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Paradise Estate - by Megan Estey

When I was younger, I was the queen of My Little Ponies. I don’t mean those new ones that are skinnier than Kate Moss and twice as ugly, but the original, non-anorexic ones. The My Little Ponies that looked like, well, ponies. I had a huge collection which included three unicorns, four or five pegasuses, and at least ten baby ponies. They all had names and personality traits, and most of them were having secret soap opera-like love affairs with the two male ponies I possessed.

My friends were all jealous of my collection. Each second grade girl would beg me to bring a few of my precious ponies to school so they could just look at them, but I refused to risk losing them. Some of the girls owned a few, but no one coul equal the toys I had amassed. Katie McEachen was the most awed by my collection. She used to come over, and all she wanted to do was to play with them. Sometimes I brought them to her house, but usually the My Little Pony adventures occurred in my playr m. This was because I had the biggest and best MLP toy of all: Paradise Estate.

Paradise Estate was where the ponies lived. It was a pink and aqua colored plastic structure about 36” long and 28” wide when fully assembled. Six rooms were clustered around a pony-size swimming pool, which could be filled with water. Paradise Estat took about half an hour to put together. Then there was the business of placing and arranging all the furniture and deciding which ponies got rooms and which had to sleep outside. Then the games could begin.

Usually the MLP game began with a wedding. This was because Katie and I both had a bridal pony and besides, weddings were the most entertaining thing to play with the ponies. We only had one pony who could be the groom between us (he was actually min , a masculine-looking firefighter named Dusty. Dusty would get married and remarried several times during the course of an afternoon. Then our two brides could argue over him, and a cat fight worthy of As the World Turns would ensue. Sometimes sc dals would erupt. For example, one of the non-bridal ponies would have the nerve to announce that she, too, was in love with Dusty. Dusty would shockingly profess his affections for whichever regular pony it happened to be this time, and they would elop to some fantastic MLP honeymoon location. At this point, Katie would generally get upset with me and tell me that that was cheating. Katie always created her own rules, and for her that meant that Dusty had to get married to the bridal pony, preferably rs.

Soon school began, the weeks wore on, and I began to have less time to play with Paradise Estate. It took so long to set up, and I was so involved with my schedule of Nintendo and cartoons that I no longer had the time. Paradise Estate resided in its ox in a corner of the playroom. Occasionally I would drag it all out on a Saturday afternoon, but the time it took wasn’t worth it. One day I came home from school and went down to the playroom, planning to practice the piano (although the only thing I ould play was “Chopsticks”). I scanned the playroom quickly, noticing that all of my treasured playthings were in place, until my eyes reached the far corner of the playroom. Paradise Estate! Where had it gone?

I ran up the stairs to find my mother. “Mom!” I shouted. “Where’s Paradise Estate?” My mother was sitting on the couch, drinking from a mug of coffee and reading. “I don’t know,” she said absentmindedly, turning a page. Thinking she simply hadn’t he d me, I pulled the book from her hands. Now I had her full attention. “Where is Paradise Estate?” I asked again, enunciating each word.

She looked at me. “I don’t know where it is, Megan,” she repeated. I stomped back down the stairs. Who could have taken it? Surely someone wouldn’t come all the way to my house just to steal it. But then, I was the envy of my second grade class. All e of the girls wanted my ponies; it could have been anyone. Realizing the search was futile until someone arrived who was willing to call the police to start an investigation, I trudged out to the garage to get my bicycle.

Balancing on top of a Rubbermaid garbage bin like a Greek statue was the Paradise Estate box. I jumped up, trying to see inside. I caught a glimpse of a pink roof. It was still in there! I attempted to drag the box from its position atop the garbage an, but it was too heavy and I was too weak. I would have to wait for my father to come home.

I waited for about half an hour for my father to come in from milking, passing the time by singing at the top of my lungs and dancing exultantly around the playroom. Finally I heard the garage door opening and I ran to greet him. I revealed my plight o him and waited expectantly for him to go and bring the box back.

My father refused to bring it inside for me. It turned out that he had been the one who put it there in the first place. He claimed that I wasn’t playing with it anymore, and that I wasn’t taking care of it. He also alleged that I was getting too old or it, anyway.

I was furious. But no matter how I screamed and sobbed and pleaded, he would not let me have it back. The following Saturday, he took it to the dump.

I wonder what happened to it. I wonder if I went to the Bristol Landfill today, I would find a large cardboard box with peeling cartoon ponies on it underneath a pile of coffee grounds and frayed rope. Maybe someone more deserving of it than I found it and took it home. Maybe one of my classmates found out that my ponies had been confiscated and rushed to the landfill to claim them. Sometimes I suspect that if I looked in Katie McEachen’s basement, I would find it hidden in a closet behind her old Barbie dolls. You never know.

October 1999