You know the view from my kitchen window almost as well as I do. Over the past few years, I have struck up a soft of friendship with the elderly lady whose house and garden I see. She sometimes rings me on a Saturday morning and brings me flowers from her garden, to thank me once more for the wall calendar I had made for her a few years ago with photos of her garden.
The other day, she rang to ask whether I would like to come over and have a look at the dolls house and kitchen she and her siblings used to play with when they were children.
I didn't have to think twice and was over at her house a few minutes later.
We climbed the stairs to the attic room where she had it all set up. She explained that the kitchen and house had belonged to her mother before her, and was originally from 1903. (My neighbour is going to be 85 years old this summer.)
Of course not everything you see here is from 1903. Typically, bits would be added as Christmas or birthday presents, or when something would break beyond repair and need replacement. The latter happened very rarely, as the children who played with this kitchen and house loved their toys and handled them very carefully.
Looking at the kitchen in detail, you can detect many things that were in use in real life not only in 1903, but for decades afterwards.
This little "cage" was for storing fresh eggs:
"Zwiebel" means onion, and "Wischtuch" means cleaning cloth.
The metal dustbin is very similar to the life-sized one we still used when I was a kid, to put the ashes from our bathroom stove in.
The kitchen is a stand-alone one, but the "house" consists of two rooms. Here is the bedroom:
Things such as the wash bowl and water jug, hot water bottle (on the little bed) and chamber pot (in the nightstand) were familiar household items in 1903.
The living room:
A bird in a cage - all so very detailed! And look at that mirror, a real piece of Art Deco art! It is relatively heavy, because the figure holding the mirror is solid bronze. The entire thing is less than the length of one of my fingers. (Sorry - you can see my camera's handle in the mirror; I didn't mean that to be seen!)
There is even a small balcony at the side of the living room, and all windows and doors open and close properly. The roses were put there by my neighbour and her sister much later, as the original flowers had fallen apart long ago.
The house hosts a big family of dolls. My neighbour told me all their names, but I can't remember all of them. I know that one of the girls is Liesele, and the one in the green dress is Dorothee. The dresses were made by my neighbour and her sister when they were little girls themselves, about 8 years old, and copied from the clothes the dolls originally wore.
Look at the little horse - it is covered in real horse fur, and the mane and tail are real horse hair. The little boy must have been for a wild ride just before we came up, judging from his hair :-)
The house holds a nice collection of books - tiny calendars from 1903 to 1917, with a few missing in between. These were meant to be kept in people's wallets. They had a tiny space to write in for each day, and showed all Christian and Jewish holidays. Each book is less than the size of my thumb.
I felt very privileged to be allowed to look at and touch everything! My neighbour told me lots more than I am repeating here; each piece, each doll has their own little history.
It was a lovely glimpse into the past in general, and into my neighbour's childhood in particular.
(Don't worry - I had asked her permission to take pictures and show them here. My neighbour does not have a computer, and I am not sure she can really imagine what a blog is, but she likes the idea of many other people being able to see her precious dolls house and kitchen.)