Pipi’s Pasture: Remembering toys — an old dollhouse
Last night I watched an interesting television show featuring a large collection of memorabilia that one person had collected over time. During the program the collection’s owner talked about some of its antiques, explaining where he had found them or the part they had played in his life. As with most shows about antiques, an expert was on hand to estimate the value of the items.
I was especially interested in the antique toys. They brought back memories of the days when my siblings and I were growing up. We didn’t have a lot of toys that were purchased, which isn’t to say that we didn’t play — we played a lot — but we made a lot of our toys, and our imaginations got a never-ending workout. We took good care of the toys we received for birthdays and Christmas, careful not to leave them outside in the weather.
After awhile, our favorite toys showed wear and tear from playing with them so much. That’s why I’m amused when antique experts refer to the condition of an old toy and inquire as to whether the original box was kept.
I’m not criticizing the experts because they have to use criteria for determining an antique’s value. My amusement comes from thinking about the hours of pleasure spent playing with the toys and its value. As to the original boxes? When we received the toys we sometimes put them back in the boxes a time or two, depending on the toy, but after awhile the boxes got banged up and were discarded. Who would have guessed the value a toy’s box would have in years to come?
Anyhow, I’m getting off track. I’m remembering a toy that survived my childhood. My sister Charlotte Allum of Fort Collins and I received the Christmas gift to share. The toy resides in my house right now. The years pass so fast that it is hard to realize that the metal dollhouse is 50-plus years old.
The dollhouse is approximately 2 feet long and about 22 inches tall from the chimney to base.
It has a door in the back that opens into the living room, and there are windows, with panes cut out, all the way around. The bricks on the house walls and the shingles on the roof are painted on the house, as well as some ivy and tree branches.
Inside there are five rooms — a bedroom, bathroom, nursery, living room, and kitchen. Everything is painted inside the house, too, which includes curtains, pictures on the wall, a book shelf with books, and a shelf of dishes. One wall of the nursery is painted with characters from nursery rhymes, such as the cow that jumped over the moon and Mary who had a lamb.
The house is in good condition, thanks to its metal construction, but the furniture was lost long ago. Recently I purchased some cheap furniture (for now) so that great-granddaughter Luna can play with the dollhouse when she visits. Some placemats, woven by Charlotte’s husband John, serve as rugs.
The old metal dollhouse pales in comparison to the modern lavish dollhouses with carpeting and even chandeliers that actually light up — and yet in terms of the hours of pleasure, the old dollhouse is priceless to Charlotte and me.
More about toys that have survived my childhood next week.
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