My mother had a passion. Actually, she had several and they all involved creating in some form or other. I’m not talking about her love for her husband or her kids. I’m talking about the things she did that belonged just to her. Throughout the years these passions included reading, putting jigsaw puzzles together, knitting, crocheting, designing and executing needlepoint tapestries, gardening, drawing, painting, cooking…well, you get the picture.
The last passion she had in her life, the one that she could lose time in, was her dollhouse. It was a Christmas present that came in a multitude of pieces. When it was put together it became a plain wooden three story building with moveable walls and staircases. It was a blank canvas which my mother, in her amazing way, transformed into a house for a ship’s captain, circa 1830 (i.e. before the industrial revolution). The captain lived in Baltimore, MD and mom painted a mural in the dining room of the Chesapeake Bay. She wrapped the outside in faux brick, painted the floors with watercolor to look like hardwood, assembled the furniture from kits, and used polymer clay to create a design in the ceiling of the living room. Everything was carefully researched and if it didn’t fit into her story, then it was put aside. Her sister did a teensy needlepoint rug for the floor of one of the rooms. And we even found a parrot to hang in the study.
I’ve said before that my mother was amazing. Well, what you may not know is that she did all of this with only one hand. She suffered a stroke when she was 49 that paralyzed her right side. So she created this masterpiece all by herself with only one working hand. Having one hand didn’t stop her from playing and creating this wonderful house. She did tell me once that she could never work on it until all the everyday things were done, paying the bills, shopping, errands…all those things that creep into your brain when you’re in the creative flow. I always wished she could have made that house her number one priority, especially after macular degeneration stopped her from being able to work on it.
Today, it stands on its table for all to see. We open up the doors occasionally and show someone who’s never seen it before. We are all in awe of it, it represents a passion and a determination not often seen in everyday life.
For another post about my mother, click here.