Sunday, February 26, 2012

It’s Not Dust. It’s History!


No one has ever accused me of being a good housekeeper. Although I can’t stand an unmade bed and dirty dishes bug me to the point of keeping them hidden in the dishwasher (usually unrinsed), dust doesn’t bother me all that much, especially now that my eyesight is on the decline.

Add to that how averse I am to entertaining. I like people well enough, usually in one or two hour segments, either in a public location or in their own homes, places I can leave when I’ve had enough. Having visitors in my home just opens up all sorts of scenarios in which they are having so much fun because of my warm and vivacious personality, they don’t remember that I like to be in bed and snoring by around 7:30.

But then my daughter and her husband and their two kids and their bulldog moved back to Georgia and started visiting. The good news is that the kids (my grandchildren) and especially Lou, the bulldog, do a good job of waxing the floor, mostly with their behinds. But the bad news is that my daughter, Melissa, no great housekeeper herself, makes rude comments about the dust that settles on my tables and chairs and perhaps a couple of the dishes I just may have used to feed the kids.

In pondering this problem of what to do about my slovenly ways without actually having to do any manual labor, I suddenly realized that it’s not dust that’s covering everything in my home, it’s history!

I live in an historic building, one designed and built by famous Atlanta architect, Neel Reid, in 1917, thank God too late to be burned by Sherman, and Margaret Mitchell lived here until her death in 1949. More recently, Vern Yip of Trading Spaces and HGTV fame and some of the cast of Drop Dead Diva have also inhabited areas of my building. I know about Vern from a friend who attended a party he hosted in the 90’s, and the DDD people evoked my ire by letting friends park in my space one Saturday afternoon in the midst of the Atlanta Jazz Festival.

I bet if I could have DNA testing done on some of the stuff that decorates the top of my teapot or the bottom of my bed, there'd be
an atom or two of the  original manuscript of Gone with the Wind, which was supposedly burned in our boiler in the basement, or maybe a whisker bit of Clark Gable's mustache.
And although Vern and the DDDs apparently had no qualms about Swiffering history away in order to open their homes to others, I’m made of better stuff (some of which is sloughing off as I type). If these walls could talk, they would tell me about the people who inhabited the rooms where I now live; a glimpse into their lives, their voices, the smell of dinner on their tables. 

But I’ve got none of that. I have only the dust.

I mean the history.


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