Thursday, May 07, 2009

Loren Likes Shacks

I'm climbing a winding staircase. The intricately carved wooden banister slithers up several floors to an attic light. Every landing has a public phone booth. Who still uses them? The building is massive, each floor has a multitude of closed doors with colored glass knobs and odd cut-out spaces in dark corners. As I ascend the stairs, I'm reminded of the old boarding school from the Madeline books.

"This is my house, so why am I lost?" I wonder. I stop and approach a phone booth. There is a number engraved above a metal slot on the phone.

"26 cents"

I reach into my pocket and pull out some old receipts and a quarter. I have no pennies.

It's funny how our dreams reflect our waking life. In mine there are so many symbols. It's fun to write them down, like I did this morning with this one. I've had this dream more than once.

"A house in a dream symbolizes the dreamer's mind. A mansion, by virtue of its richness, further indicates the value and respect the dreamer holds for his mind. The floors of the house represent different parts of the mind, the activity signifies how the dreamer is using this structure for thinking." (School of Metaphysics, Most Common Dream Images)

I have a specific interest in old homes, especially abandoned mansions. When I was a little girl there were two buildings in my neighborhood that captivated me. One was a sprawling white mansion with black shutters on the corner of the entrance ramp to the Causeway and Main Street. Converted into apartment buildings, it served as a summer home for a city banker and his family during the Gilded age. I'd ride my bike up to this house and just stare at it, imagining the corridors and rooms. When my husband and I were looking for our first apartment I finally got myself legally in the door, looking at a second floor one bedroom with tall rolled-glass windows and an ornate plaster fireplace mantle. The rent was too high, and I was a bit let down at seeing the inside. My imagination had built up the place for so many years that the building could never live up to it.

The second place that drew me in as a child had a blue sign posted at the curb that read:

"Washington slept here in 17.."

It was the home of a prominent Long Island family. The backyard was huge, and I'd imagine the tents of Red Coats set up on the lawn during the Revolutionary War. My 4th grade class toured the place, and I'll never forget the roped off third floor staircase. I wanted so badly to leave the little group, and sneak up there, but I didn't.

There was a graveyard right at the back of the property. The stones had no crosses or Christian symbols, but some had serpents. I remember being struck by this detail, and wondering about it.

Once, when I was about eleven, I was standing inside the iron gate of the small family cemetery on a foggy day. What looked like white smoke rushed past my knees and across the lawn. It was like a little cloud low to the ground. I ran out of there screaming.

What is it about old homes that intrigues me so much? Perhaps it's the life of the place that reaches so many years beyond my own, the personality of the dwelling that I can befriend; a relic that I can climb into and be embraced by its coziness, like an old blanket or a wise grandparent. I love old homes.

Hi Readers,

Picture is from the Prairie Brock House in Ohio taken by Forgotenoh on Flickr.
If you'd like to interpret my dream, I'd really get a kick out of that. You can do it in a comment.


Putz said...

26 represents the number of yeaar to go until you are completely useful....the scream represents the pent up energy that you have always had and need an outlet for....the stairs represent your climb to saint hood......

Putz said...

p.s. when i first read your heading, i thought it says loren likes slacks

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

Oh this is so fascinating! Thanks for letting us into your complex mind. I'll have to come back to this once I can locate my dream guide which is on one of my shelves somewhere. I've been having some really vivid dreams lately too. Do you like Teddy Roosevelt's Sagamore Hill home?

Loren Christie said...

Hey Elizabeth,
Yes, Roosevelt's home is nice! I have a complex mind? Well, thanks! Can you put that in writing for me, maybe on a certificate? :)

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

I bet they have some kind of bloggers award from that - if I can find it I'll bestow it upon you!

Loren Christie said...

Thanks I love getting "bestowed upon." :)

Mr. Norman Whiskers said...

THis is why we should get rid of Hell Hound my Lady. She makes our shack appear way too gothic. I tried to volunteer her for an alien abduction but the UFO just spit her back out on the porch again. :(

jen said...

Hey Loren - I'm behind in my blog reading. Thank you for the recent comments on my blog. It is true, I really do want to be a chaplain in a women's prison - that's my career ambition once I get my children established in school. I hear there is big money in this area of the chaplaincy. hahahahahaha. Of course, I'm kidding.

I have never been in one abandoned mansion. I would love to be inside one though. Reminds me of Charles Dickens and Mrs. Haversham.

I love old houses. Ours was built in 1919 - old for Oklahoma, which didn't become a state until 1907. I can't imagine living in a new home. I've tried to figure out why this is, but I really can't say. I think the old tree-lined neighbors held charm and peace for me as a child. From the first time I laid eyes on them in the Broadmoor neighborhood of Colorado Springs, 1974 until we purchased ours in 2004, I never stopped dreaming of owning one. 30 years.

Loren Christie said...

It's a very cool career choice, high-burnout rate, but so worth it. Thanks for the comments.

Dear Internet Traveler,

Welcome to my writer's blog, started about six years ago for fun. Over time, the writing I have posted has ranged from personal reflection, to Long Island history research, to tall tales for my own amusement, to feature articles for local newspapers. As you can see from topics listed here, I travel in many mental directions in regard to interests. Click on the tabs and labels to explore my strange mind which senses that you may be having a criss-cross day. If so, perhaps this blog will distract you. However, please note that if you tell me my blog is beautiful just to get me to advertise rhinoplasty surgery and cheap drugs from Canada in your comment, I will ask the gods to give you a tail that cannot be concealed.


Loren Christie

Be Our Guest!

Be Our Guest!
Come tour the John Scudder Havens Historic Homestead at 15 Main Street, Center Moriches, NY. Click on the picture for more infomation.

Search This Blog