This is not an Ibsen play. This is about our big find yesterday. And how very foolish grownups, even very old ones, can be, some of the time.
Maybe much of the time!
Before I tell you about the doll’s house I want to share something that has been gnawing at my feeble brain for a couple of weeks. We were driving towards Jerusalem on Route 443 (the truly best way to go!), with our amazing guide, Waze. I call her she and I always listen to her since my grandchildren, who know about such things, convinced me that she’s much more reliable than any map. She’s certainly more reliable than my instincts which are almost always wrong. (Never stand behind me at a line in the supermarket!). So she directed us off the highway for some reason, probably traffic, and we found ourselves on familiar roads near the Arab town of Shuafat.
A brief reminder of a tragedy from 2014 when three religious boys lost their lives when hitch hiking on the West Bank…….their murderers wore the garb of religious Jews and the boys, convinced it was safe, got into their car. The entire nation prayed for their safe return, which was not to be. Jews throughout the world organized vigils. These were the children of all of us. Their loss was profound. And parents throughout the land begged their children not to hitch hike. And so did grandparents like me. Our children, and grandchildren, dutifully agreed. They would never do what, years ago, was considered a mitzvah. Especially when it came to giving a chayal a ride. We often would go out of our way to take a soldier safely to his destination. Now, they are not allowed to take our ride and we are not allowed to offer it. Surely the same laws apply to our teenagers.
And so there we were in Shuafat and we saw two yeshiva boys standing at a bus stop. Their bus was obviously late and there they stood, hitch hiking. I restrained myself from getting out of our car and screaming at them. It wouldn’t have helped. Surely they’ve heard the admonitions already. Surely they felt they were able to judge the drivers of the cars offering them a lift. And since I haven’t heard otherwise, it’s obvious they made it to their destination intact.
I often wonder why we all court danger and rationalize it as well. I’m no paragon. Long before the doll’s house, I smoked. I smoked throughout my teen-age years. I smoked during my four pregnancies and I smoked when I mothered four young children. I knew better. Of course I did. Just like the yeshiva boys. But, I was going to stop at some future time. Just not yet. Eventually I did but not until many years had passed. Was I any different from the yeshiva boys? Don’t we all, for expediency or a false sense of invincibility, do things that are nothing short of stupid.
So, now to the doll’s house. Yesterday we were driving down our suburban New Jersey street and there it was. Sitting on the corner awaiting the heavy duty trash pickup was the most incredible doll’s house I’ve ever seen. It had a shingled roof. Sliding glass doors. Working lights. An equipped kitchen and bathroom. Multiple bedrooms. Living room and dining room beautifully wallpapered. Parquet floors. Kitchen cabinets with formica countertop. Beautiful exterior. Huge. The attention to detail was nothing short of amazing. Who would throw this out?
My mind can conjure up many stories about the doll’s house. Maybe this unknown neighbor was moving to a small apartment. Maybe the little girl that it was created for was living abroad or maybe she never had children and was now quite old. Maybe there was a sad story and the doll’s house was a tragic reminder. Maybe there was a souring of relationships and the love that had to go into making that house had turned to hate and animosity. Maybe, or probably, it just took up too much space. I will never know. I only do know that the house was an effort of many many months of planning and building. And that the finished product was truly museum quality. Yet there it stood on the sidewalk awaiting recycling.
Let me tell you that my husband has been suffering these past couple of months from severe sciatica pain. His usual active schedule has been reduced to an old man’s five or ten minute walk, often with the assistance of a walker or cane. And let me also tell you that we have a long planned trip to Australia to visit our grandson coming up imminently. We’ve been nursing that sciatica like it’s a new baby. Stay still sciatica. We need you to be silent so we can get on with our lives.
So there we are. Doll’s house and sciatica. By my estimation the doll’s house weighs more than two hundred pounds. I kid you not. So what do you think I, former smoker, present and former fool, did? I offered a meager amount of assistance as my husband, the sciatica sufferer, lifted this thing into our van. We couldn’t let it remain on the curb. It spoke to us and we answered.
And now, it’s in the van and we have no clue as to how to get it into our basement so that my husband, when the sciatica puts down its rearing head, can renovate it and our little granddaughters can play with the most fabulous toy ever.
So, this tale will have to be continued. Once we get the house out of the van. If ever. Hopefully this story will end as successfully as the boys’ hitch hiking. Otherwise we’ll have to sell the van with a house inside it.