The highlight of my day was in hosting my public open house located at 233 – 7th St. NW. There was a much better turnout than expected due to the inclement weather, but with there being a number of young buyers hungry for a home in their price range that’s well constructed, clean, maintenance free, and above all, well planned for a growing family’s needs, I’m not surprised. Even some of the older ones were seeing themselves living there. One of them said “I’ve never liked one story homes and always felt I could get a better night’s sleep in a two story.” I believe much of that comes from what they experienced in their early years when likely growing up in a two story home. I’ve always liked them because of the separation of private sleeping quarters from the main living area. It becomes an elevational divide between slumber spaces and living places. I shared a story with several of the people visiting today about one of my great aunts who lived on a big farm north of Garner many years ago. The home I was at today sort of reminded me of her home that our family would visit on occasion. It had a gentle rise of steps leading upstairs to a landing with two tall windows facing south. As a child I used to like playing on that landing with her resident kitties who loved being in the light.
She was a widow for many years and the strangest of all, she was well over 10 years senior to my great uncle who passed away decades before her. Another similar feature of the home I was at today with her farmhouse, was she also had a solarium with french doors. The longtime use of her solarium was a sacred and personal space. One could see everything in that room via the french doors, but she would never allow anyone in there, and to make sure, she always kept it locked. Some of my aunts and uncles didn’t like it that she was so demanding about that room, but even as a youngster, I believed she had a right to have her own private area. Every time we went to her home I always felt a “grounding” of sorts whenever inside. Years later, she was found dead the next morning by her daily housekeeper appearing to have gently lain herself down on the chaise in her “sanctuary” and quietly went to sleep and never to awaken.
I often share my story of her being of ninety-something years old with one bath on the second floor, a little on the lean side, and always smiling. We sometimes work ourselves to an early grave by being too prepared for the what if’s. I believe from the time my great aunt lost her husband, she decided she was going to make the best of it and do what she could both mentally and physically until she couldn’t do it any more. She must have lived right having been fortunate enough to just go to her “sanctuary” and take her long sleep. In writing my little story about her, I’ve been reminded how she preserved and nurtured that “sacred” space she called her solarium from the outside world to where it was the only place in the world that belonged to her and her alone. This is yet another example of how people in those times really “got it” about their spaces of time twixt birth and death, and how they chose to live their sometimes extended lives, but really only a very short period of time when considering the whole scheme of it all. I’m hoping whomever purchases the home I hosted today will create a loving environment where memories will be held fast, and a sacred space created.