Backgammon Condos! 

Hi, there! Welcome to my blog. I debated long and hard about what my first blog post should be because I want to write about so many things that I couldn’t focus. Do I write an introduction? “Hello? My name is Tracy Cass. This is my first blog. I’m an educator by day and blah blah blah…” How boring! Do I write a political commentary? Definitely not! I absolutely still have a full time job and in this day of viral posts I can’t afford to lose my steady paycheck to retweets and overshares because someone gets offended. Do I just dive right in and post a book review, dating episode, or community spotlight? All topics that I eventually want to cover but not necessarily right NOW. It’s been weeks and I’ve been drawing blanks. Nothing seemed sufficient. Picture me with a pen in my hand and clouds on my brain. I needed a jumpstart so I decided to make a list of all the things I wanted to write about. As I started writing, the principal intern on my full time came in at lunch and we started talking. For some reason, and I’m still not sure why, I started telling her how I created my first dollhouse as kid.
I was about 7 or 8 years old and I wanted a dollhouse. For whatever reason I didn’t have one. I’m not going to say it was because my mama couldn’t afford it. The struggle was real, but Pat Cass worked two jobs sometimes to make sure we had what we needed. It was the “wants” that sometimes suffered. Even still, where my mom lacked in financial resources, my uncles or older sisters often made up for it. But again, a dollhouse was a “want” and not a need. This “want” didn’t make the cut this particular year. 
I remember thinking about it one day. Wanting a dollhouse and not having one. I had a Barbie doll. Now, I didn’t have a Ken, but I had something better…a Stretch Armstrong. Stretch Armstrong was a 70’s version of a He-man doll accept his arms and legs stretched out exponentially! He was made out of some type of freakish plastic Play-Doh mix that would allow his arms to stretch out and then return to their normal size. 
So bam! I had the wife doll and the husband doll. All I needed now was the home! 
They way I was raised, I knew better than to beg my mama for it. I had already asked her for what I wanted for Christmas. She talked it over with Santa. He brought Barbie and Stretch. That was it. I could hear my mama clearly saying, “Don’t keep asking me for something you already asked me for!” I was not up for that fight. “Don’t ask no mo’!” Case closed. 
Or was it? I wanted a dollhouse and was determined to have one. Taking a cue from my granny who taught me, “You can do anything you want as long as you put your mind to it,” I decided to make my own dollhouse. Barbie and Stretch would have a home. Why? Because I wanted them to!
I looked around the house for suitable materials. Nothing seemed fitting. Until…my eyes landed on the backgammon set that my uncle gave us. He worked at a liquor distributing company, and therefore, was always privy to promotional items the company gave awa. In this instance it was a Jose Cuervo, black & white, marble backgammon set. “That’s it,” I thought. “I will use the pieces!” So, that day I took the pieces along with a shoe box and sat under the dining room table and made my dolls something better than a dollhouse. I turned that backgammon set into a condominium! I took the pieces, stacked and grouped them until they looked liked a sofa, a table, and a bed. My doll had a marble, black and white, contemporary condo! Fully furnished! She was the shit! Then I put tissue in the shoe box to make a car seat. Barbie was now rolling in a convertible. She and Stretch drove around downtown (from one dining room table leg to the other) and had good old time falling in love. I played for hours! And I was content. When I was finished, I put the pieces back in the case, put it up, and I put the shoebox back in the closet. I sure didn’t want that whooping from leaving a mess. HA! Creativity was allowed. Disorganization was not. 
Whenever I wanted to play with my “dollhouse” again, I just took the set back down and got right back under the table and set up Barbie’s designer crib. It. Was. Fabulous! At least to me. And that’s all that mattered. 

 So, that’s how I want to introduce myself and my blog. I’m kid at heart with a gargantuan imagination. I love to laugh. And, I believe the best times in your life are those that happen when you least expect it.  Life is hard, but it’s also worth living. Every struggle and challenge that you overcome is a journey designed to teach a lesson. What did I learn from turning a backgammon set into a condo? I learned that my circumstances don’t define me. I learned humble beginnings are fertile ground for rich memories. I learned not to take no for an answer. I learned people will laugh at you, as they often do when I talk about my backgammon condo, but sometimes you just have to let them laugh. All that matters is that you do what makes you happy, providing it doesn’t hurt anyone else.
 Of course, all of these revelations came after I grew up. As a little girl, the only thing on my mind was that I was having fun!! And isn’t that what’s most important? That somewhere along this journey called life we just have a little fun?? So, whatever your dreams, goals, and ambitions, stop waiting. Do it! Don’t wait anymore. Do it! Turn those lemons into lemonade (as Beyoncé has so definitively showed us). Do it! Or, turn that backgammon set into a condo. Do it! Dream in color and live out loud. Just put your mind to it and DO IT! 



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