To Grandmother's House We Go

A few weeks ago, my grandmother told me she found my ‘playhouse’ in the attic. I remembered the farm and the farm people, but the playhouse? She sang the song the playhouse played (Oh little playmate, come out and play with me…) and still nothing. I remembered the song, but couldn’t imagine the house or the things that lived within.

On my recent trip back to NJ, I convinced her to let me into the attic to see what treasures I could find. Things I thought were long gone had found a home among prom dresses and t-shirts from Senior Year. I took some special, long-lost friends down and made a mess, dressing them and undressing them, photographing them and piling them on the floor. My grandmother and I reminisced and I later found doll clothes being washed in the sink (can stains be removed after 20 years?)

Blankets, my baby book, Christmas ornaments, Cabbage Patch dolls with not only matching dresses, but undershirts- because not even my dolls could get away without undershirts when in grandma’s house…

She also brought out a doll my grandfather had given her on Christmas in 1970, still in her box, taped up and perfectly kept. I’m sure she hid this extremely well throughout my childhood, or it would have long since had a hair cut and maybe some eyeshadow.

Once I cleaned the room and picked up the pieces of my little girl youth, I spent a good 24 hours deliberating, trying to decide what would come home with me. It’s always been said that “one day, when I settle down…" but even into my fifth year of marriage I have no idea what settling in any one place means. Either way, I was torn between the finality of taking the pieces of me left in grandma’s house and the sadness of leaving everything in the attic.

In the end, I decided on halves. Ginny (x2) and Tessa my favorite Cabbage Patch would find a new home with me and my unsettled SF life. Everyone else gets to enjoy the heat of grandma’s attic, and I’ll make a bigger effort to visit them when I’m back.


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