One year at Christmastime my parents proved once and for all that they love my sister more than me. They gave her Kiddletown.
I can't think of anything I envied more. It was a suitcase which, when opened, contained a row of plastic-molded houses and stores, with perfectly appointed plastic-molded gardens and pathways in front. I think there was even a playground or lilypond.
It was lovely.
We both played with kiddles, but it was definitely more her thing. They were these delicate creatures - about 2 inches tall with tiny, tiny bodies and large heads and long, flowing hair. Even the Fabio-esque male kiddles.
I, on the other hand, played with trolls.
I made them a house - a luxury spread constructed from shoe boxes stapled together and glued to a piece of plywood. It was lovingly decorated with handmade furniture. I used dry chickpeas as hardrolls. One cannot in good conscience call it lovely. But it was very fun to build and play in. I think the trolls were happy there.
It's the chickpeas that make me realize what has happened.
You see, my sister lives in Kiddletown. And by now you all know where I live.
Yesterday we spent the day at the pool in her subdivision. Although I did not get to sit with a trashy novel, it was pretty great.
I noticed a group of teenage girls in the lounge chairs at the deep end of the pool. I am strictly shallow these days, so I didn't chill with them. They wore string bikinis with words lettered into the quadrants: p i n k, or R O X Y.
I just got a new suit and am glad it is in style, what with the writing and all. It has the Preamble to the Constitution on it.
With the Periodic Table on the back.
There was a time in high school when I wished we lived in one of these neighborhoods. I like the sense of community - the fact that you can go to the pool or go for a bike ride and find people you know and hang out with them. It is something I have strived to emulate - although my own personal subdivision spans 6 towns.
I also like the idea of those European town centers, where people gather in the afternoon or evening without having to text message all their friends.
I think I am trying to turn Trout Towers into one of these town centers.
I have a better shot at that than turning it into Kiddletown.