Touring historic homes is an activity I enjoy. However, as I get older, I discover that I’ve seen (sometimes used) historic items.
Consider the door on the right. Yes, the one with the locked chain to keep tourists (and others) out of the structure.
My great aunt — and others in my hometown — had a similar door to her house. It was a handy place to sit when all the lawn chairs were full of adults. She didn’t use it often but the residents of this historic, early 1800’s home would have.
It went to the cellar. Yes, cellar, not basement. Think dim, cool, and full of shelves, bins, and crocks of supplies. Open the doors wide and walk down the five or six steps. Is it daylight? Did you bring a lantern? Careful where you step! Creatures may have slipped in to enjoy the cool, pounded dirt floor.
Imagine being the child sent to get the potatoes, carrots, and onions for the kitchen. I’d fill my basket quick. How about you?
My great aunt’s home — build nearly a century later — also had an interior set of steps to the basement. Much better during winter storms.
Not literally. Well, sort of. Tip your head back and look at the sky. (But leave your eyeballs in their sockets and connected to the optic nerve.) Please!
Lift up your eyes — is advice from centuries ago. It’s used in the Bible to remind people to look to the hills and the heavens when they pray.
Depending on location and walking conditions — I like to “lift my eyes” during my morning walk. You see some amazing clouds. Depending on how early this walk happens — a person can see the remnants of the sunrise colors. Or narrow rays breaking through.
How many generations of your family can you record by name?
Did they live in the same city or region as your? The same state? The same country?
Different groups brought their regional habits and forms of entertainment when they moved.
While during the day many of the families socialized with others doing work or business — the home became the center of activity in the evening. Especially in the days before electricity, telephones, and the “modern” distractions.
Study the photo and imagine. Papa (or grandfather) enjoying his evening pipe while others in the family tour the world with pictures on the stereoscope, read, or sing by lamplight.
Are your thoughts cheerful — a small house surrounded by well-tended plants?
Or do you think sinister–night, no moon, and an abandoned structure in the midst of overgrown vines?
A clever writer could construct a book which fits either description. Or another — how about the modest house acts as a gateway to another world.
Today’s photo — taken at the Missouri Botanical Garden — falls into the first category. For a little over a century, a series of employees such as chief gardeners lived here. Then it sat vacant for more than a decade (a tinge of the sinister?) before receiving a much needed renovation.