A few weeks ago a friend showed me her beloved Fisher Price Little People Schoolhouse, the original one from the 70's that she'd saved and cared for meticulously all these years. It brought a lump to my throat.
My very favorite childhood memories include Fisher Price Little People. I had the Yellow House, and later we added the Tudor House, the Houseboat, the Hospital, and the amusement park pieces, and the Sesame Street Clubhouse, and the A-frame House, the Farm, and the Airport. Probably others were among the collection that my brothers and sisters and I shared. It was my very favorite activity. They were my favorite toys.
Our third floor, for a time, was our playroom. We had the whole room set up with a Little People village. It was my make-believe. It was me becoming a wife and a mom. It was me decorating a house and caring for babies and running errands and visiting friends. I loved my Little People world. My mom tells me that I loved to play Little People with my brother Ethan when we were wee little, and I'll admit, without too much shame, that I continued to play till I was at least 12. I simply loved that world. It was so real to me, and it was my play canvas of all the dreams I held in my little girl heart of the woman I would one day be.
When I got home from my friend's house the other day after seeing her Schoolhouse, I signed on to Ebay to look around. I was shocked to see every little playset from my childhood up for auction! I had these long-darkened memories come flooding back into my mind of the little green girl with the red hair. The blue mom with the yellow hair. The little dog. The gurney that comes with the hospital. The toy cars and wagons for the children. The ferris wheel. The playpen and rocking horse.
The yellow house.
I called my children in to see, and with an emotional exuberance and excitement I told them how I had played for hours with this set. I remembered just how I'd had the furniture set up. The loveseat in this corner of the livingroom, next to the fireplace. The television across the way. Two twin beds under the windows, a crib in the middle.
And then I started to cry. That was the most unexpected of all. I couldn't help it. Just seeing the pictures of those toys, that my little hands had played with so dearly. I could still feel them in my hands. I could smell the particleboard covered with laminate. I had all sorts of flashbacks that brought such a longing into my heart that only tears could fall for that little girl. The little girl who is all grown up now. Whose own little girl is almost grown up now.
I had to bid on it. On the Yellow House. On the Hospital. I knew I couldn't afford them right then, but I had to do it. I was outbid, but not discouraged. Another time will be right. Someday I want to have each of those sets again, in good condition, with their pieces, and I want to lay them all out in my livingroom and gather my children around.
And play Little People. I'll be the family in the Yellow House.