Last spring, a therapist friend in the neighborhood was moving and getting rid of a lot of stuff. One of the things she gave me was a rather substantial wooden dollhouse she had used with her younger subjects. I thought it would come in handy for ElderSparks work at some point but wasn’t sure just how. For months it sat in my garage taking up valuable real estate and gathering dust.

Perhaps it was the impending move to a new home that bought the house back into my consciousness this fall. I thought that the regulars in the weekly ElderSparks class might have fun — given their abundant artistic talent — decorating its exterior and rooms. Instead, it became the catalyst for Dorothy and Jeff to reminisce about family life in their respective childhood homes. Jeff has stroke-induced aphasia so it’s very difficult for him to find the words he’s looking for. Yet here he was, sharing openly about his parents and older brother through a Q&A process — a “conversation” that went deeper I think than any other talk I had had with him during the year.

What touched me most though was the drawing he made as he considered the layout of the dollhouse. It depicted his son and daughter asleep in the bedroom they shared as children. (Click on image to enlarge.)

Clearly, it was one of his most tender memories.