Read more of our favorite things in Andi’s Attic >>
Kate had to go back to San Francisco, but we met again over the Thanksgiving holidays. It wasn’t much of a holiday for me. Not only did I feel so sick with baby number 2 that I wanted to curl up in a ball and never come up for air, but worse, Riley had been thrown from his horse and I thought for sure he would never wake up. But Riley woke up on Thanksgiving Day, and so the day was turned from sorrow to joy in an instant. Melinda and I tromped up after Kate into the attic so she could show us her favorite childhood plaything. You can read other favorites in the Archives >>
8. Our Favorite Childhood Playthings
There it stood, as it had stood for countless years, in the corner of the attic. I remembered Kate’s dollhouse a little because Melinda often dragged me upstairs to keep her company while she played with it. Kate couldn’t say enough good things about it. She gushed over each little piece of furniture and tea cup. “Aunt Rebecca had it fashioned for me for the Christmas when I was five years old,” she remembered. “She made it almost an exact replica of her own mansion up on Pacific Heights.”
No wonder I never liked that thing–a dark, heavy monstrosity! Kate went on to tell us she played with it for hours on end. It used to occupy a place of honor in the library. In the evenings after supper, the family would gather together on a chilly winter’s night. Mother would read a book, the boys would play checkers, and Kate would be absorbed in her dollhouse. No wonder it is her favorite childhood plaything. It brings back warm memories of her life before she turned her back on her family and took off on her own . . . much to her everlasting regret.
I only remember playing with the dollhouse up in the attic with Melinda. *shiver* I guess when Kate left, Father didn’t want to see any reminders of his oldest daughter, so off it went into a dusty corner of the attic. Since even Hannah is too old for the dollhouse now, I heard Kate offering it to Chad for Susie to play with. She is welcome to it.
Melinda’s favorite plaything was her dolls and buggy. She had dolls galore! Aunt Rebecca gave her dolls for her birthdays, and she must have had a dozen lined up on a shelf in her room. Baby dolls, little-girl dolls, grown-up lady dolls. And not just any cheap china dolls, either. Hand-painted faces and real hair, a “wax” doll. Even the eyes opened and closed.
I never cared for either dolls or dollhouses. I like animals! And if Mother forbade me to keep pet tarantulas or little king snakes inside, then wooden animals worked for me. My favorite childhood plaything on a damp winter’s eve in front of the fireplace was my Noah’s Ark. Each animal was hand carved and hand painted. I got it for Christmas when I turned five. Father had sent to San Francisco for it.
Even Mitch looked interested when I opened the expensive gift. He whistled in appreciation. “That’s a boat load of critters, Sis,” he said. There was Noah and Mrs. Noah, and dozens of animal pairs. It was a beautiful gift. The top part of the ark came off and I could store the animals inside, all snug and out of the rain of God’s Great Flood. Even fifteen-year-old Mitch liked to play with me if I was getting out my Noah’s Ark. While we played, he told me the Flood story over and over.
We three girls scrounged around up in the attic until Melinda found a trunk full of carefully laid away dolls. Then joy of joys! I found my Noah’s Ark. I squealed. “I’m taking this home for Jared. He will love it and he’s just the right age.” And now I can take Mitch’s place. I’ll sit and play with Jared on rainy days and tell him the account of the Great Flood. Won’t we have fun!