I remember, when I was a little girl, once visiting an acquaintance’s residence and marveling at the amazing playhouse her family had in their back yard.
It had a real roof and a real door and even a little lamp mounted into the ceiling inside. My memory paints it pink, though I don’t recall very clearly if it really was, with little bits of ornamentation to make it resemble a dollhouse. And it was child-sized, just right for a miniature tea time with the neighborhood children.
I never had my own playhouse that I can recall, but I’ve always enjoyed seeing kids play house in something barely tall enough for an adult to bend over in. So when friends of ours mentioned they were in the market for a little house for their almost-not-a-toddler-anymore, my husband agreed to design and build one and I was eager to help.
I held the tape measure, sorted through wood screws from old projects and consulted on window placement. But mostly I watched as he looked at his pile of 2x3s and plywood and fashioned in his head what turned out to be a house worthy of the imaginations of the Peanuts gang. Occasionally he referenced an old envelope he’d scribbled the rough idea on, but mostly he calculated the measurements in his head and sawed and screwed each piece together until slowly the lumber turned into a miniature house. Sturdy — because of course you’ll eventually find a kid or two on the roof — with windows and a half-door just short enough for the girl’s little brother to swing open, it even had real shingles on top, left over from a shed my husband had built some time ago.
Once we’d set the house down in its corner of our friends’ yard, the barefoot girl stared for a few seconds, then gingerly stepped through the gravel and grass where she’d normally refuse to set foot, wasting little time before swinging open the door and poking her head out the window.
Sarah Einselen is editor and general manager of the Gainesville Daily Register. Reach her at email@example.com.