Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Home for the Holidays~ or ~ Keeping up with the Jameses.


  Christmas 1965 has come and gone, and now 1966 will begin.
 It is New Years day, and the James family are having their annual get together.

      Their house is on Yardley Road, about half way between the village of Yardley
        and the town of Morrisville just to the south.

Jack James has come home from New York to see his Mother and Grandmother.
The two have lived there together since his Father went off to war in 1942,
and never returned.

He has invited his new friend Daphne to join in the celebrations.
Ophelia, her Boxer companion, always well behaved, has been invited also.
Greeting them in the foyer he explainded- "Nothing in this house has changed since the day the bombs fell on Pearl Harbor. Mother and Gram have kept everything as it was when Father left. They still believe he may walk in the door some day!"

He continued with-
"Their only concession has been a TV in the kitchen for Esther- she runs the house-and us."

Harvey, their little dog was very interested in making Ophelia's acquaintance.

       Jack brought Daphne into the dining room, 
where his Mother and Gram were setting up for the buffet.

           "How wonderful that you could join us my dear" 
said Sylvia ~Jack's Mother
   "We have heard so much about you and your endeavors 
to buy the Skattergood house."

"Yes, I am still waiting while they try and locate Sophia, 
Miss Skattergood's Niece."  replied Daphne

" From what Alice Fulller said, she is the only heir, 
and has no interest in ever returning."

     "No wonder!" jumped in Gram
"Poor Sophia had nothing but misery there, 
we grew up together, and I know!"
       "If I were you I'd find someplace else- nothing but misery and sadness I tell you!"

   "Gram!" Sylvia said "Miss Dalrymple is our guest 
and doesn't want to hear superstitions
and nonsense, besides this is a festive occasion." she finished.

            "Oh please don't worry, I am very interested in what ever history 
you might provide." Daphne replied. 
" I would love to have a chat later if that's agreeable Mrs. James?"

         "Call me Ruth dear, and yes we will have a nice chat- 
I will show you Sophia's chair!" the elder Mrs. James said.
        " I bought it at auction when they closed up the house in Philadelphia.
Something to remember her by."

                     Meanwhile across the hall in the Parlor, Jack's Brother Frederick 
                                   was helping his girlfriend Dolores off with her coat. 
                                                 Glancing over at Daphne she said 
                      "Who's that Freddy -what a get up- is she Amish or something?" 
                                                   "Get me a drinkie poo, will ya?"

  Introductions were made, and Frederick offered to make Daphne a cocktail.
"Haaay!" Dolores shouted- "She's gonna have to get in line!" 

"Mother," Jack said to Sylvia back out in the hall,
"There are Christmas cards here from 1949!"

"Well dear, we haven't meet that many new people since then-
so I just take them down to the post office and resend them."
"That way Gram doesn't feel so lonely."

Going up to powder her nose, Sylvia meet Gram on the stairs.
"Well Sylvie- what do you think- will Daphne be the one?" 
Gram said.

"The one what?" 

"You know, the one to bring our Jackie around, 
so we can get some little feet running around here
before I am dead in my grave!"

"Oh  Gram!" Sylvia replied astonished 
"Don't be absurd- Jack is very happy with John.
If you want to be around little feet- go volunteer at Ginny Ralston's 
nursery school ~honestly!"

Speaking of John, he just came in on a later train from New York.
He snuck in the back door, where Esther was finishing up with the refreshments.

"How's my favorite girl?" John chided - knowing full well Esther did not 
fully approve of his relationship with Jack.

"Favorite indeed," she retorted. 
"Now get out of my way- your blocking my TV, and I am watching my stories!"
That floozy Rachel has almost got Mac to marry her- that tramp!"

"Far be it from me to keep you from your cultural pursuits- where's Jack?"


Before Esther could reply, Sunny, Jack's baby Sister 
came in from the front of the house.
Esther had a new focus for her scorn.
"Sunny!" she barked "You've come to your Mother's party dressed like that?"
"Trousers!" she continued...
"You look like you are going camping for heavens sake!"

Meanwhile, back in the parlor- old friends of Jack and Frederick had arrived,
Alfie Popacheck and his wife Louise.

Alfie was demonstrating the new act he had put together 
for the talent contest coming up at he Elks club.

        "Your really cute!" Dolores squealed- "Just like a Polish Elvis!"

Lousie was not happy- stepping in she told Delores-
"He's also very married!"

Later that evening

Frederick and his Mother have a heart to heart.
"Frederick, you know I always welcome all my Children's friends into this house,
and all I want is your happiness. But do you really think that this Dolores is the one to 
make you happy?"

"You are my Son, and I know you- you need someone smart, who isn't 
just interested in the party life." she paused and then continued
"Just look at Daphne- Jack's friend- not only is she pretty- but she has interests beyond what's in the latest fashion magazine."

Frederick, didn't want to admit to his Mother, that he was already 
thinking about Daphne-in fact from the minute they met, 
he had been thinking about her.
So all he said in reply was, 
"Well Mother, I will take what you said under consideration."

Returning downstairs he found Dolores had removed some of the garland
from the Christmas tree and wrapped it around herself like a boa!

"Dolores, I think it's time I got you home." 
he said.
"Oh, Freddy, don't be such a kill joy." 
she slurred...
"One more drinky poo!"

Esther and Sunny were looking on to see what Frederick would do.
"Well," Esther said to Sunny- "You may dress like a mechanic- but at least you
aren't cheap Christmas trash!"


Upstairs in her study Ruth showed Daphne Sophia Skattergood's chair.
"Yes, after Albert went off to India, or some such place, they sold off the Philadelphia
house and everything in it." Ruth told Daphne. 
"I had to have something to remind me of my dear friend~ 
this was from her bedroom there.

They sat for some time, and Ruth tried to fill Daphne in on as much 
information as she could about the family whose home she was attempting to buy.

"But you must go see Lydia Snodgrass, down at the library on Lake Afton."
Ruth told Daphne,
"She can give you the complete history- I am old now
and have forgotten so much."
"Ignore what I said earlier dear, buy that house, and make it a happy one!"

Daphne kissed the old woman good night, 
and wished her all the happiness
of the New Year.

She met Frederick on the stairs as she prepared to leave.
"Thank goodness you are still here!" 
he said catching his breath.
"I hurried back, afraid I wouldn't see you again, 
can I see you again Daphne?"


Ophelia and Harvey watched from the landing,
and both were very interested 
in what her reply might be.

All the best to everyone for the New Year!

*Just a note to say this is an old house I found some years back.
I had won a different house at an online auction, and when I went to pick it up-
there this house sat. I convinced the dealer to let me purchase this one instead,
thinking some day I would get around to restoring it.
I decided not to- these are not typically colors I would choose- and yet like 
many "real life" design jobs- I found it more of a challenge to work 
with what was there. Besides the colors truly capture the era of the late 30's when
the house might have been built.
Just as in "real" life- if we truly listen... houses will tell us what to do, and not.