When Mallory Cato recently told her English class the oral history of an item passed through her family, she had the perfect thing to talk about: her childhood playhouse.
Mallory, 14, is the third generation of her family to enjoy a small playhouse complete with a front porch, shuttered windows and electricity.
"We had to talk about something of significance that was passed down through generations from at least two generations or more," the Greenbrier High School freshman said of the assignment.
The playhouse now sits on the Appling property that Mallory's family owns. Mallory's grandmother, Ann Whitaker of Appling, said her own grandfather had the playhouse built for her in 1945.
"All the little girls liked my house," Whitaker said of the small playhouse originally built on her grandparents' Dearing property. "I stayed with my grandmother a lot. And my grandmother would cook and serve us lunch out there. We had glass plates. We had dishes and everything."
Whitaker said she felt like she had a dream house as a child because the playhouse was furnished and had electricity. Walking into the playhouse more than 60 years after it was built, Whitaker said she remembers the shelf inside crowded with her storybook dolls.
The playhouse was relocated to Appling when Whitaker and her husband moved to the property on Columbia Road. It was then passed to Whitaker's then 6-year-old daughter, Carla Cato, Mallory's mother.
Cato said she had the playhouse repainted pink and blue, but did not use the playhouse to host tea parties.
"We played school," Cato said. "I can remember me and my best friend (playing school)."
An easel chalkboard, evidence of her school play, is still inside the playhouse.
The now-yellow playhouse, moved a third time when Mallory was only a few years old, is now nestled between shrubs and an evergreen tree near the Catos' home on the same piece of Appling property.
"It has held up really well," Whitaker said, adding that it has seen some simple renovation including different paint colors and front porch railings over the years. Whitaker said the bare light bulb on the inside has been replaced with a light fixture.
So now three generations of the same family have gathered with friends inside the playhouse, which resembles a tiny model home sitting close to the Catos' pool
"We had the pool, so all the kids migrated to the playhouse while the Moms stayed at the pool house," Cato said.
Mallory said she hopes to pass on the playhouse to a fourth generation: her children.
"I want to try to," she said.
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