Thursday, January 24, 2019

To Walk By A Secret Garden

From Virginia Fisher at Save the Pink House:
For five generations, children have walked past this garden gate and knocked on their way to and from Edgewood Elementary, never really expecting a response after years of knocking. But who can say what magic happens in the mind of a child in the habit of knocking here? For those who grew up around the Pink House and Secret Garden, they are used to hearing all kinds of stories — about the fairies who directed the planting of the flowers, the tall tales of long-dead Indians buried on the grounds or stories of movie stars driving up in limousines. About the parade of dogs with pedigrees as long as your arm that showed up to submit to the paintbrush of Eleanor Bridges. Of the ghost of Eleanor herself walking her Afghan hounds, patrolling the neighborhood and teaching children to paint in their dreams.

Our society has forgotten about the magic of ritual, of the simple act of knocking on a door, on wood that we and countless others have touched and wished upon and hoped against all hope against. Our desire to luxuriate in the warmth of nostalgia of place — and history and culture rooted in place — seems displaced or rather knocked down. We are too distracted and harried as we drive by to see the latest crop of school children with their new school clothes, walking by the tall hedges, still peeking past the vines to get a glimpse of the foreign-looking house and the Capri-blue umbrella on the parterre.

I started walking past this place when I was in high school with a very small white dog. Even after I bought my first house, an almost 100-year old house on the Southside, I still drove to Homewood to walk down Roseland Drive and the Pink House but with a baby stroller and a Springer Spaniel. In time, I returned to Homewood and bought a bungalow, painted it a pale pink, and walked all over Homewood with an Irish Wolfhound and always by the Secret Garden. After I sold that house, I'd still return from time to time, this time with a shepherd-husky rescue and knock on the blue door when no one was looking. (Read more.)
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