the other Little House that was Pink

cover of The Little HouseI grew up a log loader operator’s daughter.  He grew up a builder’s son.

I grew up reading Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel at my grandma’s. He grew up reading The Little House: Her Story every time he visited his next-door neighbors.

When we were book shopping as newlyweds, he spotted The Little House.  A book about a little house on a hill in the country—just like mine.  A book about a little house that was pink—just like mine!

I liked The Little House before I’d seen anything more than the front cover.  It wasn’t until later I realized it was written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton, the same as my beloved Mike Mulligan.

It’s a sad story, really.  Of progress, of change, of a little house that got displaced.  It’s a story that was even more sad when it happened in real life to another little pink house.

pages from The Little House illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton

But in the story book, Virginia Lee Burton gives us a happy ending: The Little House gets a new home.  It lives happily amidst daisy fields once again, rescued by the little girl who remembers playing in it when she was little.

Our little girls, born and bred in our own little pink house, must have a natural affinity to stories of pink houses.  For quite some time, “The House Book” was Ruth’s one and only request for bedtime stories.  Her daddy read it over, and over, and over again.

page from The Little House illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton

And I’m sure, when our girls are old enough to understand that the framed photo on the wall of a pink house is our house as it was when Daddy and Mommy got married, The Little House will be a favorite for more than just the delightful illustrations (ever changing, yet ever the same, always centered around the little house).  For now, the girls cherish it for the story; I cherish it for the memories of Mike Mulligan and the man who built me our little pink house.

P.S. I just discovered that the story of The Little House was made into an animated short by Walt Disney back in 1952.  It’s a little different from the book itself—most notably in the fact that the house is only pink momentarily (twice).  But you’ll have to see what I mean by watching it  for yourself on YouTube!

written for the YLCF March of Books


The Other Little Pink House

Susette Kelo's Little Pink House

Susette Kelo and I have two things in common: red hair and little pink houses.

“Doesn’t the house look great?” Susette asked.

The seller looked disgusted.  “Pink?” she asked, then insisted it was not right for the period of the house.

“That’s not true,” Susette said.  “I got the color right off the historic paint chart at Benjamin Moore.”

The seller was not impressed.

“Besides,” Susette said, “the color is Odessa Rose, not pink.”

“Well, it will certainly brighten up the neighborhood,” the seller said sarcastically.

Susette grinned.  “And…so…won’t…I,” she said.

-Little Pink House by Jeff Benedict, pg. 26

Little Pink House: A True Story of Defiance and Courage, by investigative journalist Jeff Benedict, chronicles “one woman’s historic battle against eminent domain.”  That woman is Susette Kelo.  And that little house on the shores of New England, lovingly painted pink, was taken from her by eminent domain.

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Our pink house

When I was a little girl, our dear old house was peeling so many colors of paint, you could chip away at it and find a bright rainbow of colors. Then I discovered that pink was one of the colors it had been painted many moons ago, and pleaded with my daddy to once again paint our house in my favorite color: pink.Daddy compromised by saying maybe we could paint the dog house pink. But by the time we got around to painting, I wasn’t convinced my dog Minta needed a pink house after all.

Fifteen years later, I have my pink house!

Merritt called tonight, to tell me he locked our front door when he left tonight.

Our front door!

With the help of his dad, his brother, my dad, and my dad’s friend, they finished the roof, put in the windows, hung the door, and wrapped our dear little house in pink Tyvek today.

It’s so exciting, after all these years of dreaming, after all the construction materials Merritt has collected…we finally have our own home! There’s lots more to do, but we have a roof for over our heads.

And until we put the siding on, our little house will be bright pink. But since we got engaged on February 14, the day of pink and red hearts, it just fits, don’t you think?

Living with my man in that little pink house will be home sweet home indeed.

Just 1047 hours, 56 minutes, and 55 seconds…