A Last-Minute House for a Family of Six: A Story By Rose

A Last-Minute House for a Family of Six: A Story By Rose March 5, 2022

“Can you voice?” asked Rose one evening, as usual.

“Voicing” is how Rosie makes up her stories. Rosie has a dollhouse, a big plastic Barbie dreamhouse inhabited by G. I. Joes and Japanese UltraMan action figures. She likes to make accessories and miniatures for her dollhouse out of paper. But she doesn’t often move the characters around the dollhouse as she plays anymore. She sets them up as a tableau to start with, and then she comes to me and says “Can you voice?” and we sit together, narrating and acting out the story verbally. Sometimes we “voice” in my bed when Rosie can’t sleep and wants someone to talk to. Sometimes we “voice” in the car while we run errands. Sometimes we “voice” while I play a video game and put off doing my writing.

I was told today that we were going to voice a story about Dory, the mom who lives in the dollhouse.

The dollhouse father has always been named UltraMan Agul, because that’s the name of the Japanese action figure who plays his part. For that reason, the action figure family is called the Gyul family, and they live in the nation of UltraVille. UltraMan Agul lives in the dollhouse with his wife, Dory Gyul, and his children, Nick, Henry, Beezus and little Aggie. Nick has a wife of his own, Harriet, and a baby called Nicholas; there’s also a guinea pig called Medusa and two dogs named Biggs and Cupid. Medusa, Biggs and Cupid have their own adventures where they talk and play and get into trouble when the family is not around. And that’s just one household. Sometimes Rose’s stories follow UltraMan Agul to work where he is a police detective catching Batman-style villains with his staunch partner, Sergeant Tibbs. They follow the children to school where they get into scrapes with their friends. Sometimes the Hardy Boys, played by two other action figures, guest star and solve a mystery. Sometimes they all go on vacation to a foreign country like the United States. She never runs out of ideas.

This evening I was informed that Dory was a part-time real estate agent, and that today she was in a tizzy because “a family sold their  their old house and packed up their car and moved here from New York” demanding to buy a house when they rolled into town at the spur of the moment with “six adults, six children, six dogs, six cats and a rabbit” all stuffed in a minivan. I don’t know how this is possible because Rose already established that UltraVille is part of a chain of islands in the Atlantic. To the north of UltraVille is the island of Northerly, which has a climate similar to Minnesota, and to the north of that is Far Northerly which has igloos and polar bears. To the south of UltraVille is Southerly which is like Florida, and south of that is Far Southerly which is like Hawaii. But in any case, the family from New York was there, in a mini van, wanting to buy a house at that moment.

Dory was having none of their shenanigans when she showed up to give them a tour of a house for sale. “Now I warn you,” Rose said in her high pitched Dory voice, “it’s not my fault you didn’t ask for a workman to come to this house! The electricity is spotty at best and there are rats in the basement.”

Personally, I appreciate an honest real estate agent, and the sixfold family of strangers seemed to like the pitch as well. They went into the house.

“Don’t blame me if you’re up to your ears in mold when you walk into the living room!” said Dory. And then she told them that the hot water heater was “full of ice” because “it hadn’t been turned on before winter. Oh! And you can’t run the hot water heater and the furnace at the same time. And all the windows upstairs are broken.”

“Oh, good!” said Rose in a different voice, now voicing one of the sextuplets. “We love a light breeze.”

They walked into the kitchen next, where Rose narrated that “The refrigerator fell over. ‘I meant to nail that thing to the wall, really I did,’ said Dory.”

Now it was my turn to add to the play. Rose is always disappointed if I don’t add to the narrative as enthusiastically as she has, and I really do try.

“At that moment,” I narrated, “A wrecking ball crashed through the wall of the house. ‘I forgot about the demolition. We’d better leave!’ Dory said quickly. Moments after they all ran out of the house, it collapsed into a heap even though the wrecking ball had just hit one wall once.”

Now it was Rose’s turn to laugh at my creativity.

“I can sell you a condo for twenty-five thousand dollars,” Rose said in her Dory voice. And then she voiced the family of six adults, six children, six dogs, six cats and a rabbit. “I think we’ll just move back to New York.”

Later, it was time to do homeschooling. I told Rose to get out her notebook and write five sentences about anything, it didn’t matter what, to practice using her spelling words.

Rose looked at me as if I’d told her to carry the sky on her shoulders like Atlas. She protested that she couldn’t write because she didn’t know what to write. She didn’t have a single idea. Finally she came back with “I HATE WRITING. WRITING IS NOT MY THING.”

I tried to tell her it was indeed her thing, but she doesn’t believe me.

And then we voiced another story.



Image via Pixabay

Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Way of the Cross and Stumbling into Grace: How We Meet God in Tiny Works of Mercy.
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