Monthly Archives: June 2020

My Coronavirus Dollhouse

Back in 1975, my baby sister got a dollhouse for Christmas.

It was a classic white clapboard house with a black shingled roof and black shutters. It had eight good size rooms and was a replica of the house she lived in, so I dubbed it “The Blind Brook House.”

I was a Delta flight attendant, living in Miami at the time, but thirteen hundred miles didn’t stop me from being obsessed with all things dollhouse. That Christmas, I spent a fortune on furniture for Blind Brook and spent countless hours helping my sister set it all up.

I loved that dollhouse more than she did, and for whatever reason, it never caught her attention. By the following Christmas, it was relegated to the attic, where it languished for sixteen years.

In 1991, when the attic got cleaned out, the house was rediscovered, and I became the proud owner of the Blind Brook homestead.

The dollhouse was dirty and cobwebby and needed a paint job.  My daughter was three years old at the time, and I figured she would love it. But like my sister, she didn’t have much of an interest in it at all.

Ironically, it was my seven-year-old son who loved Blind Brook. He helped me paint, carpet, and install stairs. We cleaned off all the furniture and set up the rooms according to his layout.

Soon after, my son lost interest in the dollhouse. So once again, it ended up in an attic—this time mine.

When we moved in 1996, the dollhouse was yet again rediscovered.

I wasn’t sure where we would put it, or if we even had room for it, but there was never a doubt in my mind that the Blind Brook house was coming with me.

At the time I dusted it off, and even though it needed a paint job, no one was interested in working on it with me, so I stuck it on a table in my daughter’s room with the front of the house facing forward, and we all forgot about it.

In 2017, my two granddaughters discovered the house and asked me what was behind the front door.

They were obsessed with it and wanted me to turn it around so they could see it from the back. I had all but forgotten that the house was full of furniture, and they loved it.

My oldest granddaughter wanted to know where the family was. Had they gone out? What did they look like? How many were there? Was there a cat?

Family? Cat?

I’m not sure why, but Blind Brook never had a family in it. Or any pets.

The strangest part is that I never even noticed the house was without a family, nor did anyone ever ask for one.

But my precious granddaughter wanted a family in that house, so I ordered one online—a mom, a dad, a little boy, a little girl, and a newborn baby.

The next time my granddaughter played with the house, she asked for a cat. So, I ordered a kitten. And a dog.

Fast forward to January 2020, when my husband and I bought her a dollhouse of her own. And she insisted that I buy her the exact family I had in my dollhouse. And of course, a cat of her own. And a kitty.

I was so looking forward to playing dollhouse with her. But then life changed, and all we could do was Zoom.

I began to look at Blind Brook from a whole other perspective. I was in quarantine, and so was my Blind Brook family.

As news of the virus got worse, I pulled out walls, and the staircase, to make larger rooms so that more people could fit into them.

While ordering corona supplies on Amazon, I threw in a miniature television and water cooler for my dollhouse. I wasn’t able to find real people toilet paper, so I ordered lots and lots of miniature toilet paper instead.

When the coronavirus death toll spiked and took my Aunt Mary, I bought another family—a husband, a wife, a little girl, and three more babies.

There were no ventilators, no masks, and no federal government leadership.

As I listened to the grimmest of grim reports day in and day out, I would take a daily reprieve from reality. With scissors, glue, and tape in hand, I went into fantasy mode.

I couldn’t do anything about the horrors outside my house, but I was in complete control of Blind Brook.

I added lighting and wallpaper, flooring, books, a dining room table, dishes, sandwiches, a menorah, bowls of tomato soup, and some beer on ice.

I tried to stay away from the news and binged on Dead To Me. By the time I finished Season Two, we were at 100,000 dead.

What could I do? What could I do?

I set my mini self up in the Blind Brook television room and invited my friend, Robin, and my sister G for some wine and cheese, and potato chips. I sat back with Robin and we watched Dead To Me together, side by side, while my animal-loving sis played with the kitten.

But the lonely would not go away.

so I went for a bike ride and wore a mask, but I couldn’t breathe.

Build a fire. Think happy thoughts.

And then came the murder of George Floyd. He couldn’t breathe either.

But not because of some stupid mask.

I shut down and drank too much wine.

I installed windows in every Blind Brook room to let in the light, and I bought a kitchen clock and a grandma and grandpa.

As the protests raged, I sat on the floor, staring at my therapeutical masterpiece.

I was then that I noticed that the clock on the wall was set for 8:18. Or was it 8:17?

At 1:12 scale, it was near impossible to decipher the exact time. I wanted it to be 8:18. For anyone who knows me, 18 is my go-to number.

When I messengered a friend about the systemic pandemic within a pandemic and my thoughts on 8:18 vs. 8:17, she quoted Luke 8:17:

“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”

That’s when I decided to pull myself together. I reminded myself that I had come out the other end of a lot of bad stuff.

I was a warrior.

Covid-19 wasn’t going to be the straw that broke my back.

So, I added another six women, two men, a dog, a birdhouse, and a teenage girl who’s still on backorder along with my real people toilet paper.

It finally felt like enough.

Blind Brook was full of family and friends. Lots of togetherness despite my fourteen weeks in isolated quarantine.

My sister Georgette thinks my dollhouse needs its own Instagram account.

I think my Blind Brook family needs a real life again.

A Time to Kill

The 1996 film A Time to Kill is about Carl Lee Hailey (Samuel L. Jackson), a heartbroken black man whose ten-year-old daughter was brutally beaten and raped by two white supremacists.

As the two men arrive at court for their trial, Hailey takes the law into his own hands and shoots and kills them.

He hires Jake Brigance (Matthew McConaughey), a white rookie lawyer to defend him, but getting him acquitted in the small segregated town of Canton, Mississippi seems unlikely.

The chain of events following the death of the two rapists and the subsequent trial of Hailey is fraught with racial tension and revenge by the Ku Klux Klan.

I will never forget Brigance’s closing argument because it profoundly affected me in a way I did not expect.

And it forever changed the way I thought about a lot of things.

You might be asking, how is that possible?

Here is what he said:

Now I want to tell you a story. I’m going to ask y’all to close your eyes while I tell you this story. I want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to yourselves.

This is a story about a little girl walking home from the grocery store one sunny afternoon. I want you to picture this little girl.

Suddenly a truck races up. Two men jump out and grab her. They drag her into a nearby field, and they tie her up, and they rip her clothes from her body. Now they climb on her, first one then the other, raping her, shattering everything innocent and pure — vicious thrusts — in a fog of drunken breath and sweat. And when they’re done, after they killed her tiny womb, murdered any chance for her to bear children, to have life beyond her own, they decide to use her for target practice. So, they start throwing full beer cans at her. They throw them so hard that it tears the flesh all the way to her bones — and they urinate on her.

Now comes the hanging. They have a rope; they tie a noose. Imagine the noose pulling tight around her neck and a sudden blinding jerk. She’s pulled into the air, and her feet and legs go kicking, and they don’t find the ground. The hanging branch isn’t strong enough. It snaps, and she falls back to the earth. So, they pick her up, throw her in the back of the truck, and drive out to Foggy Creek Bridge and pitch her over the edge. And she drops some 30 feet down to the creek bottom below.

Can you see her? Her raped, beaten, broken body, soaked in their urine, soaked in their semen, soaked in her blood — left to die.

Can you see her? I want you to picture that little girl.

Now imagine she’s white.

The defense rests your honor.