Happily joining BERNIDEEN'S PARTY and BLUE MONDAY today, and especially sending congratulations to our friends Jeanne and Bill on their 53rd Anniversary!
This charming little blue “house” is a gift Donna at GATHER sent me this week---I’d admired it on her blog, way back on the first day of this new year, and told her about the one the neighbors had when I was a child (a much less elegant item, with square wood sides and a little door with black hinges, as I remember). Theirs was filled with small rough-cut squares of tablet or notebook paper (for I unabashedly looked inside every time I went to their door, just as I greatly enjoyed ringing their bell---one of those through-the-door ones with the big round brass “school-bell” effect on the inside, and a large kiddie-car key on the outside, to turn and make the most satisfying buzzy ring, like an old alarm clock winding down. I hope now that I didn’t run Miss Sybil crazy with ringing that bell, for I’m sure I must have given it a few extra turns for good measure before she could rush her floppy chenille house-shoes from the kitchen to open the door).
Their note-box was such a charming mystery to me---it hung beside the big glass front door, way inside the screen-porch, and I always wanted to leave a little message with that pencil-stub on the grimy string. But aside from “Can Lynnette come out and play?” my conversation with the parents was limited, and besides, would not have made much sense---me being already gone, and all.
I know there were also rather fancy editions of the box, with cutesy cut-outs and even little clock faces, to tell when the family would be back and receiving. You found those for sale mostly at places like Rock City and maybe Mammoth Cave.
Décor varied, as did hinges and size and even the little closers---my favorites were the small rectangles of wood nailed on, like dollhouse versions of the latch on Mammaw’s outhouse, to swing up or down to open.
I wonder about the contents of the little messages---whether “Deliver two dozen eggs this week” or “Sorry we missed you.” I know there have been a lifetime of small scribings, with impartings and askings and news. You know how I am about writing anything, and every missive is a treasure to me.
I kinda think this next one was a Woodshop project by a guy in the FFA, before he moved on to Birdhouses and a Cedar Chest for his high-school sweetheart. Do not ask me how I know this.
Even that barely-there used-up pencil was a bit of history in lives we’ll never know. In truth, it was probably an eraser-nub Ticonderoga with a few bite marks, and the tell-tale scallops from a whittlin'-knife sharpening job.
I so love this little blue house, with its old leather hinges and the matching brass upholstery tacks, and especially the fact that it’s such a bright, happy blue. It's a weighty little structure, feeling like a hundred years in my hands from the weight of the wood and the shingles, the thick paint and all that history.
It even has REAL old-fashioned gritty-tar shingles on its little point of a roof---what lovely detail, and somebody must have loved it.
I thank you all so much for your answers, this week---most had versions of mail box or drop-a-note, and I know truly that it IS a Fairy Portal to somewhere, as are all mailboxes---it's ingrained since the first hole-beneath-a-secret-rock, so everybody's right in their recognition of the Magic involved. There’s a special spot on my new pink kitchen wall, right over the tiny dollhouse kitchen appliances. The blue fits in perfectly, and the memories! Just imagining them makes me smile.
From Donna’s e-mail:
Oh Rachel, the pleasure is all mine. I had it out for a few years then stuck away in a drawer. I'm so glad you have it now. I can't ever remember seeing them, so I thought it was quite unique when I found it. Along with a doily the same color and an old am radio the same color too, it sat on the dresser in the guest room. I also had a large handmade primitive armoire that color so it all went together. The walls were the lightest robin's egg blue possible, nearly in the white category. It was just time to let go and where better than with someone who loves it.
Warm regards, Donna
And you know, I can open that tiny door and catch the faintest linger of Coty face powder, and maybe Toujours Moi---perhaps it’s from the sojourn in the Guest Room, but I prefer to think it’s the whisper from an old Love letter.