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For Auld Lang Syne — A Pompeiian House for Benjamin

Rating: 5 votes, 5.00 average.
Michelle, who has been reading our Enthusiasts pages, writes, "It does seem that the seed was planted for Crèche collecting and art when they where children. Helping children make Crèches every year may spark that interest in a child that may have that special gift to create beauty."

Michelle's words, coming a day after the New Year, have made Auld Lang Syne last just a bit longer, and brought to mind the time so long ago when Benjamin and I created his Pompeian House.

All the kid wanted was a simple project for his 8th grade Social Studies class: would a recipe from ancient Rome do, he wondered? A Roman soldier costume from the local rental shop? A short essay on Roman contributions to Western Civilization?

Not when your Godfather's name is Alexis it wouldn't! Besides, in my paper model stash, I knew I had just the thing for Benjamin's project. I rushed to his room with the colorful sheets of the Pompeian House you see on this page in my hand and a big smile on my face. Little kids need encouragement, right Michelle?

"Benjamin," I said, "you're going to love this. We'll have so much fun!"

Looking at the Pompeian house now, after more than three decades, I realize just what I was asking an 8th grader to do: construct a miniature Roman Villa. Just look at those tiny 3-dimensional columns of the peristile, the open courtyard complete with fountain, and floor mosaics that had to be hand colored by Benjamin; all the intricate angles of the tile roof; the wall decorations on the bedrooms, dinning room, the wall paintings.

I made sure that Benjamin mounted his Pompeian House on a hinged wooden foundation that, when opened, revealed the beauty and rich artistic details of ancient Roman domestic architecture.

I know I'll never forget the Pompeian House. As you can see from the photos I just took, it still is, after all these years, in pristine condition. It will always remind me of Benjamin and of a time when a pair of scissors, a bottle of glue, and a few paper sheets could transport you to another place and time.

So, you may ask, did Benjamin enjoy the experience? Did it turn him into a CrècheManiac?

Didn't he give me this blog as a Christmas present? Just set up the Crèchemania Blog Album?

"I'm still paying my psychiatrist to help me get over the Pompeian House," Benjamin says. He tries hard not laugh, but I know he's joking. And just the other day I saw him helping his children with models we bought during a trip to Colonial Williamsburgh, Jamestown, the Thanksgiving Plantation, and Monticello.

Not mention setting up this blog, a Christmas present from him: he's still cutting and pasting alright—but mostly, these days, on his computer screen.

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