Thursday, November 12, 2009

Going Gray

There is something about the autumn light this year. It seems so steely gray, perhaps reflective of my current mood. Or could it be the residual effects of Hurricane Ida, which is roiling around in the Gulf? I hear she is to work her way north and then east, grazing Savannah. Maybe there is a scientific explanation after all. Nevertheless, I have memories of a more rosy-golden Fall light. Of course, now that I think of it, I have rosy-golden memories of just about everything. I could ask myself if I remember only what I choose to remember. Is it a control thing? "I think therefore it was." Perhaps that should worry me a bit, but that is basically my outlook so I will have to embrace it.

Feeling befuddled and not in control is just not my style. In such a state, there is only one place to turn...the house. I was standing in my Nantucket Gray kitchen the other morning musing over how lovely the color looks late in the morning. Connected to the kitchen and breakfast room by a large doorless entry is my sunroom with more windows than walls (as the name "sunroom" would suggest). The focal point of the sunroom is a large, arched window which rises from practically the top of the ceiling (pretentiously called a "cathedral ceiling" - although if it really were in a cathedral it would be a very puny cathedral indeed) - almost to the floor. At present, the room is painted in "Magnolia Petals," a sort of blush - not quite pink and not quite peach and not white - a pinky blush is the best I can describe. It's the color of the inside of the magnolia flower near the stamen - hence the name, I imagine. Across the room from the arched window is a set of white double doors made of paned glass that lead into the library (which is what is was called on the blueprints. I seldom refer to it as the library since it also sounds pretentious. I usually call it "the room with the bookshelves." Somehow, Lindy from the southside of Chicago would not have a "library" in her house). It sounds all right so far; but, here is where it gets rather ghastly. Around the big wall of windows, arch and all, and around the double doors, I long ago stenciled a garland of magnolia blossoms. (You know, to tie in with the name of the wall paint. How clever of me!) I warn you, it gets worse. At the top of the windowed arch, and over the other door in the room - the one that leads onto the patio - I stenciled pale green bows with flowing tendrils. It was 1989 and the model home I saw in the subdivision was likewise painted. I thought it was stunning, and it probably 1989. You would think that raising 3 rambunctious kids in the house would have ruined the "Magnolia Petals," but an upstairs playroom and seasonal wall washing has kept everything remarkably intact. So let's fast forward to 2009. The sunroom is now a relic of bad taste. I think it is time to sand down the magnolia petals and paint over the "Magnolia Petals" and go Nantucket Gray all the way.

In a completely coincidental happenstance, my sister, my eldest son and my grandson will all be coming into Savannah tonight - for different reasons. John is leaving for Afghanistan in a week and he and Jayden are coming home...home to spend some family time. I'll get to perch him (the baby, that is, not John) on my lap and read the library books I have for him. Judi is coming to check on Shorty - who is getting extremely forgetful and drives her car like a bat out of hell. If I'm lucky, I can get Judi to install my new kitchen faucet. (One day I'll have to tell you about all the things she can do.) With all that, the magnolia petals will bloom another week. Their days are numbered, however, and on Sunday I will be off to ACE Hardware to get a couple of gallons of Benjamin Moore's Nantucket Gray.

I'm giving Katharine a treat for Thanksgiving - a week in Chicago with her beloved Uncle Rudy. She was only 4 years old when we moved away and does not remember anything of that wonderful place where she was born. Rudy's boys, who seemed so much younger than she when they were young, are now her contemporaries and friends aside from being her cousins. Strange how a few years separating people in childhood melt away in adulthood. She will be in very good and gentle hands, and has been happier than I've seen her in some time. It will be hard not having her here, the first holiday we've spent away from each other. Nevertheless, she will return home with great stories to tell. And as for me, after dinner at Shorty's with the family that remains, I will be able to spend a very long Thanksgiving weekend with Benjamin Moore - with whom I am quite smitten.

Have I told you how much I love the hardware store on the island? I have often thought of challenging myself to do all my Christmas shopping without leaving the island. I could probably do it all at the hardware store. Aside from a bookstore, it is like heaven on earth.

It will be good to be back at the hardware store. It will restore a sense of normalcy in a very abnormal couple of months. I'm looking forward to turning my attention to the house once again. It needs nurturing. It needs to know I love it because this is where my memories live. It needs to know that, no matter where I am, it will always be home. to "love" it is the best of all words.


  1. Happy Thanksgiving, Graddikins. I know the past couple of months you guys have endured only emphasise everything we all have to be thankful for. John is leaving for Afghanistan?? I don't even know what to say about that - except are you all right?

    Nantucket Gray all the way.

  2. I have a feeling you may miss those magnolia petals--but not for long.........

  3. You just write so thoughtfully, and so tenderly -- like the inside of a magnolia petal, I guess, a very delicate color I'm already missing in your house I never saw... But I'm sure the wide open spaces of Nantucket will be welcoming too!

  4. Your sunroom sounds lovely, even with the magnolia petals. I love hardware stores too. Harware stores, book stores and office supply stores. Your TG sounds like it will be wonderful. You'll have to take a before/after photo of your sunroom so we can all oohh and ahhh :)

  5. Di, thank you. It's like that old song says, if you count your blessings instead of sheep, you'll fall asleep counting your blessings. We can't let the bad stuff crowd out the good stuff.

    Tinky, you should have seen the hydrangea stencils!! I went crazy with embellishments back in the day.

    Charlotte, thanks for the compliment. Your blog and Tinky's always make me want to get into that Nantucket Gray kitchen of mine and whip up something delish. Nantucket Gray has a mossy green tone - very soothing.

    Stefanie: They are fun! And our hardware store has everything - gifts, french milled soaps, candles, small appliances, casual (expensive) clothes, plants, fountains, grilling stuff, loads of fishing stuff (being on a island), as well as the typical hardware store fare. It is also a great place to hang around on the rocking chairs.

  6. I keep trying to post comments and getting blocked (not that there's anything you can do about this, Grad, just crazy computer stuff). So fingers crossed for this one. I did a lot of stencilling in the early 90s too! I stencilled teddy bears on the walls of my baby son's room, and flowers over a wardrobe and chest of drawers. All gone now, but lovely at the time. I could not agree more that home and love are all we have that is most precious and comforting and real. But maybe you'd like to add a touch of silver, or pure white to your Nantucket gray, just to ensure you are not reproducing the inside of your mind on your walls - or perhaps better to say that you ARE reproducing it, with a touch always of uplifting positivity.

  7. Litlove, maybe stenciling will come back into vogue. In "the room with the bookshelves" there is a bar (drinks bar, I guess you'd call it) built in behind a set of doors. It's has a mirrored wall and a "marble" counter with drawers and cabinets. On the cabinet doors I painted a garland of small rosebuds free hand. I figured if I really screwed it up, I could always just keep the set of doors closed. It turned out fine, and I have great pride in those doors. I think those buds will continue to bloom. I'm sorry about the trouble you're having in posting. That sucks canal water, but please don't give up. Oh, and Nantucket Gray is really a mossy kind of green, not really gray at all. The name sounds way too dreary for a color that really does remind me of being by the sea.