A Last-Minute Home for a Family of Six: A Rose Story

“Can you express?” Rose asked one evening, as usual.

“Voicing” is how Rosie comes up with her stories. Rosie has a dollhouse, a large plastic Barbie dreamhouse inhabited by GI Joes and Japanese UltraMan action figures. She enjoys making accessories and miniatures for her paper dollhouse. But she no longer often moves the characters around the dollhouse as she plays. She sets them up like a board to start with, then she comes up to me and says “Can you express?” and we sit together, telling and acting out the story verbally. Sometimes we “voice” in my bed when Rosie can’t sleep and wants to talk to someone. Sometimes we “voice” in the car while we run errands. Sometimes we “voice” while I play a video game and procrastinate on my writing.

I was told today that we were going to tell a story about Dory, the mom who lives in the dollhouse.

The father of the dollhouse has always been named UltraMan Agul, because that is the name of the Japanese figure that plays his role. For this reason, the action figure family is called the Gyul family and lives in the nation of UltraVille. UltraMan Agul lives in the Dollhouse with his wife, Dory Gyul, and children, Nick, Henry, Beezus, and baby Aggie. Nick has his own wife, Harriet, and a baby named Nicholas; there is also a guinea pig called Medusa and two dogs named Biggs and Cupid. Medusa, Biggs and Cupid have their own adventures where they talk and play and get into trouble when family isn’t around. And that’s just one household. Sometimes Rose’s stories follow UltraMan Agul to work where he’s a police detective who catches Batman-style bad guys with his trusty sidekick Sergeant Tibbs. They follow the children to school where they argue with their friends. Sometimes the Hardy Boys, played by two other figures, are invited and solve a mystery. Sometimes they all go on vacation to a foreign country like the United States. She never runs out of ideas.

Tonight I was informed that Dory was a part-time realtor, and today she was in awe because “a family sold their old house and packed up their car and moved here from New York” demanding to buy a house when they arrived in town on the spur of the moment with “six adults, six children, six dogs, six cats and a rabbit” all crammed into a van. I don’t know how this is possible as Rose has already established that UltraVille is part of a chain of islands in the Atlantic. North of UltraVille is Northerly Island, which has a climate similar to Minnesota, and north of that is Far Northerly which has igloos and polar bears. To the south of UltraVille is Southerly, which resembles Florida, and to the south is Far Southerly, which resembles Hawaii. But anyway, the family from New York was there, in a mini van, wanting to buy a house at the time.

Dory had none of their shenanigans when she showed up to show them a house for sale. “Now I’m warning you,” Rose said in her high-pitched Doris voice, “it’s not my fault you didn’t ask for a worker to come into this house!” Electricity is spotty at best and there are rats in the basement.

Personally, I appreciate an honest real estate agent, and the sixfold family of strangers seemed to like the land as well. They entered the house.

“Don’t blame me if you have mold up to your ears when you walk into the living room!” said Dory. And then she told them the water heater was “full of ice” because “it hadn’t been turned on until winter. Oh! And you can’t run the water heater and the furnace at the same time. And all the windows upstairs are broken.

“Oh good!” Rose said in a different voice, now voicing one of the sextuplets. “We like a light breeze.”

They then entered the kitchen, where Rose said, “The refrigerator fell over. “I wanted to nail this thing to the wall, really I did,” Dory said.

Now it was my turn to add to the piece. Rose is always disappointed if I don’t add to the story as enthusiastically as she did, and I really try.

“At that moment,” I said, “a wrecking ball hit the wall of the house. “I forgot the demolition. We better go! Dory said quickly. Moments after they all fled the house, it collapsed into a heap even though the wrecking ball had just hit a wall once.

Now it was Rose’s turn to mock my creativity.

“I can sell you an apartment for twenty-five thousand dollars,” Rose said in her Dory voice. And then she voiced the family of six adults, six children, six dogs, six cats, and a rabbit. “I think we’ll just go back to New York.”

Later, it was time to homeschool. I told Rose to get out her notebook and write five sentences about anything, anything, to practice spelling her words.

Rose looked at me as if I had told her to carry the sky on her shoulders like Atlas. She protested that she couldn’t write because she didn’t know what to write. She didn’t have a single idea. Eventually, she came back with “I HATE WRITING. WRITING IS NOT MY SUBJECT.

I tried to tell her it was her thing, but she didn’t believe me.

And then we expressed another story.

Image via Pixabay

Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Stations of the Cross and Stumbling in Grace: How We Meet God in Tiny Works of Mercy.
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Raymond I. Langston