warped doors and slanted floors, crooked walls and drafty sills – what’s not to love about an old house? There are stories in all of them. A love story etched into a pane of glass, a revolutionary war registered in a back room closet, a ferry ride long ago remembered on a beam. All part of what make living in an old house an “experience,” a privilege – and an exercise in patience. Real wood, real glass, real human hands have imperfectly shaped them for over two hundred years. Ordinary lives like our own, who loved, lost, worked and prayed, have left a character and integrity lingering in the walls, a warm spirit in the patina. I do hope the next generation will remain “real” enough to feel it.
I am reminded of these words by Margery Williams, “Velveteen Rabbit” author, about what it is to be “real.” I do think that she was talking about an old house, and the people who love them.
“Real…doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”