Ghost in the Machine

Hello world! I’m logged in today as “Sarah Griswold,” but actually I’m a guest. I never lived in this amazing and lovely old house, but I have been fortunate to visit it many times during the past 40-some years. Recently I’ve taken a lot of photos during the packing process, as Sarah (and the rest of the Griswold family) prepares to move out of the house, and I’ll be sharing them here. My knowledge of the house’s history can’t hope to rival the Griswolds,’  so I hope that Sarah and other family members will chime in with more details as needed and correct anything I get wrong.

Let’s start in the front hall, shall we? These hand-blown crown glass panes are perched, three to a side, over the front doors.

front door lightsfront hall lights

The doors are also equipped with a doughty bar, sitting in iron brackets at roughly waist height, to fortify the entrance in times of siege. Given the date the house was built, I’m guessing that Jabez Bacon was more worried about Revolutionary combatants than Indian raids.

front hall doughty bar

The entire hall features wood paneling, chestnut I believe, and hand-cut and –turned details on the stairs.

front hall stairs detail

At the top of the stairs (narrow and winding by today’s standards for entry stairs, which seems an odd design oversight considering the long, full skirts of the day) is an alcove for statuary. Jabez clearly aimed to impress his visitors!

front hall alcove from top of stairs

Like the rest of the house, the front hall has wonderful light. Unlike the rest of the house, it’s also home to djinns of light, created by the glass panes above the doors, which chase each other over the paneling and into the adjoining rooms.

front hall djinn  front hall djinn  closeupfront hall big djinn - cropfront hall djinn 2

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Jabez Bacon House in Man of the World Magazine

We are so pleased to have the Jabez Bacon House as a backdrop for a stunning fashion shoot.

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Indoor Gardens: Historic Wallpapers at the Jabez Bacon House

Fireplace Cover for Second Floor East Chamber

Fireplace Cover for Second Floor East Chamber

There is now no wallpaper on the walls of the Jabez Bacon House, but this was not always the case. The white plaster walls that grace our rooms reflect a late 20th century esthetic, a spare sensibility that provides a pleasing contrast with the elaborate paneling.

It wasn’t always that way, however. For all of the 19th century and well into the 20th the walls were a riot of colors and flowers, and at some point the woodwork was all painted white. All that’s left to suggest past taste in wall decoration are some old, abandoned fireplace covers that have languished, overlooked and taken for granted,  for decades, if not longer, in an attic closet, growing stained and soiled and sadly damaged.

Perhaps the best paper, A French paper circa 1789 –  1800, was sold by the Marvin family to Winterthur in the 1920s. All that we had left was the memory (Someone must have told our parents about the sale, because they never forgot about it, and it lent some additional cachet to the house as a whole) and the damaged sample pictured here. A photo of the wallpaper appears in the Winterthur online catalogue: Winterthur Wall Paper Photograph. 

The East Chamber with Wall Paper

The East Chamber with Wall Paper

The paper came out of the second floor east chamber, the room with the most elaborate paneling in the whole house. Someone told us once that this room follows an earlier fashion than the paneling in the rest of the house which has a more 1770s esthetic. I wonder if this room, slightly out of date, nonetheless appealed to Jabez best, if its in your face elaborate carving, its double row of dentil molding, its raised panels even on the back sides of the doors, was the room that said, more than any other, that he had more money than anyone around, and here was the proof.

The Elaborate Paneling

The Elaborate Paneling

I happened to look up the caduceus, one of the motifs in the wallpaper design, in Wikipedia where I read “By extension of its association with Mercury and Hermes, the caduceus is also a recognized symbol of commerce and negotiation, two realms in which balanced exchange and reciprocity are recognized as ideals. This association is ancient, and consistent from the Classical period to modern times.”

Caduceus

Caduceus

Given the Bacon family’s identity as tradesmen, this seemed very appropriate and I wonder if the selection of the paper for its symbolism was intentional. Or were they just going after something really expensive?

Jabez died in 1806, at the age of 75.  Printed between 1785 and 1800, the paper represents a generational shift in esthetics. I wonder if the paper  was selected by Jabez himself, or if his son Nathanial chose it. Was it the next generation’s stamp on the house? The first of the changes that the house has seen over the centuries? What had the walls been like before it was there? What color was the room painted? The answer to that question might be hidden underneath the paint currently on the walls. Fortunately Dorothy never needed to go after the paint on the second & third floors the way she did on the first floor.

The only photos we have of the room before our tenure here show it with heavy, leaden 19th century furniture – lugubrious, repressed, and depressing – such a contrast with the lightness of the late 18th century wall paper and representing another generational shift of sensibility. There, too is the ubiquitous white woodwork that somehow managed to make the extraordinary craftsmanship in the house look tired and worn.

I try to imagine the room with the wall paper, the bird tiles, and the paint color in its heyday late in the 18th century. And then I imagine the textiles in the room and the clothing on the people, and I yearn for just a moment of time travel, to  enter into the sensibilities of these people, to see the world through their eyes.

Jabez Bacon House 006

The Southeast Corner of the Room

Jabez Bacon House 001

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The New Textiles Part Five, or, Another Way to Define Antiques in 1958

Speaking of antiques – and you know I was – I have another woman working for me who presents quite a contrast to Evie. It’s not her age that puts her in the antique category, though she has some of that, and she is not an antique in Evie’s sense of the word for she has not outlived her usefulness. It’s that she comes from another era and is still a part of it. Miss Ida Frisbie is eighty and a real, dyed -in-the-wool, 100% genuine old fashioned Yankee.

The Miss Frisbie House in 1959, in "Homes of Old Woodbury"

The Miss Frisbie House in 1959, in “Homes of Old Woodbury”

She lives with her twin sister, Ada, in a kind of sputtery and defiant isolation. Her father didn’t approve of side walks being put in so she never walks on the sidewalk. And she walks a good deal. She is a familiar sight on Woodbury’s streets. She has a quick stiff jerky kind of walk that carries her quite incredible distances in a short time though it makes me wince for her spine. She walks as though intent to reach someone with whom she can share the latest evidence of 20th century man’s abandonment of self-reliance, abstinence, and “thrift”.

Miss Frisbie – I wouldn’t think of calling her by her first name – irons for me every week about eight hours but is quite able to continue longer if necessary. Besides a superb job of ironing I get all the latest news about nearly everybody whether I know them or not, timely and critical comments on the weather, all kinds of folklore and very well jelled opinions, usually uncomfortable but sound, contributions of jam, jelly and rhubarb. If I need a patch or a button for anything she is sure to have the perfect match and knows where to find it too.

She is paid on a strictly portal to portal basis. She looks at the clock as she comes in and as she goes out and with time deducted for lunch which she brings herself, she charges me to the penny for the time spent. Her very well supplied change purse is always ready with exact change. Never have I been able to get her to “keep the change.”

Recently the town had a reassessment of its property – always a trying experience for property owners. they really slapped it on the Miss Frisbies. She came to work seething with righteous indignation and apprehension. They had more than doubled the assessment on the house these two nice old ladies were struggling to keep. I agreed to go to Town Hall with her when she went to contest the rise. It was well worth it. I wish I’d had a tape recorder. The assessor was in a jovial mood. In talking about her heating problems – she had bought a furnace when her stove gave out because it was impossible to get another stove – though she couldn’t afford a furnace – this gentleman, perhaps hoping to keep it all on a friendly informal basis, said that he didn’t understand women and their air conditioning systems. His wife sleeps with every blanket in the house piled on her and then will get up in the morning and run all over the house in a sheer nightgown. Miss Frisbie’s rigid little 90 pounds became more rigid than ever and in her most withering manner said “I never wear one of those”. There were three men there and they tried not to explode. Something was said about the cost of her morning coffee and again she drew herself up proudly and announced she had never tasted tea or coffee in her life. Water was good enough for anybody. She got satisfaction from those men and she could have gotten along fine without me.

One of the worst problems with the Frisbie sisters is their complete inability to accept help of any kind. They are very generous in a thrifty way but when it works the other way it smacks of charity. The other sister is now confined to the house with a bad foot – has been and will continue to be. On their 80th birthday it was felt by some of the people for whom they have workd, and their friends in church, that a wheel chair would be a good idea for a suitable birthday present. After much telephoning the money was oversubscribed but the doctor who had been consulted told the secret and the wrath of the sisters was horrible to behold. If they needed a wheelchair they would get one, thank you very much and they did not want it, thank you.

Written In 1994 by Dot (herself now 87) is this conclusion:
The last page is missing but it included my favorite story about Miss Frisbie. One day with great enthusiasm I told Miss Frisbie that my neighbors up the street were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and wasn’t that just too marvelous. She drew herself up to show her scorn of all the sins of the world and pronounced “They had to get married.”

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The New Textiles Part Four, or, Defining Antiques in 1958

The Lamp in 2012

The Lamp in 2012, Sadder but Perhaps Wiser

Before I leave Doris and Iggy I must say that they can spot a phony antique a mile away. There is not a thing in their house that is not genuine 100% early American of museum quality and Iggy’s barn is full of old lumber, old nails, old anything which he is only too happy to give to anyone to help in the proper restoration of an old house.

This dedication to the genuine conflicts in a certain area of my life with another lover of antiques. Evie, my cleaning woman, who has adopted me as surely as Doris and Iggy have adopted my house, loves antiques with a passion as keen as theirs but her concept of the term does not coincide with theirs. Anything whose usefulness has been outgrown is an antique and obviously all that is necessary is to make it into something else.

I should have been on my guard immediately that day when Evie came to work just absolutely bursting with enthusiasm and a secret. But she frequently bursts with enthusiasm and it’s apparent a secret can’t stay a secret long. This was in January or February and she had found the most marvelous thing for my next Christmas present. it was beautiful. There was only one other in town. (She had it.) I’d be the envy of all. It was just perfect for my house — a real genuine 100% antique. Only it needed some fixing. All day, off and on, she would burst into lyrical praise of this “find” of hers and how happy I was going to be. Obviously I should have said right then and there: “I don’t want it. You mustn’t give me presents” etc. But, since she had begged it from someone, expressly for me, I didn’t take the thing too seriously. Two weeks later on her next day she was still exuding only she hadn’t found a place to get it fixed. Not knowing what it was, I could be of no help. When two weeks later she was no farther along toward the fulfillment of her dream, she had to take me into her confidence. This had all been rather amusing up to this point — Christmas was a long time away. It didn’t seem that much money was involved and I naturally look on the bright side of things. Evie, expecting me to clap my hands with joy and throw my arms around her neck, told me she’d found a real antique telephone upright table model circa 1925 and she was going to have it made into a lamp for me. I made feeble little noises, trying to mask my horror, –“how wonderful Evie” — “but you really mustn’t – it will cost a lot of money”. After this ineffective attack, I drew my trump card. I didn’t know where she could get it done. She took that trick, without even trying, with the question: “Where did you get that done?” A family heirloom vase that had had the same operation. She had witnessed it. I had to tell her; there was no way out but the hope “Harlan will find a way to get me out of this; he handles these situations so well”. Evie was going on about how wonderful it would look right there next to my 18th century fireplace.

Harlan tried to help. He suggested I just tell Evie my husband won’t let me accept gratuities. That probably sounds fine in a bank. In the kitchen it’s ridiculous. I told Evie and she burst out crying. I won’t worry you with the emotional upheaval this caused. But being unsuited by birth and education to emotional upheavals, I capitulated as usual and said I would love it and she was a darling etc. Then I began to worry that she wouldn’t be able to wait until Christmas and how right I was. Another two weeks and Evie reported it was in its reformer’s hands and would soon be ready.

One bright day the telephone rang cheerily. It was Evie in tears. Absolutely crushed, completely unable to go to work that day. Her uncle had gone to pick up the telephone lamp and had left it in the car and it had been stolen. It seemed too good to be true but I tried to sound crushed, only not too crushed, and then I wrote her a note, a very nice note and I hoped it had a feeling of finality about the whole affair that would discourage further such efforts.

Quite a trick. I was very proud of that note — talked fondly about it to Harlan who was tremendously relieved to hear of the fate of the telephone but was unimpressed with the note. I should have made it very strong that she was never to do such a thing again.

As usual, he was right. In a very sneaky way Evie got her hands on another phone. I was not to be cheated out of my present. Only this time I was delegated to pick it up at the lamp place. I told them there what I thought of the monstrosity and relieved myself only slightly. Evie had been fascinated by that place. They will make a lamp out of anything. If you have any old coffee grinders, Civil War rifles, pot belly stoves or garbage cans around just take them there and come home with a new lamp. My particular model is very tricky. To turn on the light you just take the receiver off the hook. The sight of this makes my husband edgy. He can’t stand to see the receiver off the hook and nobody going to answer it. Well, I was on the hook and how to keep the thing hidden from Doris and Iggy and others like them and still keep it out when Evie came in — which could be anytime — was a problem. She was so happy because it was available for the tour — the Garden Club one. I hid it for the occasion and spent the day in fear and trembling that Evie would show up to gloat over the expressions of wonder occasioned by her gift.

How wonderful the lessons life teaches us. One of these gleaned from this experience is that results of calamities are frequently not as horrible as expected and you can live with and get quite used to most anything.

I am stuck with Evie. There is no chance of my ever being able to sever the connection unless she gets married and that’s not likely. Evie is just my age, strong and willing. My house resounds with shouts and laughter on cleaning day. Our relationship is very informal and nobody laughs at my jokes as satisfactorily as she does. By the time a working day is over, I feel very witty and quite pleased with myself. We have all had a good time.

The first day Evie came to work for me I was on the third floor and she was told to go up there to find me. She came shouting up the stairs in quite colorful language which I will not repeat – “This is the closest to Heaven I ever got”! Before she could start working she had to know my first name and I’ve been Dot ever since. Harlan is “sweety” but he usually gets out of the house first. One that first day Evie said she could do anything. “I’ll dig your graves and bury your dead” she shouted and, while that has never been required, she has tackled some pretty unusual jobs. I think and hope her gift giving days are over for a while. She recently had an automobile accident which smashed her car completely so she will be very occupied paying for a new one. Since she wasn’t killed in that accident she felt she owed “the guy upstairs” a church attendance. So she broke a life long habit and joined me Easter morning for church looking very respectable and really quite impressive.

end part 4 – but there’s more to come!

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Weekend Work: 9-10-12 World Histories, Updates, and an Italian Footnote

Weekend Work: 9-10-12 World Histories, Updates, and an Italian Footnote.

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The New Textiles, Part Three, The Exciting Conclusion of Remodeling the Dining Room (almost)

We ripped off the mantel which almost certainly had not been there originally and the gingerbread which had replaced the original molding when someone decided to modernize the house, and then called Iggy to please come tell what to put back and how. We hardly had the words out of our mouths before he was here in his working clothes with a large pile of very impressive books on old houses. Doris, of course, too, but in a beautiful blue suit looking very lady-like except for the eager expression. It’s very simple — by scraping away the paint you can easily go back over the various mutilations to the original purity of the design. The books were studied in the hope that a duplicate of what ours had been would be pictured. I am proud to say there were none. This was going to cost some more money and I pulled in the budget another good sized notch.

While this detective work was going on, Iggy was itchily poking at the bricks in the fireplace. Obviously those had been put in later and a large stone fireplace was hiding its beauty somewhere in the depths. Finally he inadvertently managed to knock out a couple of bricks and then you could no more have stopped him than a steam roller which has gotten over the brink of the hill. He continued feverishly to knock out bricks until lunch time. Harlan tried to help but he kept getting in Iggy’s way. Doris was standing by mildly scolding Iggy for knocking people’s houses down and if you want to know what I was doing I’ll make it the subject of my next Snark paper.

At lunch time, rather than be subjected to soup on the kitchen table and the confusion of a Saturday noon at our house, they took off with a promise to be back after lunch with more tools. When the sun had set that day, the bricks had been knocked out and stacked carefully outside in case Iggy wanted them. Doris still in her beautiful blue suit had carried out many pails of rubble and we had a very beautiful gray stone fireplace instead of a rather ugly brick one. Iggy, of course, had the necessary stone to replace the few that would have to be replaced. But he didn’t offer to put them in himself, so another expense.

At this point, as I go to press, I am knee deep in scraped paint and the job is hardly started. My arm is stiff, my hair and fingernails full of dust and the rest of the house is almost in the same state as the dining room is. The tour is to be on May 25th and anybody can see professional help is going to be required. The artist who designed the ridges and gullies and raisings on that panelling never envisioned anyone having to take the paint off someday. I will never look casually again at the wood work in that room.

The completed dining room with a flower arrangement for a garden club house tour.

This is the end of the story of the dining room, but in my next installment I’ll include the next section, which is a story about the Cleaning Lady’s Gift.

The windows with the liberated “Indian Shutters”

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The New Textiles, or Remodeling the Dining Room in 1958

The following is  a paper written by Dorothy Griswold for a women’s club named “Snark” that she belonged to in Yonkers, New York, the city where she and Harlan lived from the time of their marriage in 1935 until their move to Woodbury in 1953. The women were apparently assigned research papers to present to the club. I don’t know whether any of the other members of the club did serious things, but from the material Dorothy left behind, it seems their main aim in the club was sheer nonsense, appropriate to the poem from which they named their club.

The New Textiles, Part Two

Having quietly and patiently accepted my cross I was ready for the next request to open the house for a tour this spring. I said “no” in what I thought my firmest and most final manner and, for an instant, felt very pleased with myself. My protagonist (sic)this time using a very different approach from Doris’ was just as effective. She shamed me into it. Why the heck did everybody make such a to-do about a house tour? There was nothing to it. She was going to open hers but nobody else was cooperating. This enemy of the people moved to Woodbury long after we did and bought a very impressive house and had it all taken down, put back together again and completely finished immediately. It’s always ready for a tour. I timidly asked if Doris and Iggy’s was on this one and she said no – things weren’t finished yet. Well I said I would if they couldn’t get anyone else and, of course, they couldn’t.

Thanksgiving in The Old Dining Room

I took another long hard despairing look at the dining room and know I couldn’t stand it that way for another tour in that condition even if I never got a Snark paper done. The ceiling was a dark gray mass of Post Toasties — one look and it showered on you. Obviously I could do that myself. The paper was like cold oatmeal with gravy.

The Old Dining Room

After digging a few strips of that off and making it look even worse, Harlan promised to remove the rest. Then it occurred to me that I’d better call Doris and Iggy before I did anything wrong. They came so fast it was almost indecent. They were very encouraging. The ceiling wouldn’t have to come down; just scrape all the paint off, rub it, patch the cracks — painting would be simple. Of course the mantel should come off and the molding around the fire place had been added at some awkward period in its history; the panelling would need to be scraped — ten layers and 200 years worth! it should be painted the original color — a kind of decayed vegetation green and the walls of course white — wall paper would be a descecration. The sliding Indian shutters should be fixed so they would slide out of the walls where they had been lurking for a hundred years, held fast by many overdoses of paint and the settling of the walls. Wherewith, Iggy could contain himself no longer and took off his coat and got to work. Doris and I stood around making encouraging noises. I got my exercise looking for tools which we didn’t have but Iggy did in his car. Tow hours later it was noon and I began to feel guilty about his working so hard — Doris had come presumably to visit the dress shop across the street but nothing could mover her now. Both she and Iggy were panting with excitement. I made a cup of coffee not daring to offer any lunch. I had had an impromptu meal at their house once which was fancier than most hotel meals and served on priceless antique china and silver.

But by one p.m. it was obvious lunch could be ignored no longer so I brought out the Campbell’s tomato soup and Ritz crackers and serve it on my most elegant dime store china in the kitchen which was suffering badly from Monday morning slump.

After our repast, Iggy went back to work and after another hour the sliding shutter at last was exhumed and ready for the next Indian attack. This was a very exciting moment. After giving me as many tips as possible, and nobody has more, and instructing me not to lose heart and it was going to be beautiful, they left.

My heart beat high with enthusiasm and ambition until evening at the return of my partner and I proudly displayed our treasure now sliding jerkily back and forth. He had not seen Iggy sweat and strain for four hours so he was not impressed. It wasn’t smooth enough. The onbly way to fix that was to tear out the wall and the walls that held the other two shutters and really get those things working right. Put them on rollers too. “Darling,” I wailed. “You can’t do that. What will Iggy say?” He apparently thought he was a match for Iggy anytime. I also complained that that would cost some money and here I was, expending my precious strength and effort on this project so that it wouldn’t cost anything. But debt is no object to Harlan when something really takes hold. The walls came down; the shutters became  mobile, the carpenter and plasterer were here and Harlan coped with Iggy. All Iggy got for his four hours work were the old nails that came out of the lath in the wall.

end of Part Two, to be continued.

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“The New Textiles”, or, Remodeling the Dining Room in 1958

The following is  a paper written by Dorothy Griswold for a women’s club named “Snark” that she belonged to in Yonkers, New York, the city where she and Harlan lived from the time of their marriage in 1935 until their move to Woodbury in 1953. The women were apparently assigned research papers to present to the club. I don’t know whether any of the other members of the club did serious things, but from the material Dorothy left behind, it seems their main aim in the club was sheer nonsense, appropriate to the poem from which they named their club.

“The New Textiles” – Part One

Dorothy Griswold, May, 1958, Publicity Photo, Probably for House Tour

Something is wrong with the title of this paper. Put very simply it doesn’t fit the subject matter. How could it when the subject matter has nothing to do with textiles? And the reason it doesn’t is because the writer knows nothing about textiles. It seems perfectly logical to me, having left Yonkers and the intellectual ambitions it fosters in people, that anything requiring study and research is simply not realistic in the disordered mental atmosphere of what some call the peaceful country.

In Woodbury you are supposed to be artistic or clever but you do not need to be intellectual. My efforts at being artistic have floundered hopelessly but I go with the right people and belong to a proper club – the Garden Club. Fortunately a great deal is overlooked because of my house. In fact, I’m sure that my house is much more a member than I am.

Last year the Garden Club had a flower show and house tour combined. It goes without saying that my house was on the tour. I pleaded with the chairman not to make me do it this time since we still had not done any decorating and it looked frightful – and hers would be much more suitable.

The Parlor Fireplace & Room Before Redecoration. Note White paint & cracks.

The chairman was Doris – and Doris is married to Iggy (short for Ignatius) and, since the subject matter has a good deal more to do with Doris and Iggy than Textiles, I’ll have to take a few minutes out to tell you about this unique couple. Doris is pretty and plump with a hesitant charming smile and a sweet vague manner. The vague manner fooled me at first. I wanted to help her. She seemed rather ill-equipped to deal with any project that required action. And, while getting ready to give her a little push to help her get started, I found she had accomplished quite amazing things in a very practical way. Doris is very artistic, paints extremely well (-I am the grateful recipient of a large picture of my house she did many years ago) – she is an artist at flower arrangements and a gourmet cook to name a few of her talents. She and Iggy are retired innkeepers and I learned much to my surprise, well on in my acquaintance with her, that she had managed and supervised all the cooking at the very high class inn they owned and operated.

Iggy is a large brawny good-natured man apparently as strong as an ox and completely capable in every area requiring tools of every kind. He has a large hearty laugh, is very generous with his time and strength as you will see. Iggy and Doris have two consuming joint passions and those are old houses and antiques. Their auxiliary passion of landscape gardening (on a large scale), painting, flower arrangements and gourmet cooking add up to a passion for perfection. And they have no apparent handicaps to contend with such as children, pets, in-laws, job, lack of money, civic responsibility or church. for one who goes off in all directions at once to tend all of these handicaps, their single mindedness of purpose is a beautiful thing to see.

Naturally, with all these assets, they have the most perfectly restored old home in the area and the furniture and grounds to go with it. It is little short of the perfection we all sometimes rashly dream of. I therefore suggested to Doris that her own house would be more suitable than mine but hers, she said, wouldn’t be finished yet and she became so upset and fluttery at the idea of not having our house, the most beautiful in Connecticut in case you didn’t know, that I capitulated. Iggy and Doris loaned me some furniture for the “slave quarters” for the tour, which gave it its moment of perfection.

We lived through that tour – the fourth in the five years we have been here and I said to myself and anyone else who would listen “that’s the last tour until my house is fixed up” and I really meant it too. I did think that some day, and maybe not too far away, it would get some fixing. But then it seems houses occasionally have to have new roofs and ours was in this year’s new roof category. The roofing people from all over Connecticut had been stopping by ever since we moved in to pass the time of day and remind us of the inevitable approach of doom. They really licked their chops over this one. Finally, to stop the flood and also some leaks, a new roof was ordered.

In a house like ours you don’t just call the nearest Johns Manville office and look at samples of the most becoming color. You get cedar shingles or Iggy comes around and says disparaging things about people who don’t respect the past and the heritage they have been so lucky to acquire. My contention was that since the town had failed to get zoning passed, anything could happen across the street and then we would probably have to sell the house at a terrific loss and what good would our cedar shingles do us then. I didn’t breathe this to Iggy, of course, and was relieved when I was overruled because I really couldn’t have faced him. For about four weeks, six high priced men crawled over our acre of roof throwing down tons of old shingles – (all of which had to be picked up, stacked and saved for kindling), replacing two old chimneys with brand new ones and, in general, creating quite a stir on Hollow Road and U.S. Route 6. Iggy was displeased with us for not using stone for the chimneys. He had some he would have given us but he was pleased with the cedar shingles so we felt we had gotten a passing mark and could hold up our heads in town.

With the new roof, which I hope will last until it is paid for, it looked as if hopes of decorating a room had evaporated again and then, when the furnace went on the blink, I was sure of it.

to be continued

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Why I Love Old Houses

Every now and then I run across someone who says what I am thinking, better than I can say myself:

Why I Love Old Houses.

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