December 30, 2009

DT Quick [?] Project: Great-Great-Great Grandma's Cradle


K2's 2nd birthday is coming up quick, and I remembered that the wife and I had talked about getting her a cradle for her dolls--her babycount's already surpassed Angelina Jolie and is on its way to Octomom territory.

When we'd first discussed the idea, I figured I'd track down one of those sweet, molded ply Creative Playthings numbers, but eBay and my slackitude conspired against that plan. The other idea--and the one which is now the most obvious and best idea ever--is to re-create her great-grandmother's cradle. [I'd posted a picture of it a while back on flickr.]

It's a cradle I remember seeing in the toy closet at my grandmother's, which my mom and her mom [Lora] and her grandmother [Vera] all played with as kids. So I called my grandmother to ask her to measure it out for me, and I type the numbers into my photo. Then out of nowhere, she tells me to hold on, and she'll get the notecards her mother had written out for her almost 30 years ago giving the history of the cradle, too.

Turns out the thing was made by Grandpa [Robert] Gardner, who had a lumber mill in Pine Valley, Utah, for his daughter Emmie, who was born in 1880. Aunt Emmie died in 1898 when Vera was 4. Vera didn't make the connection on her notecards; she just wrote, "Sometime in my life Grandma [Gardner] gave the cradle to me," but it's easy to imagine Vera playing with her teenage aunt's dolls as a toddler and not remembering it.

[I think about that all the time, how kids will basically remember none of the experiences of their early lives that parents feel are so momentous. And I have to think that when you do all this for a 2yo, you're not really doing it for her as a 2yo. It's really a story whose telling and meaning may only matter--if it ever does--years or decades later. And how many stories end up separated from their things, and are lost completely?]

Anyway, it's off to the hardware store to scare up some thin, clear pine boards. And maybe a can of Grandpa Gardner's Old Fashioned Red Spray Paint.


And if it starts to take you as long to make as the crib did you might want to try Etsy. I bought my DD a sweet pine cradle from there for a great price. Nice to know it was made in America.

d'oh, thanks for the reality check. I'm seriously off to the hardware store right now, though.

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