Alice’s Room

The original house was pretty sparse in features, and may have been unfinished. Two rooms on one side, and a missing floor on the other left a cathedral ceiling that didn’t look like what the Victorian details intended. So I added a floor over what would become the living room, and that added room became Alice’s Room. A few pieces of craft store doll house furniture got things started, but what to do about inhabitants? I just happened to have an Alice (in Wonderland) cloth doll, a small ornament, that was calling out to move in. So far she has little company, although I am looking for and surely will find a Mad Hatter, White rabbit or Caterpiller to keep her company.

What has found its way to Alice’s Room is a family member, our gray cat Billie, who could be a stand-in for Alice’s cat, Dinah. Cats are very special. I think so, and from the number of cats in our neighborhood, one could say they are a favorite in Salem. Surely cats, witches & Salem go together. However, Billie started out with more of a reality check than Alice’s cat, Dinah. For his story, see Billie Holiday.

So here’s a picture-visit to Alice’s Room, a fantasy room, but ‘safe’ rather than scary. There are two pictures of Billie (whatever ‘gray cat’), a picture of 2 family children (in Victorian dress), a baby (a generic for the grandchildren), and a really really nice, really really tiny, electrified lamp that was hell to install and get working.

Alice’s Room 1Alice’s Room 1

Why a Salem Haunted (Doll) House?

It’s hard (impossible?) to be a resident of Salem, Massachusetts, without having an acute sense of Salem’s history, an awareness of the infusion of witchcraft culture into the tiny metropolis, and a feeling for the twists, turns, and final spillage of this history and culture into the yearly Halloween frenzy. Salem has a delightful dark side; it has a culture of tolerance, inclusion, inspiration, imagination, and fantasy; and it has a lot of good clean fun that comes dressed as anything you want to be. Looking through Salem for objects to add to the doll house, it was clear that it had to be a haunted house.

Why a doll house?

Why a doll house? Maybe because it was there and it caught my fancy at the right moment. Anyway, something about it spoke to me and said take me home. So far the venture of rehabilitating this shell of a Victorian doll house has sucked me into a 1:12 scale world I was completely unfamiliar with. I have found it to be absorbing to the point of inversely affecting many of my other efforts and obligations. But it has also been an opportunity to image and create unique philosophical, social, and fanciful, spaces. Where most of today’s toys, and doll houses, for children are about activities, this Doll House is about states of mind, relationships, and the power of stories.