Monday, September 21, 2009

My (Pretend) House

Okay, all of you grown up "little girls" out there, do you remember your pretend know, the one from your childhood? I bet you have a very vivid recollection of it if you let your mind wander back! Actually, I had several, depending on where I was playing, but my very favorite (and most elaborate) one was at my Grandmother and Grandaddy's house at East Lake. They lived right on the lake and ran a bait shop from their home. The house was a modest one, but they had a huge porch (or so it looms in my memory anyway) and THAT PORCH was my pretend house!

It really was the perfect house....actually I felt like it was a mansion! It had built in flower boxes with pretty flowers (caladiums, petunias, and ferns) all around, so it was also very decorative (I guess I liked decorating even then).

In this picture of Mama and me, you can see a little of the porch and just one of the many flower boxes in the background.

My house also had beautiful vintage furniture, complete with gliders and swings! I had three different doors in which you could enter my house! Well...really they were just steps in three different places leading up to the porch. The "front door" was accessible by going down a flight of stairs that (in reality) led down the embankment to the dock and lake.

These pictures show the view from my "front door" looking down toward the embankment at the lake and dock. (That's my grandaddy standing there and I can't make out exactly who is in the boat for sure).

I had a really fancy doorbell too (you know the kind that played an entire tune when my pretend guests came to call), and I would "glide" down the stairs to answer my door (you know like Scarlett O'Hara coming down her staircase), and beckon my guests to "please do come in". Then of course, my guests would come upstairs to the "next level" of my mansion and we would sit down in the beautiful parlor and chat and have tea, among the beautiful flowers.

That's my grandmother sitting there (in one of the spots that one of my guests might have sat).

I had quite an imagination, come to think of it! But then again, I guess, it was out of necessity. When we spent weekends there (which was fairly often), it was how I passed the time since there were rarely other children around for playmates. It was mostly retirees that lived on the lake. But I did love to see all the different people that would drive up and honk (that was the signal for Grandaddy to come out) and buy bait. I tagged along and listened (and probably talked more than I should too). I enjoyed being around all those people.

There was my brother, who is four years younger than me. Although he was a pretty good sport and played with me quite a bit, this pretend house pretty much existed in my imagination. It was exclusively mine! I don't think he was that interested in my house. However, my brother and I did combine our imaginations to create some fun play times. One of my favorites was playing "gas station". I would "drive" my grandparents' old green Ford Galaxy 500 (translation: sit in the car at the wheel), and pull up to the "station" where Richie was the service station attendant. Yes, I am old enough to remember when you could pull up to the full service pump and ask the attendant to "fill her up". And so Richie would oblige and also clean my windshield, and check by tires and oil too. Now, the entire time, he was doing this, I'd be sitting in that driver's seat like some glamour queen, very sophisticated-like, puffing on my "cigarette" (Gasp!). I know...I know...that's bad........but I did. Really they were crayons (they made perfect cigarettes) that fit neatly in my little compact holder (just like my Aunt Jo carried). I thought she looked SO glamorous when she smoked. Funny how kids see things, isnt' it? (And by the way, I never grew up to REALLY smoke). Anyway, then I'd pay the attendant and "drive away". Then I guess, we'd just play the whole scenario all over, but maybe with little varying twists. Hmmm...Richie never asked to "drive". I wonder why! It's kind of ironic though, his very first job when he turned sixteen was at a service station as none other than an attendant, and he was really good at it! (Guess you can thank me a little bit for that Richie)....right?

I also played "army" and "fort" with Richie and one of the grandsons of the folks down the street, when he came to visit his grandparents, and Richie played barbies with me (shh....don't least he WAS Ken)!

I sometimes wonder how many kids are missing out these days (because of video games and computers and such), on the fun of letting their imaginations take them on amusing childhood adventures that they will one day treasure! I'm thankful for my very own childhood ventures and my (pretend) house that I can go back and revisit (in my mind) whenever I wish..........How about you?


wrcdgc said...


I loved this post. I remember playing house and sitting all of our chairs up in rows on Sunday. I would gather all of my dolls and my husband (Donny Osmond) would all sit in front of the TV and watch any Church show and pretend we were there. Then we would leave and eat a big Sunday dinner.
Oh wait a minute I do that now except it's a real church and Ray's not Donny Osmond.

I remember playing with my cousins and my one cousin would line us up and teach us a song and dance. We were supposed to be the next family band. Oh the good ol days when you could use your imagination. Thanks for the walk down memory lane!


Cat Nap Inn Primitives said...

Hey Tammy first let me say..I just love your baby bangs and little bob..too also brought back some wonderful memories..we used to play with our lincoln logs in the back yard with our cars and make elaborate house in the dirt and big driveways and I loved those houses..I was always dreaming of living in...our imaginations were wonderful as kids and I feel sorry for the kids they just didn't have what we all had...thanks for the memories..:)

arkie said...

Glad your friend is doing well after surgery.

I had a old three 1/2 room house for a playhouse. We used part of it for feed storage and added stalls onto the back for the cows, but part of it was for a playhouse. We had old cabinets and chairs and a little table set for our furniture. The best thing about the old house was a fairy circle of jonquils grew out front of it in the spring.

Thanks for sharing your memory!

Wendi said...

What a great memory!

My sister and I use make a whole city out of the leaves under the big elm in our back yard. We would rake the leaves into lines for streets and make houses complete with rooms. We road our bikes through the streets and brought out baby dolls and all their stuff the play house. We would play for hours and it was so much fun!

I haven't thought about that in a long time. Thanks for the walk dowm memory lane!

Tomatoe Creek Prims said...

Neat post Tammy!
I had imaginery houses no matter where I was at but on my block there were three of us that played down by the creek with our baby dolls, or we played under our huge maple tree in the front yard:)

Sydney will be eight in November and she can't go out and play like we used to do she might never come back...when I mentioned that we would go out and play she asked "What's that?" So sad I think!

Felicia said...

Thanks Tammy for making me go back to my childhood. I remember we had a bus My uncles used for camping. When we was all at Grandmals house we took turns being the bus driver. I have 3 brothers and a lot of cusins. I loved to help in the garden and in the kitchen funny but I realy don't like to cook now. This really is a great post.

Walking on Sunshine... said...

What fun memories! Your "cigarette smoking" made me think of my dad and one time when we were at my grandmother's house and she gave us some money to go to the candy store and buy some candy. Well my sister and I came back with cigarette gum. Yes gum in the shape of cigarettes. My father was so mad! He took a scissor out and cut each one into pieces. And gave us a strong lecture of the dangers of smoking, etc. I will never forget this and I never, ever, ever, touched a cigarette. Can you imagine what he would have done to me if I did after what he did to that gum??
Great post!


I want you to know that I changed my Birthday Giveaway on my blog so your name was sorta lost in the change, but never fear... I had written it down as the first one to enter.. You are still in there..
couldnt find your email addy so posting it here..

Good luck in the drawing...

Joy ~ Doodlebug ~ said...


I love that story. I know you tell it to me over and over, and over, and OVER again, but it's so wonderful each time. I love playing that same game in our carport.

Love you.

Love, Joy =D

Anonymous said...

Tammy, that was a great post. I have to say, even though my son is into video games now, he did actually have a good imagination and play by himself when he was little. Since he was an only child, he was good a entertaining himself. We have a picture of him eating lunch in the bed of my husbands pickup truck, like he was sitting at a table (he used a cooler for a table). He had a little plastic chair that he sat in. He had to eat lunch with daddy!! I know my neice and nephew use their imagination also when they play good ole' fashioned games.

And I remember pulling into gas stations and saying "filler up". Friends of my parents had a gas station in our town and I remember going there with my mom, and my dad had an account there (he sold tools) so my mom never had to pay,they just put it on the account. But I remember going into the office of the garage and that smell of oil and gas and dirt will be forever embedded in my brain. But we would sit and visit with the wife who did the bookkeeping (her name was Dodie) and they had a snack machine and I always got a little bag of peanuts or something and she would let me sit on her lap while her and my mom visited. Ahhh the good ole' days....I miss them terribly.

Thanks for the walk down memory lane and I loved looking at your old pictures. You had a great childhood!!

Jill from NY

Anonymous said...

OMG one of your friends posts just reminded me of when I would rake leaves and make them outlines of the walls of a house and openings would be the door and windows!! WOW, that just came flashing back at me....I remember it was in the dirt under our big pine tree we had in the side yard and the dirt would become the floors. I was so neat at making sure the "floors" were clean of any debris....I guess that is where I get my cleanliness from, LOL...I am always vacuming!!


Goat Creek Grandma said...

Thank you so much for your post Tammy... it took me back in time... We spent most of our time at my grandma's growing up and I remember playing house in her basement or out in the back yard. We would build tents on her clotheslines. Climb the trees and just 'pretend'.

Its sad how a lot of kids today won't have those kind of memories. I remember while visiting my neice a few years ago I played pretend with her and she had a wonderful time.

Take care and thanks again for sharing,


Sharon said...

I am going to show my age here, but I remember every Saturday night I would sit in front of the TV and I would take my plastic trumpet and I'd be in the L Welk band. I also made the houses out of leaves.
I want to thank you for sharing and I enjoyed reading all of the comments to see what others did in their childhood.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Tammy, It was good to hear from you again. Haven't heard from you in awhile. Hope you didn't drown this past week from all of the rain. We had alot of rain but luckily, no flooding here.

My dream home was (and still is) a log cabin sitting Way up on top of a mountain --with a great view. I want lots of high windows so that I can sit by the fire and watch it SNOW....

I don't want much, do I???? ha

Have a good day.

In His service, Anne said...

Tammy..great post!! Wow so many memories of playing "charlies Angels" in my SIL red pinto, playing the wizard of oz on windy days, and of course school with all the left over papers and workbooks from the previous school year, singing into the vacuum cleaner pretending to sing with Sean Cassidy-lol. My kids still love to go up to their rooms and play make warms my heart!!

carolyn@primitive~devotion said...

Tammy, I ahd a "house" too growing up. But it was a bit different than your's. Mine was up in a tree on a big fat mulbery tree limb! LOL! So no furniture other than another smaller limb. But it sure was fun!

Your post made me smile.

Oh, and about pretending you had a cigarette, do you rememebr those candy cigarettes? My Daddy smoked and would get thsoe candies for us. I wish we all knew back then what we know now about cigarrettes!

Have a great week!

Nancy M. said...

Wow! Those are some awesome memories! I remember gas station attendants too, lol! To this day, I want a Galaxie 500, it's my dream car. My son thinks I'm crazy, but I love it! I actually had a play building that I decorated and pretended in. I think you're right, I am sure a lot of kids do miss out on that kind of play.

Grammy Linda / Behind My Red Door said...

What fun memories Tammy! I remember all the forts we had but believe it or not, I didn't play house much !I played with the boys and played sports. My how things have changed!

I would have loved to been in YOUR play house though....

Anonymous said...

Tammy, I love this post!! Aren't alot of the childhood memories we have wonderful!! I enjoyed seeing the pictures that you shared of your Mom, both of your grandparents, and of you too as a little girl!

Below is one of my younger girl memories..

*I remember back when I was around 11, I use to sit in the drivers seat of my parents car, with my sister sitting beside me,in the passenger seat and I'd make believe to be driving the car and make pretending turns left and right, and of course stopping at each redlight and stop sign until we were at our destination of where we wanted to go! That was so much fun! My sister was only 5 or 6years old at the time. It sure did keep us occupied for awhile!
Several years ago, my husband, myself and Daniel went and stayed a week at my father's mobile home, that is sitting on an acre of land out in the country, and Daniel went with us, and we took one of his friends along with us too, so Daniel would have someone to pal around with, and both those guys got so bored out of their minds, being there wasn't any computer at grampa's house! One day they asked my dad if they could mow his yard with his riding lawn mower. It had a little wagon on the back of it, and the guys went throughout the front and back and side yards and gathered sticks up before they mowed. They took turns driving the tractor, and had lots of fun out there! Then, afterwards, they got to have a little wood fire to roast some marshmallows outback where Dad had them put all the sticks they had gathered...

I agree with you Tammy, that there are alot of kids nowadays, who get lost when it comes to entertaining themselves. Without video's and hand held, or computer games they get totally bored, and say there's nothing for them to do! I do feel they are missing out, big time, on letting their minds and imaginations become more creative! It really is too bad! What kind of childhood memories are they going to have when they get to be our age and look back?

Thanks for bringing to my mind some of my funtime childhood memories Tammy!! It was great thinking back to those times!

Now did you say that Richie played Barbie dolls with you? ;) I'm just kidding with you Richie!! I know they had a Ken in the Barbie dolls! Richie was a very sweet little brother to play Barbies with his big sister! :)

Have a great evening!

Love & Blessings,

Madison said...

Well I am kinda sorta a country girl. Sometimes my country voice shows the tiniest bit. All my dads family lives in Texas but my moms family is all around. I can tell you that I am soooo jealous that you guys have 4-wheelers!LOL Thanks for commenting and yes I did have a swell time!

Love, Madison

yorkie's primitives said...

I really loved this post. It reminded me of days when my younger brother and I would play house. It is so sad that kids today don not have that opportunity. Thanks for sharing your house with us. Hugs, Valerie

Blessed Beyond said...

Hi Tammy,

OH WOW! What a great post! Thank you for sharing and sharing the pictures too. This post took me down memory lane with you and then down my own! We had a front porch with a banster rail around it. It would be my house! Then we had a long sidewalk that went either to the street or over to the drive way. The porch would be my house! OH the fun on that porch! Then my friend and I'd set up the mall down the sidewalk and drive way! We would hang purses and bags, and doll clothes, and sit things around too. This would let us have girl time while shopping at the mall!! Then we would stroll to the back yard and sit beneath this most awesome tree back there, and have a snack! This would be our restraunt!

This is such a funny post though, because I was just talking about this yesterday with a friend. How kids today do not know how to play like we use to play! I get the evil eye, and Yes Lil E is 5, but she doesn't k now how to use the computer yet. We don't play a lot of video games. WE still do things the old fashioned way! I like it that way! And that girl has an imagination! Everyday when she rides her bike, it's her car, or truck, or race car, or even the big truck like daddy drives.. She goes to work, or this or that! It's just so cool to see!!

Now you have me thinking for a post.......

Hugs and Blessings,

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