Katie Sue’s Social Club: The History


Yesterday I had teary farewell to one of my prized possessions—my bordello dollhouse, aka Katie Sue’s Social Club. This was, to my way of thinking, the epigenesis of a purposeful iconoclast. Too bad I can’t take credit for the idea. My father-in-law, Leo, built my first house. I furnished it, and in my imagination, it was the cottage of an Episcopal priest and his wife, Obedience. This little abode just whetted my creative juices. Upon completion, Nell, one of my THS colleagues suggested a little whorehouse. The fire was lit.

I was so obsessed….My passion was aligned on my lifeline with graduate school at TAMU. This massive endeavor was perfect therapy for relieving all the anxieties about how I was not a scholar and how I would soon be discovered to be an imposter, an intellectual dust mite…so when I wasn’t trying to look and act smart, I was feverishly researching the life and furnishings of houses of prostitution. I should have written my dissertation about cathouses or as also known, cribs, bawdyhouses, houses of assignation, houses with red doors, and dens of vice. My committee would have been far more interested in my topic!

Len and I were in San Mateo, CA where I found a miniature shop that had the perfect ‘kit’ with “Minor assembly required.” Len immediately knew then he was going to be miserably involved in another one of my projects. So, Len put it together and I don’t remember too much anguish on his part. What I remember mostly are the years of joyful decorating. I mean it…this was an endeavor of love—I finished it right before I graduated. Jay and Dan, our bestest decorator friends contributed more hours consulting than either wanted or so they said. However, I would receive art catalogs from the Dallas Furniture Market that they would find for me…full of miniature nude ‘paintings’ for sale albeit in large sizes. These little pictures immediately were framed and ready to adorn the house.

I put in flooring, electrical wiring, light fixtures, and wall paper; I hand made draperies, teenie weenie Impatien blossoms, and bedding, This was absorbing, mindless work…wonderful and as engaging as anything I have ever done. I could be in a state of flow with nothing in my head for hours. A perfect state of mind…all Zen.

The hunt for miniature treasures took me to out-of-the-way streets in London, Dallas, San Antonio, Rothenburg am Tauber, Sausalito, Auburn, San Francisco, etc. To Len’s credit, he would drive for hours so I could buy a ½” teapot. Jay and Dan developed a keen interest in my anatomically correct cowboy I just had to have—they even drove me miles to Olla Podrida in northeast Dallas to pick it up. Then seemed mildly disinterested as they looked him over! ☺.

Len took the mini chess set to work and set it up as if in play…With his enormous peg-like fingers it was a big deal to set the pieces in place with tweezers and wax. Susan L. crocheted an exquisite afghan for the chaise lounge upstairs. Dan’s mother’s quilting club made me a 100 pc quilt!

loved this house, the furnishings, the exterior, the made up stories Susan L and I used to dream up, and the landscaping! I proudly had the house on a rotating base right smack in the middle of every living room we had for 25 years. One day, out of the blue, Len asked me, “What do I do with that house after you die?” He likes to plan ahead! I ignored him but the seed was planted—-can it have another life?  

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4 Responses to “Katie Sue’s Social Club: The History”

  1. Oh Susan, what a treasure, and what a great story. Of course it will have another life, and you have given the world another wonderful reason to know of you!!!!!

  2. Nancy Baumann Thurmond Says:

    This is fabulous, Susan! Just exquisite! I don’t know how you parted with it.

  3. I loved the dollhouse! I wish I had spent more time looking at Christmas. I know it made you sad, but now more people will be able to marvel at its detail and intricacies! I look forward to seeing it in its new home. You should write a short story about Katy Sue’s House of Ill Repute! Epigenesis of iconoclast…what a wordsmith!

  4. As I read I my comment, I realize my adjective choices are weak…detail and intricacies…synonyms! Bad writer!!! You are a wonderful writer!!!!

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