The Fairy Godmother


As a kid we would make a trip every other year to Chicago to visit my Polish grandmother.

The thing that I loved the most, aside from the buttery sauerkraut pierogis and big bear hugs, was Colleen Moore’s fairy castle at the Museum of Science and Industry.

Every single trip I had to circle that thing over and over again. Sometimes I would just stop and stare, taking in all of the intricate details:

Marble bathrooms with running water. The weeping willow that actually cried and the rock-a-bye-baby crib. Tiny books of fairy tales. Gilded beds.


I had this dream that I was really adopted. These other people could not possibly be my family. Someday I would find out that I was really a rich princess and then I would buy this very same dollhouse.

One day I realized that I really wasn’t a princess. My real parents weren’t coming for me.


So I decided to make my own dollhouse.

I used cardboard boxes from the local wholesale club, adding on rooms with each trip. I used the plastic from package “windows” to make the glass of windows. Tubing from broken squirt guns made plumbing. Curtains and linens were cut from fabric scraps. I used old tinfoil for mirrors. I constructed furniture from left over cardboard.

Before long I had a mansion that rivaled the fairy tale castle, complete with a pool on the roof.

Fast forward…

My daughter wants a dollhouse.

I can afford to get her a fabulous one, with tiny furniture and a working doorbell. I want so desperately to give her everything her heart desires…

…and yet I also want her to learn to how to make her own dreams come true.

So no dollhouse. For now.


41 thoughts on “The Fairy Godmother

  1. Ahh. That brought back memories. I loved the Museum of Science and Industry. Not so much the doll house, but the watch escapements and all the mechanical stuff. Later the submarine.

    My vacation visits were not to Chicago, but from Chicago to an idyllic beach town in Michigan.

    Hanging with grandpa. Visits to Uncle Archie’s farm. Visits to the relative’s grocery in another part of town. Fishing in the lake for breakfast.

    Good memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This reminded me of when we bought our daughter a large Fischer Price doll house she had wanted for Christmas. She actually hugged the box with her whole little body when she saw what it was. But the kids played with box it came in afterward as well.


  3. I want a dollhouse like the one you built! But, alas, Pebbles is such a tomboy. I could never justify the time it would take to make one by telling myself it was for her. Here’s to hoping your little girlie stays girlie until the time the two of you can do this project together.


  4. Start with a gingerbread house, her own design, small scale? You can get her to draw it on paper first, teach her architecture and planning without her knowing. She gets to make it and most importantly eat her creation. 🙂 With your help of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonderful story. I am 71 was raised in New York, being one of six children from a poor family we had very few toys. However we did have each other and grand imaginations, plenty of friends and parents that loved us. I think you did the right thing let your little one’s use their imagination it does wonders in the future. :o) You sound like a loving smart Mom. :o)


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