Thursday, December 23, 2010

Childhood Thrills (December 2010)

Childhood Thrills is a feature that recalls books I read in my childhood or adolescence that were special to me or "haunt" me in some way. I don't intend to re-read & review them, just simply share my memories and the feelings they evoke.


Big Susan by Elizabeth Orton Jones

I found this book when I was cleaning out my parent’s house a few years ago and was instantly overcome by nostalgia and wonder.  This was one of my favorite books when I was very small.

I had always wanted a dollhouse when I was little.  Unfortunately, I never got one.  However, the bookshelf in my bedroom had  cubbies so I utilized that instead. I made plates by popping the plastic out of soda caps and then used the soda caps for bowls. I made tables and beds using little boxes and scraps of materials. I made Christmas presents by wrapping up little cubes of paper.

I really wanted a dollhouse.  But my secret wish?  For my dolls to come alive and play with me. For something magical to happen with my dollhouse. 

Mrs. Doll plays the piano.
Whether this book gave me that idea, or I loved this book because it incorporated that longing, I'm not sure.  But it certainly gave me hope. The Doll family live in Susan’s dollhouse.  They understand that they are dolls and that Susan has to move them and speak for them.  They love her and love being played with.

Every Christmas Eve at midnight, something wonderful happens.  The dolls come alive until dawn on Christmas morning. (I’ve heard other legends like this too, namely that animals can talk at this time.) One year, when they come alive they see that Susan did not get the house ready for Christmas Day. There is no tree and no presents. At first they are disappointed but they love Susan so much they decide that they will give her a present instead and they clean the house from top to bottom. Then they do find a present. A little baby doll to add to their family.  They name her Little Susan after their beloved “owner” and the children offer their new sister all their old toys. The story up to here is enough to warm your heart, but then on Christmas morning when Susan comes to play with them again, (although they can’t speak or move), they see that there is a tree ready and presents waiting for them under the tree.
The Doll Family come to life and help Cook put her wig back on.
Not only did I adore this story of something magical happening, I loved the pictures in the book. They are so sweet! I also loved the simplicity of the gifts given, the appreciation and the feeling of family within the Doll household.

The Doll children give Little Susan their toys.

This book was first published in 1947 and this was the 4th printing from 1960. It has a stamp from my old elementary school and I wonder if one of my older siblings brought it home and never returned it.

My father in law used to build dollhouses. Ironic isn’t it? So now my dream of having my own dollhouse has come true.
My dollhouse.  Built by my father in law.

Inside of dollhouse.  A work in progress.


Savannah said...

WOW, what a doll house. Its so perfect. The inside looks awesome! The story is intriguing. Thanks for sharing!

Liz said...

Such an interesting story! I'm impressed that you were innovative enough to build your own dollhouse as a child. The one your father-in-law built for you is lovely. Thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

love the doll house! so cool! =)

Demitria said...

So cool that you found that book years later.

A Home Vintner said...

I love all the wonderful pictures, Midnyte!

Angelique said...

Your dollhouse rocks!!! I always wanted one..not the Barbie kind, but a REAL dollhouse with little working lights and wallpaper and carpet and magical miniatures...
Maybe someday =)

A Hippie's Bookshelf said...

Hi! Your doll house is amazing! I'm jealous. Your Father in law sounds like a very generous man.

Selena @ The Enchanted Book included me in the Life is Good Award. I would love to pass this onto you. I'm not sure if you accept awards, if not it's ok. If you would like to come by my blog to see what to do next :)

Life is Good Award
The Wytch's Mirror

Anonymous said...

Hiya Midnyte, great feature! Man that dollhouse is cool :-) Hope you have a great new year and that you have a wonderful 2011!


Anonymous said...

I'm going to repeat what others have said, but wow! That's one awesome doll house. I love the attention to detail even down to the world globes and the knight armour. Congrats on getting it! It's wonderful and that was a great story. It's fascinating how books can shape you at such a young age and stay with you for the rest of your life.

Midnyte Reader said...

Thanks everyone for your comments :) I'll definitely post pics as I work on the dollhouse.

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