In 1924 my grandfather made a dollhouse for his only daughter, my mother, for her fifth birthday. He used a wooden packing case to build a doll’s house with four rooms, each with a glass window, meticulously crafted wooden stairs, and a bathroom upstairs with a door on tiny hinges. To that was added a pitched roof. This was in Johannesburg.
Over time, the dollhouse was sent by rail to cousins in the Karoo where it resided until I was about five years old. My mother decided it was time for the doll house to ‘come home’, which it did from Aberdeen in the Karoo to the Sheba siding in the then Eastern Transvaal.
While I was at university, my parents moved to live at our farm permanently and the doll house moved to the De Kaap Valley and was played with by all the grandchildren who visited them there.
At last, I had a daughter. So, in due course, we loaded the doll house onto our truck and brought it down to the Eastern Cape. Here it was also well used by my grandchildren.
Then … my daughter had a daughter … and we loaded the doll house onto our truck and took it all the way to Cape Town …
… Not bad for a doll house made from a packing case 98 years ago!