I’m feeling nostalgic again, and you know what that means.

The same three of you will understand the following.

The rest of you, please humor me.

Because I promise you, there will be a time when you'll need humoring, and good-hearted souls will oblige you.

If you don't know any good-hearted souls, get some.


Because that time will be upon you sooner than you think.

I know this, as an elder of the tribe.

And I say this because recently I had to pick a toy for an adorable little boy who happens to be my godchild’s child.

As I say, elder of the tribe.

I wanted to get him some sort of play kitchen, because his whole family cooks, including his father, and if you buy a little boy a play kitchen, you go to politically correct heaven.

I went online and saw that there was a kitchen set made completely of wood.

It was made by somebody named Melissa & Doug, who sound like the nice couple next door from you in a cul-de-sac.

When I was growing up, the go-to toy company was Fisher-Price, which sounds like a law firm.

Anyway, I did more research and realized I was the only person in the world who didn’t know Melissa & Doug.

I hope they invite me to their next party! I'll bring a casserole!

Anyway, Melissa & Doug had me at made-completely-of-wood.

I'm a total sucker for wooden toys.

This is Snoopy Sniffer's fault.

Raise your hand if you know who I'm talking about.

Snoopy Sniffer was a wooden toy dog that I had as a child, which I guess was a Basset hound, and his legs went up and down when you dragged him behind you on a string.

That's all he did.

He didn't bark, light up, or keep score of whoever played with him, so somebody could win. He had no touch screen. He didn't even turn left or right. He was stiff as a board.

Because he was a board.

Snoopy Sniffer didn't even look happy. On the contrary, he looked downright depressed.

There's plywood with more personality.

All of which goes to show that whoever thought a vaguely depressive wooden pet would make a good toy is an absolute genius.

I cannot begin to tell you how much I was in love with this wooden dog, and I'm sure it's why I have four dogs today.

And I must not have been the only sucker for Snoopy Sniffer, because Gaylord came out a while later, but he had batteries, and The Flying Scottolines weren't about to spring for an upgrade.

Anyway, it got me thinking about another toy I loved so much.

Barbie's Dream House, which was made of cardboard.

We were such a wholesome generation, between the wood and the cardboard, weren't we?

We were practically Amish.

The truth is, I liked Barbie's Dream House better than I liked Barbie.

I liked its cardboard furniture and the fake pictures painted on its walls. I remember everything about my Barbie Dream House because I have mine upstairs.

Believe it or not, a very kind couple from New Jersey bought it at some sort of sale, contacted me by email, and gave it back to me, for free. They knew it was mine because I had written my name on it, since when I was little, I wrote my name on everything.

Can you say ego?

I also used to write on everything: LISA IS GREAT!

You're not surprised, are you?

Neither are Thing One and Thing Two.

In any event, I think the Barbie Dream House is the reason I read real estate ads, go to open houses, and subscribe to Architectural Digest.

I love houses.

We all have our porn, but mine has curb appeal.

By the way, you might be wondering how it came to pass that my beloved Barbie Dream House was put up for sale.

Good question.

When its buyers contacted me, I called the late Mother Mary and asked her, and she said: “How do you think they got it?”

"I don't know, that's why I'm asking you," I told her, having momentarily forgotten that my mother always answered a question with a question. "I'm just saying, how did total strangers buy my Barbie Dream House? And please answer in the form of a sentence."

"I sold all your toys."

"You did?" I remember asking, taken aback. "Why?"

"Why do you think?"

I let it go. "Didn't you think it had sentimental value?"

"Who cares?"

"What about Snoopy Sniffer? Did you sell him, too?"

“Who’s Snoopy Sniffer?”


The final toy I loved more than life was Chatty Cathy.

You pulled the ring on the back of her neck and she started talking. I don't remember anything she said, but it didn't matter.

If you don't know who Chatty Cathy is, you're reading her right now.

Chatty Cathy taught me that it's fun to talk. As a result, I love to talk, and so do all my friends.

It's not the worst message to send little girls that they should speak up for themselves.

Unlike Barbie.

So the very next baby present I give is a Chatty Cathy.

All she needs is a Dream House.

I bet she can build it herself.

Or buy it from Melissa & Doug.

Look for Lisa and Francesca’s humor collection, “I See Life Through Rosé-Colored Glasses,” and the paperback of Lisa’s bestselling domestic thriller, “Someone Knows,” in stores now. lisa@scottoline.com.

Copyright Lisa Scottoline 2019