Friday, June 11, 2010
Moving cross - country is pretty traumatic for anyone, but especially children; even when they say they want to.
In 1993, I took the plunge. Packed up the kids and left Michigan for Texas. The girls were excited. My family was beside themselves.. looking forward to two more grandchildren/ neices to spoil.
My parents, two sisters, and one brother; all their familys and lots of cousins were in TX. Mom even flew up to MI, so she could drive back with us. She helped make it a fun "girly trip" to Texas, stopping anywhere interesting along the way and taking our time.
Everyone tried to make the transition easy and fun for my girls. Especially my dad. The back yard to our new house had a large, odd cement slab. We had a large back porch, so the slab was a mystery, even the neighbors could not tell us what it was ever used for.
I thought it was the perfect foundation for a playhouse! nice and flat, on a hill, with a fabulous view of pastures.
The quest began. Dad wanted to build it himself for them. We looked at kits, ready made and even blueprints. we had to have the perfect playhouse. Then dad had yet another heart attack, and needed a stent. Sadly, his construction days were over; but he never forgot his promise to my daughters.
Months later Dad called. He wanted me to meet him at a local lake. No reason.. just come! So i jumped in the car to meet him. I found him in front of a sadly neglected, abandoned cottage. I thought perhaps he was interested in lake property?
No. Dad had other ideas. This would be a PERFECT playhouse for his grandaughters. I laughed. it was HUGE ~ 10 feet wide, and over 20 feet long! it was two story with a very narrow staircase and definately needed some TLC.
Dad had already talked to the owner, who wanted the land, but not the cottage. The price he wanted for the building was ridiculously low. The lumber and building supplies to build a new one were at least ten times more than he wanted, and this one was pretty much ready to go!
Dad also had a quote of only a few hundred dollars to move it from the lake to our back yard. He was quite convincing, and made so much sense. Dad always is logical.
So, the very next weekend, the former cottage was moved to our back yard. The girls and their playmates had a wonderful time painting the interior. If you can imagine 6 & 8 year old girls with paint rollers.. it was a fun time.
We put down vinyl tile downstairs, hung curtains and moved in an old sofa , a kitchen table, bookshelves and even a TV.
The upstairs was carpeted, so it just needed a good cleaning. We moved up mirrors, clothing racks and a dressing table, as well as bean bag chairs and sleeping bags.
My daughters always loved dressing up in vintage clothing, and making up plays. Real plays with several acts they wrote themselves, made tickets for and carried out. Partially as an excuse to dress up i'm sure, but they had wonderful imaginations!
Despite being the "new kids in town" our house rapidly became the place to hang out. There wasn't a single weekend i can remember that did not have at least one little girl spending it here, usually four or five. And typically from Friday to Sunday night. we all loved every minute of it.
The girls would spend hours and hours dressing up, experimenting with makeup. They would make sandwiches in the house, and take them out to the playhouse to eat. They would create new plays to perform. And most of all, I think they developed their own fashion style.
Even as they grew to their teen years, they would still enjoy the playhouse. Often they would incorporate something from the massive collection of vintage clothing up their into their every day wardrobe. They actually started fashion trends at school with their peers. It was natural that Allana, my youngest wore a beautiful vintage dress to her prom.
Years later, the girls grown and gone, sadly there are no more slumber parties in the playhouse. Since then it was a crafting room and a potting shed. It was too wonderful a space to not use.
These days the kitchen table and sofa are gone. The book shelves are still there, but instead of the rock collections and favorite children's books, rubber maid totes line them. Full of vintage clothing. Not the girl's dress up clothes, but my inventory. An entire wall of new shelves are marked nightgowns, robes, blouses, skirts ~ and on each of the shelves are the appropriate vintage clothing inventory.
I can't part with the playhouse. I have had offers to sell it it many times. Hopefully one day, a little grandaughter will come running in the house with a vintage dress, high heels and a huge fun hat from her dress up time in it.
And each time i go out there to add inventory or retrieve a sold item to ship, i can almost hear the laughter of the girls over 10 years ago!