Columnist: The perfect house …
The window boxes were filled with red flowers that were a contrast to the white trim across the top floor windows. The red was the exact color of the front door with its antique gold entry handle. The color of the siding was a robin’s egg blue, however, not too bright, but just right.
The front porch was home to a rocking chair with red and white checked cushions and blue trim. The bicycle that leaned against its post was ironically the same red.
The floor mat was blue, red and white with “Welcome” printed on its surface.
If you were to pass this farmhouse with its gingerbread trim and wood shingled roof and not slow down, I would say you were looking in the wrong direction and you had just missed the perfect house.
I built this house with my own hands. It is 30 inches high, 24 inches wide and 18 inches deep. Yes, it is a doll house.
Don’t ask me why, but ever since I was a small child I always wanted the perfect doll house. I wasn’t a deprived child and I actually think at one time I had a small metal one.
You can grow older, but there is something within all of us that remains childlike. I am glad about that. It causes twinkles in the eye and laughter when you converse and play with a true child.
After I retired last year, I decided that building my dream house was going to be the first thing I did, plus write an article about my move to LaGrange, Georgia, at 15.
Well, I did both. God just kept pushing me to write and build. Now he has always pushed me to write, but build a doll house? Well, that one was new.
I ordered the kit that came in hundreds of pieces. When I opened the box and saw all the unfinished parts, my husband looked at me as if I had lost some brain cells in the transition to retirement.
For three months, I worked on my house. Each shingle stained and applied one by one on its roof. Each petal of flowers in the windows put on with tweezers and glue.
The cutting of trims, applying paint, assembling rooms and coming up with designs was, in truth, about as detailed as building an actual house.
The inside of the homes upper floor was a nursery, a child’s study and a side room. All color coordinated with rugs, bedding and pillows that I hand made.
The master suite was on the middle floor with a black four poster bed that I built from a kit. The bed perfectly made with a comforter, and pillows that boasted a French theme.
The attached bath was tiled in black and white with a claw footed tub, and stenciled walls. Towels were neatly folded on a white iron towel pedestal. Interior shutters were opened to let in the sun.
On the bottom floor was the old kitchen with blue, white and red. Complete with cookware, towels, artwork and potholders.
The cozy living room was of the same colors with miniature Southern magazines on the coffee table.
Once I finished it, it really was perfect. I was so proud of my little masterpiece.
Now the question was, “What do I do with it?”
This house really wasn’t something to actually play with, and my granddaughter was getting up in years, approaching age 11!
She came to visit this past summer, and we discussed what we should do with the perfect house. I always knew it was her house no matter whether she kept it or not.
The front door mat not only says “Welcome,” but the other two words are “Avery’s House.”
Actually, in real life, both Avery and I know there is no perfect house. Houses become homes when you complete the picture with family.
When Avery was 6, her mother developed breast cancer and their home became a place of fear, uncertainty, sickness, bravery, prayer and hope for a year. It was far from perfect.
During that time, there was a group of folks back in Atlanta that sent two packages to the nonperfect house in Florida. One of the boxes was 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. It was filled with gifts and cards and hope for the entire family.
Another package was almost as big, and I can’t tell you the delight and squeals heard from my daughter, Avery, and even myself as we dug deeper into the boxes. We never forgot that bright day given to us by some caring friends and my design clients in Atlanta.
Prayers were lifted around the country and God’s love embraced the little house in Florida with courage, determination and wonderful people.
In the end, my daughter survived and Avery’s nightmare became a memory. However, one we never forget.
Irony is never lost on me. I always feel it is a message from heaven in a way. Sent to remind us of what is important in life and that there are parts of puzzles being joined to form a picture.
When my daughter was being treated by some very special physicians in Boca Raton, Florida, the first visit to her oncologist was in a building called “The Lynn Cancer Center in the Sandler Pavilion.”
My name of course is Lynn, and Sandler is the name of one of the folks that sent the packages that brightened our days.
For years this same Mrs. Sandler has organized and worked with a group that always hosts a golf tournament and auction to benefit breast cancer research and support.
“Avery, I know what we can do!” I exclaimed.
“How would you like to give this house to be auctioned back to the same people that benefited us when you were 6? The money they raise goes to breast cancer research every October.”
“Perfect!” she replied as she waved her hand in air as if we had just solved a world problem.
Avery’s house left mine last week to go to the auction on Oct. 2.
There are no perfect houses at all, but somewhere in the middle of imperfection lies hope, healing and love. And that is how we start to win the battle against breast cancer.
How we turn sickness to wellness and how we turn sorrow to triumph is through giving, love and prayer.
And how me make a house a more perfect home is the exact same way.
Please contribute any way you can during October for breast cancer research so that no more children have to fear the loss of their mothers.