Blog Note: Pardon Our DustPosted: September 23, 2011
Wait. Did I just try to slip quietly back into the blog with a Follow Friday post?
You bet I did. I call it subtle. Some might also call it sneaky, but then they’re not writing the blog, so there.
We have been plowed under at the Ancestral mansion, and it has not been pretty. It has been covered with drop cloths and sawdust and a fair amount of paint spatters, many of them on me. The kitchen is being reconstructed, and in a fit of insanity we decided to repaint an upstairs bedroom, which in our 1917 house is a painting-prep nightmare (plaster walls, six layers of wallpaper, all of which have been painted over at least once).
My poor house has suffered through decades of well-meaning but misguided renovations. The epicenter was the kitchen, where a back porch was enclosed (awkwardly) and a powder room was tacked onto the back right by the stove. (And I mean Right. By. The. Stove. Dinner parties at my house have such panache!)
We’ve spent nearly a decade trying to figure out how to fix it. I shed no sentimental tears when the wreckers came; it was time. And after the kitchen was gutted, the floor leveled, a beam moved and a wall straightened, I went into it to look around – carefully, as there wasn’t any subflooring down yet.
I loved the way it looked – the bones of the old house taken down to their well-designed basics.
And it occurred to me that it was a perfect metaphor for genealogy adventures. You begin at a starting point that might not make a lot of sense. Stories have multiplied and contradicted over the years; documents dovetail in some places and diverge in others. Your job is to try to uncover the nice, clean lines of the original structure behind years of tweakings.
Astounded at my poetic insight, I spun around to share it with the rest of the household. But then I tripped over a dropcloth and forgot.