In the early 1980s, when I was living in a lovely studio with an outdoor pool in a decent area of South Lawrence, I found my treasure! Next to our giant green dumpster sitting on the ground I spied it! All quite empty inside of bare plywood except for some thick green carpeting which I eventually ripped out and of course had to sand all the floors from glue residue. The outside was painted a sage green with white shutters and several window boxes. The kitchen had a bow window also painted white. Right there I decided to rescue this treasure, after all I didn't have to pay for it and I could always find another "little girl" interested in it. I cleared off a bureau and there it stood.
Ideas came rushing in. I remembered the 3 vintage wooden pieces I had purchased not too long ago. A brown hand-carved floor radio from the '40s and a white frig and stove from the '50s. And then it began -- the "miniature fever" they called it.
I drove to every miniature show I could find. Eric Fuch's in those days became my best friend. I wall-papered every room, put down every floor, measured and framed every inside and outside door frame. Hand-made the curtains for baby’s and master bedrooms. Painted the house a cotton candy pink, and shingled the roof and bricked the chimney. I also put brick and mortar in both fireplaces with a mirror and tweezer!
From friends I would hear "So Mary are you coming out dancing tonight with us?" And the same reply for a while was "I am in the midst of applying tile to the kitchen floor, blah, blah, blah!" But I was happy and so fulfilled that this project came into my life and made it all worthwhile. There were plenty of days to go dancing, after all that’s where I met my David, at the Roxy Dance Club.
The "mini fever" had barely subsided. I started furnishing every room with true delight. It was also electrified as glowing lamps illuminated every room. My lovely Mom even made by hand the red gingham dish towels that hang in the kitchen today! She even bought several pieces the house needed. She and my Dad would drive me to some shows and we just had a fun time! And as all good Italian parents they would drop in to visit the dollhouse when I was working and leave me supper and treats! I would find notes from Mom raving about how far I came fixing the interior as well as the exterior of it. I cherish those notes today. They really got into the progress of the house and its beauty!
As years passed I would decorate for every season and holiday. Even the attic accumulated the necessary cobwebs, dust and a house mouse! But it was minimal to what I have now accumulated from eBay! When I moved to Boston I set the house up in my Mom’s Beauty Shop in her home. Her clients and friends enjoyed it for 10 years as I would decorate always with some new little thing.
I lost interest when Mom passed and it stayed decorated for Christmas for 9 years. Then it was a decision I didn't make — David did! He brought it home to our place! It fit in front of our window facing where John F. Kennedy's apartment window faced! Home sweet home!
This summer the grass was cut, the flower boxes filled, the garden with its new gazing ball was in full bloom with lilies, tulips and irises! Hanging plants and a porch light adorn the front lawn. The frog pond I made was happening. The flamingo -- birdbath (I also made) attracted one cute, little yellow bird all summer! Croquet was enjoyed by all. And of course the outdoor "feasts" of sushi with Chinese take-out, cakes, 4th of July hot dogs, beer, oysters on the half shell, spaghetti and meatballs with Chianti! You can find pancakes, coffee and syrup for breakfast in the kitchen — just don't touch my "Mary" mug.
My Nano Catalano's portrait (Mom gave me this small round pin of her Dad) hangs proudly over the master bedroom's fireplace. Mom just loved that! A bust of Apollo and portraits of the Grand Canal and Degas ballerinas grace the living room walls. David prints a matchbook size newspaper weekly with our past week's color photo captions and stories. The Bowdoin Street Times is delivered in the new mailbox promptly!
Now for the autumn clean-up! Must rake leaves, stow out-door furniture, put fireplace wood near doorway and decorate for everyone's grand season of Christmas!
I truly hope you enjoyed this column! If you're in the area stop by the "house," the shiny rooster weathervane will guide you there -- it's a feast for sore eyes!
Buona giornata and God bless the United States of America!
--Mary N. DiZazzo-Trumbull
Read prior weeks' "All That Zazz" columns at www.allthatzazz.com. Mary is a third-generation cosmetologist and a Massachusetts distributor of Kosmea brand rose hip oil products. She may be contacted at (978) 470-8183 or firstname.lastname@example.org.