The ambulance driver is racing down the dirt road in the old 49 Plymouth with dust and rocks flying; it looks like a tornado coming down the road. Sitting in the passenger seat is the driver’s pretty wife and between them is their 5 year old daughter, idly playing with the lace on the hem of her dress.
Their destination is Ms. Helen’s house; it is a craftsman style home with a wide bricked front porch. It is a 2 story house with a set of dormer windows in the second story.
Ms. Helen is dressed in her best dress which is dark brown and has a white lace collar. Her white hair is pinned in a low bun and she unconsciously pushes back a stray wisp of hair on her forehead.
She sits in an old wooden rocker looking out the front window watching the dirt storm coming toward her house. She waits for the young family she has known only a short time, but liked from the minute she met them. And there is something about the young daughter that tugs at her heart.
When the young family arrives at the door Ms. Helen cordially invites them in. To the left of the front door is a large formal dining room and to the right is the large living room with a fireplace at the far end of the room.
Directly in front of the door is a wide staircase to the second floor. The staircase is beautifully done in glowing dark wood that matches the hardwood floors. There are 7 steps from the foyer and then it levels out onto a wide landing. Then it turns right and there’s another 7 steps to the upper floor, where a long hallway mirrors the one on the main floor that runs to the back of the house.
Behind the dining room sits the kitchen that is also visible at the end of the hall from the front door and to the right of the kitchen is the bath and laundry room.
As soon as the family steps into the foyer (at the bottom of the staircase) the little girl pulls on her mother’s skirt and asks if she can go play and points up and towards the back of the house.
The mother pushes the little hand away and tells the little girl that she can’t go upstairs, that they will play later when they get home.
As the family is led into the living room the little girl looks back at the staircase, and asks one more time if she can go play upstairs. Her mother points to a chair and tells her to sit down and be quiet.
The living room is a comfortable room with an overstuffed sofa sitting to one side of the fireplace on a beautiful oriental rug. In front of the sofa sits a long and low coffee table. On the other side of the coffee table sits two comfortable chairs that compliment the divan, one of which the little girl crawls into.
In the corner by the fireplace and beside the front window sits the rocker that Helen prefers to sit in. But she now sits in one of the chairs in front of the coffee table so she can serve the refreshments.
Ms. Helen serves the young couple coffee in delicate china cups and homemade cookies. The little girl is served milk and cookies. After eating a couple of the cookies the little girl asks “Can I go to the playroom upstairs?”
Ms. Helen says: “There is a play room upstairs and she is welcome to go play if she wants to.” She then says: “I will take you up there if you want me to.” As she jumps out of the chair the little girl says: “I know where it is!” Then she races for the stairs.
They can hear her little black patent leather shoes going up the stairs and down the hall to the back of the house. Then a door opens and shuts at the end of the hall and shortly after that they hear a squeal of delight. Toys begin hitting the floor, then a chest being drug out into the floor and then silence.
Ms. Helen says to the parents: “She is in the playroom at the back of the house. She went straight to it even though all the doors to the rooms are always closed. She found the toy chest that is built under the front window and she has drug out the chest of old dresses and shoes that are for dress up. It was in the closet.”
A little while later they hear the little girl coming down the upstairs hall. They hear the clomping of shoes that are to big as she makes her way to the stairs and then slowly down to the main floor.
Suddenly she appears at the bottom of the stairs in a pair of high heels and an evening dress that had obviously been Ms. Helens from decades ago. The little girl proudly clomps her way across the hard wood floor to pirouette in front of the three adults to show off her new clothes.
When the young couple looks at Ms. Helen, after her audible sigh, they are not sure if the mist in her eyes is tears or if she has something in her eye. But she has an odd smile on her face as she tells them about her only daughter, who would have been 25 years old that year, but she had died at the age of 5 from pneumonia.
Ms. Helen tells them about her daughter’s dark hair and blue eyes, just like the little girl that stands in front of them. The dress the little girl has on was her daughter’s favorite to dress up in. The shoes were the ones that her daughter always chose to wear with that dress.
“Sandra, Mother snapped, go take those clothes off and put all the toys away you were playing with, we will need to go soon!” That order brought me out of my fairy tale world of dress up and ended all my fun.
So I clomped up the stairs and put the dress and shoes back in the chest and pushed it back into the closet and shut the door. I then put all the toys back in the toy box that sat under the window, and left the little angel’s play room. To Contact Sandy: [email protected]