Monday, February 24, 2014


Yesterday I left my in-law's house for what might be the last time. We spent the weekend sorting and packing, but the best part was reading a few old letters. My father-in-law, Robert, had a wicked sense of humor and it showed in some of his letters.  Alice was a sweet storyteller and I look forward to including some excerpts from her notes. (Luckily, they saved everything, so there's a lot of material!)

Robert and Alice had this house built for their family in 1970 and it hasn't changed since then. What struck me as I moved up and down the two flights of stairs over and over, and the house slowly emptied, was the wallpaper. Whatever happened to wallpaper anyway?  I haven't been in a modern house with wallpaper in a while.

Most of the walls were painted, but they had wallpaper in three of the main common areas of the house.  Was that common back then?  I don't know. The photo above shows the wallpaper they had in the entryway and main stairway leading up to the second floor.  Understated, a small floral pattern, hardly noticeable.  Lovely, no?

But the other two wallpaper patterns are a little more, well, shall we say off-the-wall?

Here's what's covering the wall in the main floor bathroom, the one most guests would use.  It's an odd mix of a variety of perfume bottles, along with a powder puff box.  Did anyone use powder puffs in the 70s anymore?  Not to mention I never knew my mother-in-law to wear perfume or makeup.  So how did they decide to choose this wallpaper pattern?

For that matter, how did it come about that their dining room took on the airs of an English countryside?  I never knew my father-in-law to hunt to the hounds.  He did fish, but as far as I know, it was usually ocean fishing when the family was on vacation at the Outer Banks, not fly-fishing in a stream.  I don't quite know what to make of the wallpaper choices, but they now seem a little odd to me.

I regret never asking either of my honey's parents how they came to pick the wallpaper patterns for their new home.  I'm sure I would have learned something, either about them or about the era.

Unfortunately, probably one of the first things the new owners (whoever they may be) will do is to remove "that old wallpaper".  That makes me sad.

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