Home is Where the Heart Is

Who let the rain out?  It was barely a month ago that we were sitting in shirtsleeves, watching the finest of sunsets which Puget Sound has to offer.

This has been a Queen Anne year for your faithful columnist:  my own high school class reunion (45th); the Queen Anne High School Alumni Association’s 25th anniversary; the transfer of the building and grounds to the new owner of the former school, and the ensuing condominium open house on August 12th, 2006; and working on the “Topping Queen Anne” walking tour, a major undertaking which was really two tours in one, insofar as time is concerned.Interspersed with all the above were visits to the Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit at the Seattle Center, the Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair with guest author Nicholas Basbanes, author of “A Gentle Madness” and other books about book collectors.  Also, the annual Washington State Writer’s Awards, held at the new downtown library, brought several local authors.

I have been thinking about my own past, partly as a result of the above events, and partly because my last surviving aunt is nearing the end of her life.  She and I were talking on the phone on our regular Saturday night chat, and reminiscing about the house at the foot of the stairs, 910 Third Ave. N., which was my first truly-remembered home.  The house is still there, and from the outside shows little change from the way it looked when we moved away from it in February 1952.  From the downhill side it is a three-story structure, in the Craftsman style, and has been modified from a single-family residence to a duplex.

We lost our breakfast nook on the main floor when Mother had the house remodeled.  The dining room, next to the living room, was a good size—it still held the dining room set with the buffet and table and six chairs.  It is a Danish modern set which was my parents penultimate wedding anniversary gift to each other.  I still have it, although the chairs need new slipcovers again.  The bathroom was next to the kitchen, and was big (to me).  It is still larger than the one I currently have in my triplex unit on Phinney Ridge.

We lived there through the 1949 earthquake and death of my father.  My aunt brought her daughters down from Fairbanks, Alaska (which she really enjoyed leaving) and moved in the upstairs of our house.  This situation allowed my mother to go back to work to keep the roof over our heads.  That house was the most solidly built of any of the homes in which I have lived.  It was built around 1910, and looks lovely from every angle.  I realize that living in a house for a mere 7 years doesn’t necessarily leave a marked memory on the surrounding community, but the memories we each take with us do.  That is why it is so very satisfying to learn more about each home we visit on our tours.

May you each have something or someone for whom you can be thankful on Thanksgiving Day.  Happy and healthy holidays!