Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I’m sandwiched between two poets. Linda Dove lives a mile to the east. Hildegarde Flanner doesn’t live four blocks south, almost a straight line from my house. But she did once, from 1926 to 1961.
Ten years ago I bought my house, and thus began my most meaningful and imprudent love affair. Even from a distance you wouldn’t say my choice was especially wise. It leaks, sprays, sheds, groans. It likes to collect spiders; we have potty problems. When things go bump in the night, it’s usually from down below. My 90-year old doesn't like the cold, and doesn't much cotton to the heat, either. But even if some other guy shares my bed, it’s my house I spoon. My house, built in 1923, one of a series of orchard sheds constructed when Altadena was oranges and grapes, barons and bootleggers. My house; mine.
I love it for the oak and camphor tree, for the hand-blown glass window, the view of the mountains, the plaster lathe walls. I love it for all the birds and lizards. I love it because I find a shard of old pottery when the soil is turned. I love it because my present has a past.
And we’re just a stone's throw away from Hildegarde Flanner’s house.
I’ve walked by so many times, like stalking a rock star. And now I’ve been inside, and I’ll take you there. Actually, the owner will give us a tour.