I have mentioned how I label myself conservative and that got me thinking. I love history, I love the ephemera of history… a genuine Old House person, I don’t think I ever lived in a newly built house…not even recently built except for my dorms at university. And the first dorm was the oldest on campus.
I have always loved museums. As a child that was my favorite place to go, didn’t matter what kind of exhibit, I loved the archived and the artistic.
In gardening I have loved the old-fashioned flowers and the memories of older gardens made by my mother and my grandfather. Studied the historic styles of gardening for the sheer love of knowing what belongs with what time and style.
It makes me a treasure trove of trivia. The high vocation of the dilletante…collecting the odd bits of trivia that no one else could possibly be interested in. Of course my problem has always been in the collating of all that. In practical and in the mental life. Lack of organization, clutter thy name is mine. Sometimes that bothers me. So I have spurts of organization attempts, de-cluttering crusades, best of intentions, really. They tend to degrade into reading the old articles or potting up some neglected plant…. or somesuch nonsense.
As I have aged I have become a bit more astute in my self-assessment. I now say ” oh come on, I know I will never fix that old thing”. Or flashes of revelation: if I can’t ever find it, what use is it to me… no matter what its potential usefulness?
But I do love old things. I like old furniture and gewgaws, and the quirkiness of the Old Houses is something which fascinates me. In fact, an old wish of mine was for a Victorian type of house that has a secret room. Or an English Tudor sort of design that has cubbyhole niches and crooked stairways. My Old Farmhouse is pretty straightforward American no-nonsense, which is ok by me… but we have practically rebuilt it from the inside out- and we still don’t have furnace heat. True. We heat with a wood-burning stove. I think we took it too far in allowing that circumstance to remain. And no jokes about out-houses… it was a good thing that was no longer the style when we got the house ( just kidding there;). But my bathroom remodeling stories are funny! We did jimmy-rig out house style facilities for a couple days when the side of the house was removed to expand the bathroom space.
Ah, the outdoor life!
We have it good now, with a new bathroom and kitchen- built from the studs on out. Now… question… why do you think the older inhabitants put in stud-supposed-to-be boards that didn’t support or connect to anything?. Like pretend studs or something. I changed over time from wanting to restore to just wanting something that functioned. I no longer use the wood kitchen stove for cooking, that had to go when we remodeled, but it did make a nice turkey.
I am here to tell you not all the old ways are good. We look through rose colored glasses at a fantasy that never was in our “good old days” reminiscing. There are some things to admire, and that is what I love, I think. I think I love the parts of the past that elevated man’s mind and gave us something beautiful, something born of the conviction that excellence could and should be striven for.
I think that is what I like best about Old Things.