Thursday, January 10, 2008

Freeman House Journal: January 10, 2005

It's cold in this old house. The window's broken in the study... the top, middle pane. Looks as if a bird or a rock or a fist flew through it, leaving jagged shards as a reminder of the assault. I wonder how long it's been that way. Twenty years? Fifty? Ninety? I'll try to tape it up tomorrow.

I suppose it would help if this place had electricity. Insulation. Old newspapers stuffed in the wooden walls. Something. I moved my iron bed into the former dining room/sitting room/bedroom, the warmest room in the house, and am under all the covers I have. Mae is under here with me. I wonder who's trying to get warmth from whom.

We painted the old woodwork between the entry hall and the "great room" today, Mae and I did. (I'm still calling it the "great room" because I have no idea what purpose the room will serve.) Lori told me it's the room Miss Freeman lived in before she left and died. I guess as she got older and more brittle, Miss Freeman shut up one room, then another, then another, until her life was confined to the great room, nearest the front door, and the bath. I wonder if she knew how badly the roof leaked in the back hall, or what a mess her roses in the yard had become. It must have been a very small world she lived in, here inside this house.

But I know Lori's right about this being Miss Freeman's last room. There are rocking chair impressions rutted into the linoleum. An old phone list thumb-tacked to the wall, right between two white frame shadows on the peach sheetrock. It's odd to stare at those marks where the pictures used to hang. I get a strange feeling, like I'm seeing something I shouldn't. I wonder what - or who - looked out from those frames. There are no other nail holes in the walls, just those inside the frame stains.

Of course, Miss Freeman wasn't the only one whose life played out in this house. Tonight, right after it got dark, I made my way to the front door and its cold, slick windows. I wondered, as I leaned against them, who else had stood in my same position, a hundred years before, and pressed their forehead and palms to the glass, watching. Waiting. I wondered whose feet had worn footprints into the floor boards. Whose fingers had turned the old brass knobs and lost the skeleton keys that locked them tight. I wondered what I would think of these people and what they would think of me. This may be my house now, but I still share it. I share it with rooms full of memories and lives that have gone before.

I'm tired. Tired of working and tired of thinking. And my fingers are too cold to write anymore. Hopefully tomorrow will be warmer and I can make some headway on clearing out that back cabinet. I hope, anyway.


(The entry in my Freeman House Renovation Journal, three years ago today.)


Brambleberry said...

So interesting!

Jenny said...

My, how things have changed around Freeman House! It's definitely morphed into Freeman Home, for it sure appears to love the attention you're putting forth.

Hugs on a chilly Thursday eve,

betty r said...

Things are better now...I wonder what the next few years will bring at Freeman House??

A Woman Who is: said...

aahh I have wondered about the beginnings of your Freeman house?

Erin said...

I don't think fixing up an old house can ever, ever be a waste of time. We are restoring our house, and it is so satisfying to see a good old house turn once again into a beautiful gem. It's worth the years it takes.

Minnesota Kathi :-) said...

If Walls Could of my favorite shows, Freeman House could be on the show Brin.

It takes a special person with a lot of love to renovate a home in the condition Freeman House was in. I am so thankful for people like you.

Growing up in northern MN I was sheltered to so much. In school we were taught differently about our history and our MN history began so much later than folks like you Brin.

As I've learned later in life, the south and coastal shores are so full of history. There were folks all over the country back in the 50's and 60's who wanted to tear down the old to build up new but thank heavens there were women such as yourself who had visions of preserving our history.
Thank you for sharing your journal, it's such a personal thing and I am blessed for being able to read your thoughts back then.

Today I can imagine Mrs. Freeman stopping by for a cup o tea with our Brin, she'd be so pleased with Freeman House :).

Have a wonderful day! Blessings!

Sue@CountryPleasures said...

I want to read more, I loved it! What a honor to restore a house, and Freeman House is now a home again due to your love! I hope you can go home soon, I know you miss it!

Bax said...

Being a relatively new visitor to your blog it's so nice to hear about the beginnings! Thanks for sharing!


Mrs. Pauls said...

Hi, I just discovered your blog today and am enjoying it VERY much.
I hope you don't mind if I stick around.

grace said...

You've accomplished so much, Brin. I am so proud of you.

Grace x

grace said...

You've accomplished so much, Brin. I am so proud of you.

Grace x

jimr75 said...

Nice job on photoshopping Freeman House (how's that for mangling the English language, using a noun as a verb?).

I have shots of Old Main and the Bell Towers using a similar method.

Suzy said...

Hi Brin,
please stop by when you can I have something for you! I hope it will make your day - LOL.
Have a great day, Suzy

Nen said...

i wish i could be as content in my old house and small town as you seem to be! although, i don't know that my house has quite the charm of yours! how do you find such contentment? it seems to be the ongoing struggle in my life...