bottom is stamped with the simple – but meaningful – word “Father.” Holding that tiny, white piece of plastic sent my memory hurtling back in time to the metal doll house he belonged to… he’s the sole survivor of my first humble abode.
Pushed along by the gentle fog of innocent memory, I was able to quickly find this picture. That’s me and the doll house on Christmas morning, 1969, in a tract house in Ferguson, MO. One of the white splotches next to my elbow is the very Father I hold today.
I didn’t really need the photo to remember that doll house in achingly precise detail. I can still feel the coolness of the metal floors on my arm as I moved the the plastic furniture about, and how easy it was to lose the toddler in the plastic nuclear family. Placing furniture in inappropriate rooms (toilet in the living room, bed in the kitchen!!!) was always good for a giggle, and Fisher-Price farm animals were conveniently sized to fit in and around the homestead.
With the wonder of the cyber world, I can share the details an ancient photo cannot provide. One site got me to the photo above, which is pretty close to the interior of the Marx Colonial model I had. My version did not have curtains on the living room picture window. Hard to overlook that at this very moment in time, my living room has green walls with no curtains on the picture window. Do we travel so far just to come back where we started?
Remove that dormer, and this is exactly what my doll house looked like from the front.
And here’s a wonderful shot of all the furniture pieces. This website also revealed that the house came in panels that had to be put together. I clearly remember it being one delicious whole on Christmas morning, so I guess my Father had to do some Christmas Eve construction.
So, I’ve spent a bit of time remembering the doll house and how much it meant. Doll houses hold a very strong allure and special meaning for little girls, even as they age. I’ve also been thinking about all the little boys who wished they could have gotten their hands on our doll houses without facing unceasing hours of ribbing. How many of them messed with the houses when no one was looking, and how many of them turned into architects and designers?
I don’t remember what happened to this doll house; it feels like it had a short shelf life, which would not have been of my choosing. Do any of you still have your doll houses? Or pictures of you with your doll house? I’d love to share your time travel doll house moments.
6 Responses to “Doll House Time Traveling”
Zach N. February 1st, 2010 at 8:48 PM
I was one of those boys who had a secret fascination with doll houses, and took my fair share of chiding from my younger brothers and best friend. At one point I made my dad go to the hardware store and buy wood, and we were going to sketch out and build our own “mini model home” as I liked to call it. Sadly never got around to it. Now I’m a freshman Computer Information Systems major with a healthy appreciation for design, specifically urban design and architecture.
Just wanted to throw in that your site has been a definite inspiration for me, possibly one of the main factors in my love for Mid-Century Modern Architecture. I was born in St. Charles county and have family in that area and in North County. Definitely have enjoyed the past four or five years of viewing your captiviating photography along with the words that you lace them with.
Not having any sisters growing up, sort of makes me think I missed out on playing with doll houses. Especially the doll house kits that have working lights in every room! Thankfully, for my boys, my wife owns a toy store and they hang out there all the time, surrounded by great wooden toys and dollhouses. I’m envious.
Damn, Girl! I had one of those houses, too. I played with it endlessly. I do remember my mother telling me later that she almost lost a gallon of blood from all the cuts she got putting the thing together on Christmas Eve while I slept. Apparently it didn’t want to cooperate and all those metal edges were as sharp as Ginzu knives.
Sharp as Ginzu knives… Starting to think they may have ditched the doll house in our move from Ferguson to deep North County for just that reason; they remembered the blood on their hands!
Barbara Mayberry / McGhee's Miniatures August 10th, 2010 at 8:08 AM
I love dollhouses. I still have my dollhouse from when I was a young girl. My house was handmade & bought by my parents at done of the school auctions. I have always treasurded that house. I did as ‘gut rehab’ to it about 7 yers ago.
After being out of work for over 8 years, (IT / software Development), I decided to open a store dedicated solely to Dollhouses. Named McGhee’s Miniatures, I am located at 106 Crestwood Court (Crestwood Mall.) There I teach people of all ages all about dollhouses and how to build them. I actually invite people to come, sit in my store, and build your house right there with me. I provide shelf space to store houses ‘Currently Under Constuction’ and all supplies people bring in.
I will special order anything someone wants without some silly ‘special order fee.’ I provide a beautiful bright lit, relaxed friendly (yes child friendly as well) enviroment in which anyone is welcome to come and simply ‘hang out.’
Anyone walkinbg down memory lane, looking for dollhouse dreams lost, know that everything dollhouse is alive and well in my own little world at McGhee’s Miniatures!
Feel free to give me, Barbara, a call at 314 497-6140
I too grew up with a Marx dollhouse. Your article made me smile….I thought I was the only one who did goofy things like put the toilet in the living room, etc. LOL I don’t have a photo of me with my dollhouse, but I DO miraculously still have the dollhouse itself, along with the pool. I had gotten rid of the furniture and family years ago, but on a sudden whim of nostalgia, I found and bought the furniture on Ebay later on. I have had my dollhouse since Christmas 1965 and it survived my mother’s periodic clean sweeps that took my Thumbelina doll and many other childhood treasures. My dad stored the dollhouse in the attic, then I moved away and lived in several different states over the years. It moved along with me across the country and back, living in various closets. Now, nearly 50 years later, I have been pondering what to do with it. It goes against everything I’m supposed to promote as a professional organizer, i.e. getting rid of space-sucking sentimental objects that have no useful purpose anymore, but I can’t bring myself to part with it. It’s so nice to read of someone else who has the same love of her little dollhouse as I have. It reinforces my desire to keep it. Thanks for sharing!