My fondest childhood memories of Christmas morning involved “coffee milk,” presents and swearing. It’s usually what got me out of bed on Christmas morning. I wasn’t like a normal kid who got up at 3 in the morning to stake out the tree waiting for Santa to arrive, hoping to catch him in the act (or my parents in a huge coverup). Nope, I stayed in bed until I heard the cussing and smelled the coffee.
You see, I loved Barbie as a little girl (what little girl DIDN’T?). I had them all. Two or three different Barbies, including the Twist-N-Turn Barbie (with the bendable legs), Midge (her sidekick), and Skipper (her annoying little sister). And my Barbies all had great wardrobes, not only “store bought” Barbie clothes, but my mother also sewed clothes for my dolls. And my favorite uncle, Herbert, who lived with us, and who doted on me, was not to be outdone by doll clothes.
Nooooo. Every year at Christmas he would buy me the latest coolest Barbie item: either a new doll, clothes or a doll house. One year it was a ranch style home (see the picture). And it was this cardboard dollhouse in 1966 that caused all the grief. He managed to assemble each and every piece of teeny tiny and oh so trendy Danish modern furniture. But the doll house itself, that was another story. The cussing started early And lasted for a few hours while my mother and I had breakfast. For some reason, he was never able to get the thing to fold up like a suitcase, as it was supposed to. So my doll house sat fully open, and fully furnished, in all its glory, on a card table that my mother dragged into my bedroom to house the behemoth house. It was great fun as it was always open. But it also stood as a shining testament to my Uncle’s perseverance in trying to put the damn thing together, sitting in the middle of the living room floor, swearing while inserting Tab A into Slot B so my squadron of dolls would have a place to park their plastic asses.
I miss you Uncle Herbert.