The Doll

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One Big Happy Family

One Big Happy Family

Our father was an architectural designer and had a passion for refurbishing really old houses. Cat and Harold were about three when he bought the house into which I and Robert were born. My family has two sets of fraternal twins, a boy and a girl, a set of identical twin boys and Chrissie. But before Chrissie was born we lived in this huge old Victorian mansion that Dad got for a song because it was about to fall down. He said that he and mom and the twins lived in the chapel for almost a year before they could move into the real house, because structural work needed to be done on the house proper. By the time Robert and I could remember anything, the main house was refurbished, strong and a lot of fun in which to live.

Mom loved to cook. She was a professional chef’s assistant before she married Daddy but once the twins were born she became a stay at home mother and helped Dad with the renovations. She became really good at interior decorating, too. The house had nine bedrooms. Mom and Dad had the master suite which included its own bath room and a sitting room. The kids eventually ended up with all the girls on the west side of the house and the boys on the east side of the house. Once the nursery was empty the kids got to pick their own rooms and we were more or less in order From Cat and Harry on down in distance from our parents’ room. Once Chrissie was supposed to have her own room, she talked Mom into getting me to share with her. I was nine when she was born.

With Chrissie in a sling on her chest, Mom would pile us all into the van for shopping day and we’d each take a part of the list and hit the aisles in the store. It was fun! We’d get the entire five or six hundred dollar order done in about half an hour that way and it helped us to feel part of the family. It was important and we did the best we could. Once Chrissie was old enough to help, someone had to follow her because she ignored the list and picked up what she wanted. Shopping was always a trial with her along. If we put back what she wanted she’d throw a tantrum until Mom gave in and bought what it was she wanted. It didn’t take long for Mom to figure out that she could give Chrissie any list at all because unless Chrissie wanted it, she didn’t pick it up anyway. The rest of us had to share the list as if Chrissie didn’t exist.

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