Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Linda rented the upstairs apartment - the one with the palladian window, French doors, clawfoot bathtub, and hardwood floors. The day she moved in, I just knew she belonged there. I glimpsed her belongings as they were whisked to the third floor walk up by the movers. She was obviously a knitter which thrilled me. I was delighted to see her needles and pattern leaflets. Next came her books including a complete set of very vintage Jane Austen in blue leather and gold trim. An oversized framed needlepoint of a colorful garden, a mahogany dining set - the kind that is inherited and not bought. A well-seasoned cast iron skillet and an embossed silver teapot were wrapped in a beautiful lace curtain panel. Her belongings were romantic and feminine and it appeared her personal pursuits were as well. She had her grandmother with her that day for decorating support and as a devotee of my own grandmothers, I found that charming.
The fact that I was her younger "landlady" meant we probably wouldn't be pals but I thought she might become a private muse and as it turned out, Linda knew how to live well.
Like the poetess Emily Dickinsen, she dressed in white alot. Two piece white cotton dresses with cutwork hems, gossamer pintucked white blouses for summer. In winter, these clothes were replaced with textural white wool sweaters, arans, and creamy cashmere often worn with tweed wool pants, or long skirts and boots. She had a lovely way of dressing.
One night she tapped quietly on our door to pay the monthly rent wearing a luxurious fur coat. I complimented her and she responded by telling me that she had treated herself as it was something she always longed for. She smelled divine too. What was she wearing? Balmain's Ivoire perfume of course. She told us that night that she had also bought a piano and it would delivered through that palladian window by a crane the next day. The newspaper came and took pictures. After that, there was always free dinner music which softly floated down the stairs like a warm rolling fog every night.
Before long, she let us know that she would be married to the attractive young doctor we noticed visiting alot. She did ask if there was something of hers in the apartment that I might want to keep. Too well bred to tease about the fur coat or piano, I chose the beautiful white lace curtain panel that still dresses my window.