Once upon a time, in a little white house there lived two little girls. The big sister was 7 years old and had long brown hair and freckles on her nose where the desert sun had kissed her. Her name was Marianne. The little sister had golden hair the color of taffy when it is being pulled. Her name was Georgena, Gena for short. She was full of life, always laughing, and brought great happiness to the little house.
One day in December Gena was having a birthday. She was turning 2 years old. Her family gathered around her as she opened her gifts on the floor. The family had a secret! They had put together a beautiful tin dollhouse for their little girl. Mom had wrapped it in birthday paper as best she could, but it still looked like a house. Even the chimney was wrapped! "That's alright," Mom had said. "She's only two. She won't know what it is ahead of time."
When the dollhouse was put in front of her Gena was standing. She was only a little taller than it was! She naturally went for the closest thing first and began pulling the paper from the chimney. As it was uncovered, her blue eyes opened wide, her mouth became a perfect little 'O', and her little hands shook with excitement.
"SMOKEY!" she exclaimed. The family was amazed that such a little girl could look at that little tin chimney and know what it was. They laughed about it for a long time. As the days and years went by the two little girls spent many happy hours playing in front of that little red dollhouse. They would tuck the little baby into the tiny pink crib. They would fill the tiny bathtub with water. The furniture was arranged in many different ways. They dreamed of growing up and having houses of their own with pretty dishes on the shelves in the kitchen and a fireplace to keep their family warm.
One day those dreams came true, and while their real houses were not quite as fancy as the little red dollhouse they were happy. Sometimes life was hard, and sometimes those trials lasted for a long time. The two sisters would comfort and help each other through those dark days until they were smiling again. Gena had a particularly difficult trial that lasted for several years. Marianne wanted to make her baby sister smile and remember happy days when they were little girls together.And so began the search for the little red tin dollhouse...
EBAY became Marianne's new best friend. She looked and researched and learned so much about the Louis Marx toy company. She learned that Mom and Dad had purchased the little dollhouse for only $6.98 in 1964 and that included all of the furniture. She knew that just one room of furniture would cost that much now. Slowly, over two years she bid on tiny white kitchens and little blue tables. Sometimes she won, but mostly she watched as the bidding went way past her tightly set budget. One time she was waiting in the veterinarian's office for her dog to be brought back into the room. She knew the bidding on the little bathroom set was near an end so she checked her iPhone and saw that the price was still very low. She bid once, twice, and won that set right there at Banfield Pet Hospital! She gave a little yell of joy and hoped nobody had heard!
Georgena, the baby of the family would be turning 50 years old soon. It would be so fun, Marianne thought, to surprise her with the gift for her birthday. Alas, the main piece, the house itself, was hard to come by. Sometimes one would come up but it would be very rusty or dented. She was amazed at how much money people would pay for a rusty old toy! Sometimes a perfect looking one would show up but it would be missing the most important part, the Smokey! In the summer before that 50th birthday she watched four beautiful examples of this dollhouse come and go at really budget friendly prices, but she didn't have the money to get them at the time. Marianne's brown hair was turning white!
Then, 6 months after the big birthday time was running short. There was a reunion coming up with Marianne, the big brothers, Gena, and Mom. What a perfect place to give the gift, where they could all laugh and share that happy memory together! Just like a dream, a beautiful red tin lithographed Marx Colonial dollhouse came up on EBAY only weeks before the reunion. It had a "Buy it Now" price on it that was cheaper than any other starting bid Marianne had seen in two years. It felt surreal to simply click the Buy it Now button and be the owner! Within one week that beautiful little house arrived in the mail, Smokey and all! Marianne wrapped the little house in bright birthday paper and put a big pink bow on top. Of course the Smokey was wrapped too!
After a few days at their brother Dean's house Marianne saw her chance to get everyone all in the same room at once, when nobody was napping or no visitors were there. Everyon wondered what was going on!
Marianne briefly explained her last two years of searching for bits and pieces of the perfect gift for someone in the room without giving away the secret. She then told Gena to cover her eyes and not to peek. She placed the dollhouse in front of her sister and said, "when you see it I think you'll know what to do first."
(There is a video of the whole unwrapping process. It was taken sideways as so many phone videos are). I am working on finding a program to turn it upright!)
Aww! Sisters! Loves!
Marianne then gave Gena the little box of furniture and she started crying all over again! Sister-in-law Sherri excitedly asked,"Does it have the bathtub? I loved the bathtub in my Grandmas' dollhouse!" So many happy memories our childhoods held for us! The big brothers laughed and wanted to know where their presents were. This gift was given on the day right in between their two July birthdays!
Sorry guys...maybe my next project will be gathering up a Fort Apache and Robin Hoods Castle!
Later this week?
Come back for an Open House!