Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Elegy for a House

In Maine, there's a lot of driving involved. So certain features on my commute are landmarks that feel like old friends. This house is one of them. A completely run-down, abandoned, asbestos-sided house upon which, in alternating years, bloomed the most amazing wisteria in festoons of purple. I never knew what it was, but as soon as I saw it I knew it was wisteria from descriptions I had read (this is also how I knew I was looking at a bluebird for the first time). Last year was a non-blooming year, so I was gearing up to show my blog-readers the wonder of the blooming this summer. The photo above is reproduced from a book, and doesn't hold a candle to the real deal.

When I drove by one day on the way to school and work, and saw that the old house was being bulldozed, I gasped, like someone had kicked me in the stomach. Each consecutive day, I watched the big equipment moving through, and big fires as they burned it. (Who gives permits to burn asbestos siding in Maine, I wonder?) In a week, it looked like this:
I still feel sad.
Joanie knew just how I felt; she noticed that beautiful old girl of a house also.
But because you don't come to this blog to get weepy, I will leave you with two happier photos. My early lunch with a friend at Boynton McKay, where people come up and talk to you if you're wearing cowboy boots, and you always know a few people, and the food is predictably delicious. Next time I will bring you some pics of the old apothecary shelves and pressed-tin ceiling. A good thing I was with my Healthy-Eating friend, or else I would have gone down the baked goods road...
Instead we shared this delicious breakfast burrito and each other's company.


  1. Oh Iris,
    I know how you feel about that house. I just couldn't believe it when I saw the equipment there and how quickly there was hardly a trace. I wonder if that old wisteria might survive and send up shoots!! I don't know how deep their roots go on a mature specimen plant but maybe it will rise again like a Phoenix. It is nice knowing that wisteria will grow and thrive in this zone 4 - 5 climate!


  2. Oh, that's sad. I fall in love with old houses too. I also fall in love with people that are hopeless. Perhaps I need therapy.


  3. I've just found your blog and it's always a treat to find Maine blogs.

    I can't tell you how many times I've experienced that kicked in the gut feeling with old houses being torn down, or trees disappearing, ugh. It's terrible.

    Boynton McKay's is a must-stop when we are up that way. Looks delicious.

    Just down the coast from you,