I am so excited that Lincoln has built up a small library of books. His Aunt Katie sent us two boxes for my shower which I thought was a great gift. TB and I had saved our favorites from when we were a child and have now added those to the mix. It makes up one shelf so far but it is the first step toward being educated (and a Supreme Court Justice or whatever he wants to be.)
Even though I am pretty sure there are a limited amount of words he understands we are reading him those books. And he loves it. He is always so enthralled by them that he sits quietly and listens while touching all of the pictures. We have been working our way through and I finally came upon a book of mine.
It was a book from my childhood that I didn’t remember at first. The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton. As I started reading, it all started to come back to me. The story, the distinct illustrations. And all at once I had this epiphany if you will. There was a moment of such clarity. I realized why I was so crazy.
The story is about a little house. It’s a happy house that is built and loved by many generations of a family. Over the years it falls into disrepair. Soon what was once the country is now the city and tall buildings have grown up around it everywhere. It can no longer see the sun. No one takes care of it and it becomes abandoned and boarded up. I don’t want to give the ending away but I don’t want to be a downer. After a long time in what seems to be downtown Detroit, someone comes along and actually sees the house:
“Then one fine morning in spring along came the great-great-granddaughter of the man who built the little house so well. She saw the shabby Little House, but she didn’t hurry by. There was something about the Little House that made her stop and look again.”
So they realize this is her family’s house and have it moved out of the city and out to the country. The house is so perfectly personified in the story: how it was scared at first but then was excited to see the grass and hills again.
“The windows and shutters were fixed and once again they painted her a lovely shade of pink… Once again she was lived in and taken care of.”
I read this story when I was a child. A lot it seems by the shape of the book and its binding. When I read it to Lincoln I cried. I mean I cried a lot, like puppies were dying. I could barely make it through the whole story. And it was then that I knew that this is where it all started. This is where I learned that houses have a soul in a way and that they just want to be pretty and have happy people live in them.
It’s where I got my love of saving old house, old things.
I had thought it was handed down from my family, my step father mostly who loved old houses. And that definitely helped but I think this book may have been the spark. The spark that led to stripping woodwork, cheering over original clapboards and lots of research. And lots of TB rolling his eyes at me when I tell him the next project I want to start.
So I am looking forward to this book being part of Lincoln’s education. I want him to understand that the past matters. Old things have worth and are many times better than anything you can find made today. I want him to learn to love saving these treasures. And that it really is worth the time.
Old houses are expensive. I am breeding my own crew.