Dear Diary:
Merry Christmas!


All the best wishes from our house to yours!

But wait — this is our house? It looks like a hand-tinted postcard from the early days of electric lighting! All that I wanted to do (thank you, PhotoShop) was to turn down the glare of the lampshades. As a result, the “window treatment” looks even more pathetic than usual — it’s so visible!; I see it through Edith Wharton’s eyes. If it were not bolted to the ceiling, I would be in the living room now, tearing it down, instead of doing whatever it is that I am doing. 

As you can see (yes?), we have not “decorated for the holidays.” In a Where’s-Waldo sort of way, there’s a wreath, but it’s too small to fuss with. So it hangs like a Puritan reproof in an orchard of furbelows.

What has become very interesting about this room for me, since I noticed it the other day, is how little of it Kathleen and I purchased. Almost everything of any size, except for the glass-topped table, the secretary desk, and the (almost invisible) bookshelf/mantelpiece, was either inherited or acquired at no cost. (Fossil realized that he hated the alabaster lamps on the right. My grandmother stitched the needlpoint bellpull, hanging just beyond the farther lamp, for cousins whose eldest daughter, no longer in need of such an appliance, gave it to me.) Kathleen doesn’t think that our way of coming into things is interesting at all. When I pointed it out to her, she called it ”the East Coast way.”

I’m not going to pretend that I don’t care what the apartment looks like, but I have to say that I’ve never cared as little about it as I do now. I don’t post today’s image because I want to show off; on the contrary, I really am rather ashamed of all those (very dirty) draperies, not to mention the window treatment (that door!). But: this is home, and I’ve never cared more about that. What the picture shows is a lot of furniture, but what I hear are all the friends who have laughed on the sofas, and joked over the dinner. To all of you who have been with us in this room, I say: thanks for the memories!

And I think of the déja vu, for once bankably genuine, that was experienced by a blogging friend who visited the apartment for the first time a few weeks ago. “As photographed…” he said.

But was it?