A perfect house.

11 07 2003

If I could pick any house to live in, I know what I would want. First of all, my house would look like a giant hand had picked it up out of the Cottswolds and dropped it on a residential street in East Texas. The steep-pitched roof, the timbered gables, the thick English ivy growing up the brick all the way to the roof . . . my house would look like it had sprung from the pages of a fairy-tale. Outside, sunlight would dapple the cool green grass as it filtered through the shade trees. A brick sidewalk would wind its way from the street to steps that led to a heavy wooden door. Not an ordinary door. A three-inch thick solid door on iron hinges. My house would have lots of windows peeking through the ivy. Lots of windows so light would flood the rooms. Sunlight by day and moonlight by night. Well-tended flowerbeds with a riot of mix-matched flowers would bless the house with a colorful benediction, singing their innocent beauty to anyone who stopped to listen.

My house wouldn’t be ostentatious or extravagant, and not particularly big. It would be charming. So charming that passers-by would stop to admire it. And those who entered would find that the charm was multiplied inside. Warm and cozy, my house would make everyone feel welcome. Rich, old mahogany wood baseboards a full foot wide would separate the creamy, textured walls from the hard-wood floors. A living room with soft lamplight and a whole wall of stuffed bookshelves would beckon invitingly: “Come sit in one of my comfy chairs! Come and be at home. Be at peace! Yes, peace to all who enter here.” My house would declare it from every corner, every lamp, every jewel-toned pillow tossed casually on the sofa. The colors and textures would combine in a harmony that blended perfectly with the music so prevalent . . . notes lovingly played on the upright grand piano or one of the guitars always kept handy, never packed away. Vases of brightly colored flowers would bring the outside in, and bundles of dried flowers from springtimes long past would grace the walls. Each bundle tied with a ribbon.

But my house would have a history. A history as colorful as the carpets and paintings. A mysterious history. Someone was murdered there long ago. It was a scandal that rocked the community. A shock.

However, since that time, the house had been comforted. It had known love. The love of newlyweds, the love of first parents for their newborn child, the love of families and friends. The heavy front door would have seen shy good-night kisses. The walls would have heard whispered secrets and promises. (If only walls could speak!)

My house would have odd little crannies, secret closets, places where people and valuables could hide. It wouldn’t be a boxy, ordinary house. It would be a house with a personality all its own. A house filled with treasures, heirlooms, and gifts from lovers and friends. Souvenirs from travel would adorn the shelves. And photographs. Many cherished photographs in frames. Photographs that tell a story of life, of generations, a reminder that time moves swiftly. A reminder to love those you have today.

My house would have a kitchen where people gather. Where hearts and bellies are satisfied. Where laughter rings and tears are dried. And no matter how long a friend or loved one stayed gone, he would always know he’d come home the instant he entered that kitchen.

Every time I came home, I would feel embraced as soon as I entered the door. I would leave my concerns out on the noisy streets. I would love and be loved, and I would belong there.

If I could pick any house, that’s the house I’d pick. And, just think! That’s the house I have.



16 responses

12 07 2003

i saw a place like that!
you should go check it out!

200 Riggs Circle.

i’m so comfortable there that i don’t even ring the door bell or knock when i go in.


12 07 2003

So I’ve noticed.

You failed to mention the cookie jar! ;o)

(I mean, I’m just guessing, but I would think a house like that would have a bottomless cookie jar.)

14 07 2003

“Home Is Just Another Word For You”

It’s been so many years since I’ve had a “home” I don’t know what I’d want out of one. Wait! I’ve got it! I’d want it to be about five seven with long brown hair and a mesmerizing smile.

Looks like we both got lucky!

15 07 2003

mobile home

As charming as it may be, I don’t think I could love my home at all if it weren’t for the people. It would be a soulless shell. Your situation is enviable, because wherever you are, you can be at home . . . as long as she is there.

15 07 2003

I love your house.

I’ve long admired your beautiful home and was actually interested in buying one that was for sale right next door back in 1976, I think. (It cost too much at the time — $30,000! — we were poor.)

And I remember hearing the story of what happened there many years ago from the man who used to live at the end of your street. (Mr. Murphy) His sons were friends with the boy who lived in your house. He told me the boy was a minor, so he went to a psychiatric hospital instead of prison, and that he was released years later and got married.

I believe the family that had your house had the same name as your street — I seem to remember something about the mother being an architect, maybe? I’ll ask my mother. She’s a native. She’ll know.

15 07 2003

Re: I love your house.

Thank you!

We’re always interested in learning more about the history of our home. I’d love to hear your mother’s comments. You’re right about the name of the lady architect’s family. The street was named after them, because they sold the land for the development of it. The family kept the two lots that our house sits on.

We love the touches resulting from her influence: a built-in drafting table upstairs, lots of built-in shelfs and dressers, unusual little cubbies and storage places. Very different from many houses of the same era. Especially the kitchen, which was obviously designed by a woman for a woman–nothing like the tiny little closet kitchens being built in the 30’s! :o)

Thanks for asking your mom. Let us know if you discover anything interesting!

15 07 2003

Then I shall ask her soon.

She and I talked about that house long ago, when Mr. Murphy (who used to be my boss) told me the story.

I think I remember there were two deaths, correct? The maid and the grandmother. (I could certainly be wrong about this.) I like to think that houses have feelings, too, and I’m sure this one is very pleased to have so much happiness in it now.

Steve’s grandmother lived in a house with a story similar to yours — a pretty little Austin stone house on Linwood Circle. The builder and his wife (I think the man who built it had put in the entire subdivision over there) were having an argument, and he reached to hit her. She was holding their baby, and he hit the baby instead. (Oh, dear, this is quite a gruesome story. Forgive me!) In his horror at what he’d done, he killed himself.

No one would buy the house, and when Steve’s grandparents moved here from Michigan they got it for a price far less than what it was worth. His grandmother always said that, despite the tragedy that had happened, it didn’t bother her living there.

When I started dating Steve, my mother said, “Oh! His grandmother lives in the Preston house.” Everybody knew everything about everyone else back then, even more so than today.

16 07 2003

Sad and strange situation

From what we were told, the grandmother and maid were both shot. The maid was able to call the police. And the boy just sat on the curb and waited for them to arrive. I don’t know if the maid died or not. George said he thought she lived. Maybe your mother knows.

We were also told that he shot them because he asked his grandmother for something to eat, and she didn’t give him anything. No wonder he ended up in a psychiatric facility! Very sad.

As for everyone knowing everything about everyone, that is a small-town phenomenon that I find either amusing or irritating (depending on the circumstances), having grown up in Dallas. I make it my policy to stay out of the loop. ;o)

16 07 2003

Lucky, lucky, lucky you!

What high school did you attend? I think I know them all. I love Dallas. And I can’t imagine a childhood (or adulthood, for that matter) somewhere that everybody didn’t know everything about your life. What a pleasant experience that would be.

I didn’t grow up in Marshall, but in a town even smaller. Only 400 people, to be exact. If I sneezed, my friend across town hollered, “Gesundheit!”

I hope the maid lived. What a horror story. I asked Mr. Murphy if anyone realized the boy was in this kind of shape. He told me that everyone knew he was spoiled, and demanding, and rather odd, but he didn’t think he was capable of this. After it happened, he told me, the realization that this boy had played with and grown up next door to his sons (and, I’m sure, gotten angry with them as kids do) made him feel weak in the knees.

17 07 2003

Re: Lucky, lucky, lucky you!

I went to W.T.White High School in North Dallas. It’s on Welch Rd. about five minutes from the Galleria. My parents still live in the house I grew up in near the intersection of Webb Chapel and Valley View. When they moved to that area in the mid-50’s, it was way out in the country! Not any more.

17 07 2003

W.T. White — the Longhorns! Orange and white!

Yes, I know that school well. My college roommate (freshman year) and one of my suitemates went to White. I saw the yearbooks (they graduated in 1970 — you were probably in junior high then, if that old!) and heard all about the school.

In fact, they talked about “White” so much that my other suitemate (from Sacramento, CA) and I used to tease them about it. This was the era of Cat Stevens (Teaser and the Firecat had just come out) and we’d turn up his song that had the lyric “…and everything emptying into white…” when they’d start talking about it again.

Great school, apparently!

My suitemate often told me how that area was a big cotton field not so many years ago.

17 07 2003

Re: W.T. White — the Longhorns! Orange and white!

Hook ’em. ;o) I graduated in 1976.

Where did you go to college?

17 07 2003

I was off — you were still in grade school!

Good grief.

I went to Texas.

More orange! More white! More Longhorns!

You’re just a youngster. (I hasten to add I was younger than my roommate and suitemate. I graduated MHS in 1971.)

17 07 2003

This is starting to look like an IM conversation.

My three siblings all went to Texas. My older sister started there in the fall of ’73. So I guess you were also there, but given the size of the place, the chances that you met are fairly slim, eh?

I didn’t go there. I don’t look good in orange. (Is that a shallow enough reason for you? Ha!) No, the truth is, I didn’t want to go to a school that large. I went to SFA.

Are you a big Longhorn fan? Because, if so, you and Doug must be at major odds. Unless he’s not all about the Aggies, but I rarely meet an Aggie who isn’t. (To be honest, Aggies are a mystery to me. No offense to Doug.)

18 07 2003

You’re right! It is.

But heck — who better to talk to than another 40ish female? I don’t know about you, but when I read most of the journals of people I know who have livejournals, I feel about 100 years old. (I also feel like washing a few mouths out with soap — you know who you are. *snort*)

I must say you have some smart siblings.

Your sister may know the younger sister of my roommate. I bet they were about the same age. They were the Wehrle sisters; a rather bohemian group. Each of them (my roomate was the middle sister, I think) was on the swim team. Very petite girls, rather worldly. (I guess we could call them the Worldly Wehrles.) I think there were four of those sisters, and they all went to White.

I was actually closer to my suitemate, whose last name was James.

19 07 2003

I wonder . . .

. . . if we kept responding like this, would it eventually taper down to a column of single words? Just curious.

Yeah, about the washing out of mouths with soap. I occasionally meander from journals I normally read into the journals of people who post comments in the journals I normally read. (Clear, concise communication going on here, eh?) And often I find myself quickly retreating back to familiar territory. I just never have appreciated obscenity. Is this strange? Should I seek counseling or something??? The way I see it, the world is full of wonderful words that plumb the depths of thought and meaning. Profanity is so pointless! Okay. I could go off on a rant, but that’s all I’ll say about that.

Your comments are a gift. Please know I read each one with gratitude.

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