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>3. Tidings December 23, 1910 Dear Mother, Brooks insists I write to you. I’ve put it off for some time—I know you understand. It’s hard for me to realize the only way I can communicate with you now is to pour myself out on paper, but I promised Brooks I would make the best of this situation and keep my spirits up, so here is my first attempt at long-distance love. How I wish you could see the house Brooks bought for us. It’s much grander than anything I could have dreamed. It’s situated west of the center of town and is on a street named, appropriately enough, West Avenue. Unlike the other frame houses up and down the street, it’s constructed all around of white stone. Brooks says it will stand until the end of time.The front entrance is grand—six stone steps up to a massive French paired door painted forest green (as are the shutters ). A porch with an elegant balustrade runs the width of the front of the house on each of the two levels.The sun rises in the front of the house and sets in the back. The rooms are spacious and full of light. Downstairs we have a huge parlor running the depth of the house on the north side of the stairway (to the right as you enter the front door—the previous owners held dances here), and on the other side is a perfectly square room big enough to serve as a formal dining area with built-in drawing room.The kitchen is situated in back of the house with doors to the dining area and a back service entrance. It’s a little long and 25 plain, but sunny and cheerful with a large window across the back and access to the screen porch on the southwest side.As soon as possible , I will have it painted light blue and hang crocheted curtains so it will feel more like our kitchen at home.We are fortunate the previous owner left a double-door oak icebox and a wood and gas burning stove with two side-warming ovens. I’ll have plenty of baking capacity. Did you know there are no basements inTexas? Isn’t that odd? My first trip through the house I looked all over for a staircase going down, and Brooks just laughed at me. I’ll have to store everything in the attic. Of course, we’ve not much in the way of furniture yet. It broke my heart to leave so much behind in Seattle. We’ve purchased a mahogany bed ensemble with a wardrobe,a bureau,a nightstand,and a matching writing desk. Brooks already works away furiously scribbling out notes for his next book. I awoke late last night to find him sitting by candlelight, tapping inkblots on paper, waiting for the right thought to pop into his mind. (He receives his inspirations at the oddest times and says he must play slave to them or risk losing them forever.) At any rate, while we were there at Swann’s Furniture Company, I fell in love with a velvet gray davenport, and Brooks bought it for me to put into the parlor along with a standing lamp with crystal drops around the shade. Can you believe it? (I have to pinch myself regularly.) I want to wait a month or two before selecting any more furniture, though. It’s hard to know just what I will want here and about until I’ve had the chance to analyze each of the rooms in all their different characters—with the changing light throughout the day.Then there are the different affectations brought about by the progression of the four seasons and the many moods of the weather—and taking into consideration, of course, the nuances brought about in the ups and downs of everyday living. For instance, in a contemplative mood on a stormy day, where would be the best spot and in what type of chair would one want to curl up and watch 26 Comfort and Mirth the rain and the changing sky, read a verse or two from the Psalms, and contemplate the motives of God and nature? And on a clear spring morning, by which window and at what sort of table would one wish to sit at and savor breakfast? I never realized how many things one must consider when setting up...


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