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?

One Response to “Dear Diary:
Merry Christmas!”

  1. Ellen Moody says:

    Yes, when I renovated our house (several stages over a couple of years) I came across the term “window treatment.” No longer does one have shades, venetian blinds, curtains, or shutters, but a “window treatment.” I dealt with a man in the business of “window treatments.”

    We have no decorations this year except a sheaf of cards from friends on our mantelpiece. Our cats attacked our tree last year so persistently, it was demoralizing so we have to wait until they are older. I waited until it was too late to install a plug outside my house so I could for a third year put lights on our front bushes. The other years I allowed someone who was not properly educated in electricity to put a line from inside the house to out. Then it blizzarded. The “good” side is February the man will come and install electricity also in my screened porch (which I fixed last year) and a ceiling fan/light in my study, one I’ve wanted to do for years.

    But the day passed pleasantly, with an exchange of presents, going to see an intelligent (if too self-centered movie) by Almodovar and then a lovely Hong Kong style meal amidst huge crowds of people. (Qualification: the many movied-theater did have one less crowded room, the one Almodovar played in.)

    Late at night I was reading one of my presents, Tobin’s Brooklyn. Very good.

    TMI. This is really to wish you a happy season, RJ and also to Kathleen.