March 13th, 2006

sideview, obamame_sideview

Just like Grandma

The NY Times recently ran a story on how people may choose their homes based on various ways the place evokes childhood memories.

I can definitely relate. My building, the condo itself and they way I've decorated it are very strongly based on the two apartments my grandmother lived in when I was a little girl. I spent a lot of time with her, often two or three days a week, as my parents helped her move to my home town of Andover and having me stay with her worked out nicely both for me and Oma, who was in her 70s and living alone.

The first place, The Aberdeen, was located in a converted 1920s office building and had a grand lobby with black and white checker flooring, one of those fancy elevators with a brass gate, and various businesses, including post office and a wedding dress shop, located on the ground level. Her apartment was a one-bedroom wit a kitchen, large living/dining area, and huge windows with wide windowsills. It had wood floors, covered with Oriental carpets, and almost all the furniture was 1920s-1930s. She lived there for about two years, then was forced to move when the building went condo.

Oma's second apartment was at Andover Commons, a senior housing complex located in what had been, for decades, a rubber factory. It was a big E-shaped brick factory buildng, complete with towers. It was a really nice building and the units were quite cushy, with wall-to-wall carpeting and everything new, but it was definitley a "loft" with very high ceilings, huge windows, giant windowsills, etc. The only thing Oma didn't like was her windows faced another part of the building, so there wasn't any real view. Again, the apartment was a one-bedroom with a big living room and kitchen/dining area going off it.

My place here at The Healey is a one-bedroom located in a neo-gothic office building built in 1913. There are all kinds of shops on the ground floor. It has wood floors, with an Oriental rug in the living room, and the windows are huge (5'x8') with wide windowsills. Almost all the furniture is 1920s-1930s and several of the fixtures, like the wall-lamp in my bedroom, plus some of my china, are in fact Oma's. When my sister Nancy visited, her reaction was, "OMG, this is like Oma's!" The first time I had the place on the local home tour, a woman asked me who the owner was, and when I said it was me, she was like, "Really? I was sure this was a much older woman's!" It's true though.

On a related note, Oma did not drive and always either walked or took the bus to get around. She didn't like getting rides or using taxis. She went to the grocery store every few days and carried her purchases in cloth bags. She bought a lot of her clothes at the thift shop and usually wore polyester zip-down-the-front housedresses she'd had since the 60s or throwback gray wool dresses. Guess who follows in her footsteps?

I emulate my mom and dad in a lot of ways as well, and I definitely am about as messy as Mom, but overall I definitely have chosen a lifestyle that's a lot more like Oma's. I never wanted to grow up and live in a big house in the suburbs filled with crappy furniture and have to drive everywhere.

P.S. I really need to do an Oma icon.

Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em

I've shut the door to my office so I can do some print-outs without Luckie jumping in the printer tray, which she ALWAYS does. Of course now she's slamming herself against the door, desperate to find out what I'm doing in here. She probably thinks I'm secretly eating tuna sandwiches.