Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Little House that Love Built!

This post is for my Daddy Cecil's birthday on March 25th!

My mom and Daddy Cecil married when I was 4 years old. It would be untrue to say that we fell into a close relationship right away. I had been used to having my mom all to myself and Dad was often strict, something I was not used to. Our family had an adjustment period ahead!

           When I was nearly seven, Dad was lured to Caprock, New Mexico to work at a television transmitter. Caprock is an area far from civilization with tumbleweeds instead of trees. Three houses set not far from the tower, one for each of the work shifts. There were few children, no amusements, nothing but desert and a tall TV tower!
Once in New Mexico, our family had a lot of adjustments to make.  Mom had complications following a miscarriage. She was weak and unable to do much around the house. We had to keep the noise level down because Dad slept during the day then worked the night shift, after the station had signed off. He checked and maintained the equipment as well as cleaned the station.
 My 7th birthday was approaching. We were far from the conveniences of town and had little money with which to buy presents to celebrate. Since Dad had to remain at the transmitter each night even after he had completed all of his responsibilities, he came up with a plan; he started building a Barbie-sized dollhouse for my birthday!
A few years earlier, the tower had fallen on the former three shift houses and they had been bulldozed and piled into a dump. There was a bounty of dollhouse building materials at that dump!

           First Dad constructed 4 rectangular rooms from plywood scraps. He stacked them in pairs side by side. Each room was painted and had coordinating carpet or linoleum (again from the dump). The handcrafted furniture, complete with a kitchen, were all made to scale from wood scraps. Each detail was thought of such as drawers that opened complete  with handles , night stands with lamps that lit up, and a jewelry box full of necklaces to set on the dresser.  
On the walls of the rooms were pictures cut from my grandmother’s jigsaw puzzle boxes. Dad dug through our ragbag and mom’s material scraps where he chose material for hand-sewn mattresses, pillows, bedspreads, and tablecloths. Even the sofa was covered in fabric! He found coordinating scraps and made several outfits for each of my Barbie dolls. Ken even sported a tiny tie! My dollhouse was perfect! 
Over the years I spent countless hours playing with my Barbie dolls and their house. Later Dad even added a wooden car with an opening trunk much to my (and Ken's) thrill. When we finally moved back to civilization, I was the envy of my neighborhood friends!  
I regret that I do not have the original kitchen or car. Mom and Dad replaced them with more modern plastic ones as later gifts. My oldest daughter enjoyed my furniture and clothing with her own dolls when she was little! Since that time, all the clothes and remaining furniture have been tucked away in the attic awaiting an opportunity to be displayed and played with again! 
As a child, I often did not appreciate the sacrifices made on my behalf. I can now see that love was shown to me in various ways. This dollhouse is just one tangible example of how Dad planned and provided for me during the hard times as well as the good times! Thanks, Dad! I love you!

This is only a part of the doll house. There was also a pink room with bunk beds, a living room with a piano, couch, chair and a coffee table, and a full kitchen!

This is the blue bedroom minus some of its parts that didn't survive the years of play!

A hand-sewn teddy bear

Details of hand-sewn clothes for Barbie, Skipper and Tuttie

Details of some of the hand-sewn clothes for Ken
 See post for my Mom's birthday!