Eclectic, quirky, and sometimes edgy…this is how things look from my front porch.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

I had a doll house like this once long ago when I went to St Mary Star of the Sea School and lived in the ranch house next door to Major Hart and across the court from Colonel Frank.

My father used to say that Jane Hart talked breathing in and breathing out.  It was true.  She wasn't a large woman, but a chair once broke underneath her and she was still telling a story when she picked herself up.  I can still hear her calling her son into dinner, my little friend Chipper, in her honeyed Deep South voice, "Chippa, Chippa Hart!"  My doll house was made of metal, just like this one and was populated with a little family.

It came the same Christmas that Santa also brought me an easel with a green chalk board on one side, a place to clip white paper on the other, a chalk trough, and a covered area which held paint jars.  I had a sailor suit with a swirly skirt and purple curtains in my room.  My mother made those curtains; they had silhouettes of black cats on them.

That's when Rose came to help us and made butter-flavored hard candy on a cookie sheet.  When the candy cooled, she would smash it into bits with a hammer and store it in a cookie tin.  Rose liked to watch her stories and would sometimes assemble puzzles with us.  She was also known to occasionally say, "Don't be back-sassing. Rose."  I'll let you guess whether she said that to me or my brother, Reid.

Major Heatherly kept his boat in our backyard while he was in Vietnam with Dad   Reid and I took many voyages in the grass on that boat, with Space Food sticks and Hi-C for sustenance.  We would catch lightening bugs in mayonnaise jars and watch Flipper when we came inside.

I saw this doll house in an antique mall near Richmond, up on top of a tall bookcase.  The sight of it brought back every one of these memories. Now it is at home with a much older Annie who still back sasses from time to time.

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