The Permanent Family Record
Cheesehead By Proxy, “back in Northern Minnesota”: “This is the story of my mother’s dollhouse, which has now been played with by four generations of girls.
“The dollhouse is about 88 years old. It was hand-built and -painted and then furnished for my mom by her aunt and uncle in about 1929 or 1930. Those were years of the Great Depression, and everyone in the country was having a very hard time financially. Kids just didn’t get many toys back then.
“The aunt and uncle were a couple who had been unable to have children of their own. They lived in Hartford, Connecticut, where my mom’s father had grown up. My mom always told the story of how the dollhouse and all its furniture, lamps, dishes, bedding, etc. were shipped by railway (on a train) in a large wooden crate much like you might have seen in the well-known movie ‘A Christmas Story,’ in which a ‘leg lamp’ was shipped to the family. I still have the crate that the dollhouse came in, and that’s what I will pack it in when it’s time to put it away. It is about 5 or more feet long and about 4 feet high and is under our stairs in the house.
“Front view when all closed up. Front pieces come off; still have original brass wing-nuts!
“My mother’s Aunt Alice had hand-sewn all of the teeny-tiny sheets, pillowcases and curtains in the dollhouse, while Frank had painted the rooms and done all the finishing of the woodwork. All of the tiny drawers of the dressers actually pull out, the dining-room table has a removable leaf, and the leaves of the sideboard turn down and are held up by a tiny wooden flange. There are so many tiny details in this dollhouse, as I hope you can see in the photos.
“When my sister Kate and I were little, our mom had never told us about having owned the dollhouse, as she wanted to give it to us as a Christmas surprise when we were old enough to not wreck it, but young enough to enjoy it. So, this one Christmas season, probably about 1959 or 1960, when we would say ‘What are we getting for Christmas?’ or would tell her what we’d like to ask for, our mom would just say ‘HO HO HO!’ like Santa. She built up this big suspense, and we were really excited that Christmas, not knowing what we might get.
“On Christmas morning, we got up in the dark, as was our routine, and sneaked out to the Christmas tree and plugged in the tree lights without turning on the main room lights — which was really magical in our mind’s eye. And there in all its glory was the dollhouse, all set up.
“My sister and I played with the dollhouse all the time as girls, and then when Kate had outgrown it, I continued to play with it — I think until I was about 12. Finally, it had to be put away once more, and back into the wooden crate it went . . . until my own daughter was old enough for it, in about 1986 or 1987.
“About 22 years had passed with its not being seen. Beth played and played with the dollhouse, and we kept it out until she was 12. She wrote a goodbye letter to herself that is in the attic of the dollhouse to this day.
“So then again, when our granddaughters (our son’s daughters) were old enough to play with it carefully in the 2000s, I took out the dollhouse and set it up in our home here. It gave me great pleasure to see how those two liked to pretend with it and enjoyed so much what our daughter, and me, and my mom had all in turn enjoyed as little girls. But now the granddaughters are 14 and 12, and it is time to pack up the dollhouse once again. My daughter has one son, so until further notice it will be in the crate.
“It has been a well-loved toy — and like all the toys in the movie ‘Toy Story,’ that’s all a toy can ask!”
Friendly Bob of Fridley: “Can we PLEASE include the entire year? (Or: 14,001 things to gripe about.)
“The submission from Donald about Time magazine’s ’THE 25 BEST INVENTIONS OF 2017’ brought to mind one on my pet peeves.
“I can never understand why we need these ’Best _____ of <whatever year>’ or ’Who died in <whatever year>’ lists before the year has actually ended. It seems that, each year, the lists come ever earlier. In the case of this particular one, I guess inventors are to take the month of December off. Come on . . . we are just a week into December! Last time I checked, every single day of this month is to be a part of the year 2017.
“There are many places one can look up important things that have occurred on a given day of the year. Here is a smattering just from the days of December following Christmas.
“December 26, 2004: 9.3 magnitude earthquake kills thousands as it causes devastation around the Indian Ocean.
“December 27, 1978: Spain becomes a democracy after 40 years of dictatorship.
“December 28, 1612: Galileo Galilei becomes the first astronomer to observe Neptune (although he mistakenly catalogued it as a fixed star).
“December 29, 1845: Texas admitted as the 28th state of the Union.
“December 30, 1922: U.S.S.R. formally created.
“December 31, 1890: Ellis Island opens as a U.S. immigration depot.
“Those seem like rather important historical events. Who knows what earth-shattering event might happen in the next three-plus weeks? Let’s give it a chance.”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: For our money, that has got to be one of the 10 Ten Bulletin Board Rants of the Year . . . so far.
Our theater of seasons
Wayne Nelson of Forest Lake reports: “Subject: BIRDS OF A FEATHER EAT TOGETHER.
“Just about every day now since winter has set upon us, we have been visited more regularly by some turkeys looking for something to eat. We usually get anywhere from five to 12 of them at a time. It seems that they have a certain planned route that they always travel, going from one house to another through the back yards in search of something to eat. The food that they are in search of is the bird feed that lands on the ground under the feeders that the squirrels spill out.
“Today we had about 10 of them stop by for a visit in our back yard. My wife put out a couple of corn cobs for the squirrels to chew on the other day, because they have been eating all of our bird feed like crazy. The squirrels didn’t seem too interested in the cobs, so they went untouched — untouched until the turkeys saw one up on a feeder today that we have in our garden. One turkey actually flew up on and landed on top of the feeder to try to get to the corn cob. She almost slid off of the roof several times trying to bend down and over the side to get to the corn. It was quite a stretch for her, and after several attempts she was able to knock it onto the ground, where a couple pecked away at it.
“I’m sure that they will all be back again tomorrow, looking for some more corn.”
‘Tis the season!
The Stitcher of Woodbury: “Growing up in San Diego, our elementary school drew its students from the predominantly Hispanic and African-American neighborhoods. It was the custom for one of the classes to present Las Posadas in our Christmas pageant. Las Posadas re-creates Mary and Joseph’s search for a place to stay in Bethlehem. In the neighborhood, the people portraying Mary and Joseph go door to door, singing their request for shelter, and the people in the homes sing their response, refusing entrance. The singers go back and forth until the ‘innkeepers’ let Mary and Joseph in, where everyone gathers for a party.
“Our Christmas pageant was held in the school auditorium, and that year my class played the parts of Mary and Joseph, singing our request, with the audience singing the response. We wore our best, with the girls in long dresses, and all of us carried lit candles as we journeyed through the audience and onto the stage. I don’t know if it was nerves, or the heat, but as soon as we had all made it on stage and stood facing the audience, I fainted. With my lit candle. Next to the other girls with their long dresses. Luckily, they were able to extinguish my candle before anyone went up in flames, and they dragged me backstage to recover while the pageant went on.
“They continued with the tradition of Las Posadas, but that was the last time any class was equipped with lit candles.”
Life in the Telemarketing Economy (responsorial)
OTD from NSP: “Response to item in 12/5 BB:
“‘Shell Lake Granny reports: “Subject: Scam phone calls.
“‘Here is a phone call I got last evening:
“‘Land line phone rings.
“‘Caller: ‘Is Ethel there?’
“‘Me: ‘Who are you?’
“‘Caller: ‘My name is Jack.’
“‘Me: ‘What do you want?’
“‘This is how I handle all phone calls if I don’t recognize the caller’s voice.’
“When I don’t recognize a number but hesitate not to answer because the number is similar to one I would answer, I respond with ‘This call is regarding?’
“Most of the time, it is a telemarketer and the call is soon ended. Saves time, and I get the entertainment of listening for a few seconds as they try to figure out how to answer, as the response is not on their programmed list.”
Not exactly what Macy’s had in mind?
Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul, reports: “Subject: I give up . . . I’ll go there!
“There must be some really, really great bargains at Macy’s, based on the inserts I received in my Thursday newspaper: Eight — count them — eight!
“Or maybe the carrier just wanted to get rid of them in a hurry.
Joy of Juxtaposition
The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills: “Subject: Twice in a (Warren) Moon.
“I hadn’t heard a reference to Warren Moon in I don’t know how long, but his name rose twice in the Twin Cities dailies in the last two days. To wit:
“On the ‘REMEMBERING’ page of Wednesday’s Minneapolis paper was a lengthy obituary for Harold ‘Hal’ Fabriz: ‘Longtime FBI agent.’ After detailing his career in law enforcement, the piece included this:
“‘Fabriz finished his FBI career in Minnesota, retiring in 1987. He spent the last 16 years of his professional life doing drug testing for the National Football League, primarily working with the Vikings.
“‘”Our dad collected Warren Moon’s pee,” said Sharon (Fabriz’s daughter), referring to the former Vikings quarterback.’
“On Thursday, this headline appeared under ’NFL report,’ on Page 3B in the Sports section of the Pioneer Press: ‘Harassment lawsuit filed against (Warren) Moon.’
‘This was the last paragraph in the article: ‘Moon starred for the Houston Oilers from 1984 to 1993, and also played for the Vikings, Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs before retiring in 2000 at age 44.’
“No clever remarks to follow.”
Then & Now
Gregory J. of Dayton’s Bluff writes: “Today the Other Paper, the one with the good comics, ran a ‘Peanuts’ comic strip showing Charlie Brown writing a letter to the Little Red Haired Girl.
“Letter writing has always been a part of ‘Peanuts.’ This particular strip was first published in 1970, when it was safe to assume that anyone past the age of 10 would be able to read cursive writing. From what I hear, there are schools that no longer teach cursive, which means Charlie Brown might as well be writing in a foreign language.
“Is there an app that can translate cursive into printing?”
The dreaded vote of (self-)confidence
Email from Donald: “Subject: Invalid code.
“From ‘THEY SAID IT’ in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated: ‘“I’m going to coach this team as long as my key card works.” Ben McAdoo, the second-year coach of the Giants, 15 hours before he was fired after a 24-17 loss at Oakland dropped New York to 2-10.’”
What’s in a (band) name
Or: Not exactly what he had in mind (BULLETIN BOARD MUSES Division)
Semi-Legend: “Subject: Who’s on first?
“Your muse — ‘BULLETIN BOARD MUSES: Did you know that The Who was never the headliner, on any bill? It’s true! They were always a warmup act. That’s why people always said: “The Who’s on first”’ — reminded me a classic comedy bit, ‘No opening acts.’
“Here’s a video performance”:
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: This one’s pretty darned funny, too, while we’re at it.
Could be verse!
Tim Torkildson: “From the Wall Street Journal: ‘Effectiveness of Flu Shot Is 60% — in a Good Year.”
“I thought that my flu shot was valid.
“As certain as croutons in salad.
“But now it’s revealed
“As just a cracked shield —
“I’m starting to feel a bit pallid . . .”
The Permanent Maternal Record (responsorial)
DebK of Rosemount: “It was Tim Torkildson, I think [Bulletin Board confirms: Excellent memory, DebK! Indeed, it was Tim Torkildson — in the Bulletin Board of November 27, 2016] who wrote awhile back about his mother’s spider-control strategy: to keep nothing that might be converted into spider habitat.
“Having just returned (hurriedly) from my Advent descent into the farmhouse basement, the only portion of the property still in original (circa-1920) condition, to take stock of Christmas decorations stored there in the off-season, I am prepared to endorse Mrs. Torkildson’s methodology.”
The Permanent Granddaughterly Record
NaNa Ellie of Birchwood, Minnesota: “Three years ago, I submitted a photo of my granddaughter Savanna arranging our Nutcracker collection. You were kind enough to include the photo in your BB section. We were thrilled.
“Last Sunday, Savanna arranged all of the Nutcrackers by height and color and added an orchestra with the small Nutcracker ornaments. Savanna asked me to send this your way. She is very proud of her work, as I am of Savanna.
“This has become a cherished tradition. Thank you for your consideration.”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Our pleasure, ma’am. We are all for cherished traditions.
Band Name of the Day: The Little Red Haired Girls
Website of the Day, from Double Bogey Mike: