Remodeling

Stone fireplace with IBM SelectricI wonder if high schools even teach typing any more. Ours had brand new IBM Selectrics, fabricated of a textured metal, with an alphabet-engraved silver ball whirring atop an engine, waiting to strike paper at a finger’s touch.

I learned before that, though, from my mom, when I was a child, about the home keys. Her typewriter was metallic green. I cannot remember the color of the typewriters in high school. On her old machine, occasionally brought out of its hard case, our fingers sank deeply down with each push — which required force if anything were to be visible. That isn’t easy for a child, nor any adult over time.

Typing was a skill belonging to the realm of women. I can remember being struck by how uncannily silent computers were, when you typed. They just took it in, and there it was, silently there. I imagine I was not the only person amazed by the silence, since so many early computer keyboards took great pains to loudly click as keys are pressed. Perhaps this brought comfort in change.

Right now my mom is dead. There are no telephone lines connected to the house. There is no cable television. Three days ago, I turned off the satellite feed. Only the Internet connection remains. The Internet, electricity, and natural gas. Water. An underground well waters the yards.

The house, in its mid-century modern design has been cleared upstairs. The interiors of the living space are recolored; the hard wood floors, as I type, are being refinished. The process will be slow. Deliberate. Open to reformation.

Three architectural pieces are in mind, to be built. A soon visitor will be bringing more. The stairs are to be ground down, stained neither darkly, nor left light, and sealed against slipping.

The stone of the focus will remain unchangeable, yet its dominance, strategically lessened through all being created around it, will become a grudging strength. The substance is such that it cannot be removed without destroying the house. It cannot be denied. Instead, it will be embraced, and brought down, into the larger home; not nearly as substantial, yet hopefully beautifully livable in its broader and open space.

This rearrangement is happening, in a most intimate way, with full participation.