By Leslie Lindsay
[Image source: www.alphabetart.com 9.18.13]
For some of us, home is a living breathing entity. My own daughter recently asked me, “Mom, do homes have souls? Because I think some might.” Not that I have any personal connection to Karen Brown’s home–I’ve never been there, but just reading the description of the 1920’s gem she describes so eloquently makes me wonder if indeed homes have souls.
“Home is a sprawling 1924 Spanish Mediterranean in an established suburb in Tampa, Florida. It had been owned by the man who brought the area its first taste of Pepsi Cola.
His wife walked the grounds in her negligee, and was driven to church in a Packard. According to the oldest telephone repair man alive, Joan Crawford was once a guest. We bought the house from the negligee-wearing woman’s daughter, who lived at the time in distant Sanford, and who every so often would visit, sit in the living room and listen to a hired musician play the mahogany baby grand. When she decided it was time to sell, only a family would do.
My husband and I met her by chance on one of her visits, all three children in tow. Sold! Neither of us had real jobs, but to get The House I found a position teaching fifth grade in a local private school. He flew to Nashville to play drums on weekends.
We rolled up the sculpted carpet to reveal the old wood floors. We peeled off wallpaper, threw out mildewed drapes. Everything we owned fit in the living room. We now had four bedrooms, two fireplaces, a library, a pool, a courtyard with a fountain. We had what once were “servants’ quarters.” We also had leaking windows, cracked plaster, blocked pipes. At night my husband would return from a gig, climb a ladder to the roof, and bang on the air conditioner until it rumbled to life.
Karen Brown is the author of THE LONGINGS OF WAYWARD GIRLS (July 2013) and teaches creative writing in Florida. For more information on Karen and her work, please see:
[Special thanks to Karen for providing this touching example of home].