When I was seven or eight years old in the mid-1930s, I lived on Fairlawn Avenue in Peekskill, New York with my brother, John, and my mother, Marie Hrouda. My father had died in 1932 from an illness.
Down the street was my friend Jean Townsend. She and I would play for hours with the beautiful dollhouse that her father had made for her. It was all wood with trimmed glass windows, a chimney, front and side porches, and a staircase and fireplace inside.
One day I said to Jean, “If only I had a daddy, I bet he would build me a nice dollhouse just like this too.”
Mr. Townsend overheard me, and he was so taken by my sad words that he just had to make me one.
One morning when I woke up, my mother opened the window shade in my room, which overlooked the porch. There on a table was my very own beautiful dollhouse. It was the nicest thing anyone had ever done for me.
Years later, my two daughters played with it. An antiques dealer once offered me $200 for it, but I refused!