June 2020: Summer Afternoon | Notes Archive »

Summer on Elm

Henry James came up with the iconic description of those being the most beautiful words in the English language. Here on Elm Street, I am experiencing the feeling of summer contentment again. Racing toward my 80th birthday in January, facing nasty health issues, still nursing a replaced hip (which didn’t have time to heal before the next issue came along) understanding the meaning of disability for probably the first time, I am content. Fate is inescapable; we face mortality. But... maybe not today or tomorrow!! For now, there are the very sweet songbirds, watching roses bloom, planted by a previous owner, inheriting a massive hollyhock — a plant which has always confounded me, also planted by someone in the past, sitting on either the front or back small deck watching this street’s chipmunk population, summer days are refreshing my spirit in ways I never thought possible. We have been here since March 23, a day marked by a late season snow storm; alot has been accomplished since then in making this place our own. The other day, an acquaintance leaned into my car window at the Post Office and asked about my health. I laughed and said: “I’m going to be 80 in January!” She said: “80 is good.” 80 IS good! I guess I never imagined walking this planet at 80, so I’ll soak up what’s left with a good attitude. The scary part is: it was so quick!


We love this house. We decided to forego a showy living room and planted the tv right there, with a sofa and comfy chairs around it. The dogs and cat love this incarnation. Everyone has a soft place to sit. Nothing “precious” to worry about; good, old country furniture able to take on a new scratch or two. The windows are thrown open now, capturing every nuance of a breeze. There seem to be more breezes over here since we are no longer hemmed in by the huge houses bordering the Middle St house. We also have more deciduous trees. Middle St had an abundance of towering hemlocks. Oaks and maples are so very green and airy. It may be psychological, but they look cooler. One side of the house has lots of trees with their graceful branches providing shade. It’s fun to migrate to that side in the heat of the afternoon.

Oh, yes, Covid... What to say that hasn’t been already said a million times over? Take care, readers. Obey the smart people giving us direction. Stay home and play with your antiques! Scour the internet for good sources. We are so fortunate to have access to so much good stuff, offered by so many really good dealers (use caution weeding them out). I love cosmic travel on line. I have made some wonderful friends on the computer, in such far-flung parts of the country, and even Italy! Eno and I are stay-at-homes; this is affording me fascinating opportunities to armchair travel and connect with people I would never meet.

Sue Gault came for her first quick, masked, 6-degrees-of-separation house tour the other day. We are good friends and had gone 3 months without a visit. It was such a treat! Her comment, after raving about our house, was so adorable: “Well, the dolls look content here.” And, yes, that is a true barometer.

Trees Planted Outside

So, I spend these quiet days taking care of computer inquiries and sales, thinking about simple meals, baking every Friday for a weekend treat, resting when I feel very tired, reading, and puttering around this house. It’s been really hot — not gardening weather. I also watch the birds, with particular interest in our birdbath where the sparrows splash and chirp happily. Sparrows are so under-appreciated. They’re common, but they are darling, and daring too. I have been the administrator of the needed repairs to this house, and that is a challenge. Lots of things — confounding bits and pieces — have needed attention. That requires finding the right repair person, chasing him down, scheduling and then being at home to meet him. Talk about time-consuming.

Before I close, I must mention my dear friend, Joan Kindler, who died at 90 on March 21. Joan and I shared a rare friendship, spanning all my years in business (50 next year!) She was such a great dealer — a real antiquarian, and a loving pal. Oh, the sadness of these treasured people leaving us... I will always have the precious memories of our wonderful times together, our amazingly similar interests, and real mutual respect. Joan, I salute you and celebrate our rare friendship.

Joan Kindler