Saturday, December 29, 2012


It snowed here in Maine on Thursday, snowed steadily all day long and into the night.  In western Maine, it exceeded fourteen inches, while here on the coast, we topped out at about eight.

It was, as we say in Maine, a beaut!
And a perfect opportunity to spend a day at home.

I spent part of my time going through yet another box of family ephemera, and found this masterpiece tucked inside one of my old report cards. I drew it for my parents (or so it says on the backside) in 1956, when I was in the fourth grade; it was originally folded just above the roofline to make a stand-up Christmas card. I was a careful planner in those days – you’ll notice that everything’s plotted and outlined in pencil, then colored with, in all probability, Crayolas.

There’s something about the trees that makes me smile – those small, triangular fir trees plopped willy-nilly over the hillside; the thick-trunked deciduous trees (elms?) on either side of the path that leads up to the house – the red clapboard house with a green door (those are Christmas colors, for certain) and a warm yellow glow in all the windows.
          I was ten years old.

When I found this drawing, I began to think about other places I have lived; began to think of my history in terms of houses. 
My parents had a late 19th-century, dark gray house that overlooked Portland harbor in the 1950s (my mother insisted it was the color of a wet elephant, although I have no idea how she knew what a wet elephant really looked like). After that, they bought a series of old white ramshackle farmhouses in the Midcoast area, some with wonderful connecting architecture involving outkitchens, sheds and barns.
          The first house I ever owned was an 1820 cape near the Kennebec River in the town of Richmond – I couldn’t see the river, but I could smell the water from my front porch.  From there I moved to a small Greek Revival townhouse (white with black shutters) with a curved staircase, then another sweet farmhouse up in the Eastern River valley section of Kennebec County.

Now I’m here, in this house, back in the Midcoast area.

So Thursday, during the snowstorm, I looked at this drawing of my “first” house in snow for a long time, then bundled up in my parka and boots and hat and mittens and went outside, lumbered through the drifts in my driveway to the street to take a photograph of my “last” house in the snow...

First and last: Happy New Year to you all!


  1. Hi Deb! Wow, you sure did put a lot of thought into that picture. I love it. I really like how you decided to fold it in half with all that neat stuff on the back of it.

    You guys got a lot of snow!

    I noticed that Kristin does a lot of her memories by where they lived, and I outlined my life story that way too ... even though the outline is all that I have so far.

    Kathy M.

    1. And we had another 5" last night, Kathy! What a change from last year's mild winter here in Maine...interesting about autobiography in terms of houses. It's a good framing technique, and has lots of possibilities. Happy New Year to you and Cary...

  2. What I most like about your drawing, Deb, is the way the house seems nestled into the oval created by the trees and hill behind. It's a lovely drawing. Do you still draw? Happy New Year to you.

    1. Hi, Nancy! Glad you stopped by! No, I don't draw anymore (I'm really terrible at it; I hit my stride at this drawing and never got much better). I see you're a Maisie Dobbs fan (me, too); also the Mitford series was JUST what I needed at one point in my life. Have you read Elly Griffiths or Louise Penny? Great mysteries!

  3. Sweet story. Made me think of all the houses I've lived in - especially the seven convents in MA and Louisiana. would make some great stories. I hope I can publis this, it's so confusing