Friday, May 16, 2014

An Open and Shut Case

I had to be up early for the sake of the windows.

Because I live in an 1876 house, things are bound to need repair after 138 years. So when I mentioned that one of the window frames was coming loose, my landlord decided that a major window overhaul was in order.

All I'd asked for, mind you, was that the window frame be repaired because summer was coming and I needed to be able to open my window. When you don't use air conditioning, air flow is essential.

He understood. But this is a guy who has raised the rent in both of the other apartments in the building over the five years I've been here and never once raised mine because he wants me to stay.

So all of a sudden, I not only had that frame repaired but spanking new storm windows added to all four front windows. And today, for the final installment of my window upgrade, the guy is back to replace the ropes that hold the weights in the windows.

As he's tying off these 138 year old weights with new rope from, where else, Pleasant's, he tells me that reproduction windows like the ones I have cost in the neighborhood of $4,000 a piece.

A reproduction holds no allure for me. What I love is that I open and close windows that were opened and closed by people living in this house when Grant was president.

And Wilson and Hoover and Kennedy and Carter.

Every time I water the flowering window boxes that sit in the windows' deep sills, I am looking out on a view of Clay Street's trees and rooftops, the same one my house predecessors saw.

Granted, they didn't have to put up with the sound of motorbikes buzzing by or thumping basses as cars roll around the corner with the music at deafening levels.

But sometimes, especially late at night after I've gotten home and I'm sitting in the front room blogging, I hear nothing more than birds eagerly chirping for morning or the wind moving through the leaves in the huge, old trees in front of the house.

Those are sounds that surely haven't changed in 138 years. Like my beautiful windows.


  1. very wonderful... just the reason I can hardly wait for my screen porch!

  2. Wonderful post! Living in an old house myself (a mere 130 years) I can appreciate their 'charm' in sort of a masochistic way.

  3. Professor, I understand what you mean! Until yesterday, I had to prop my windows open with a stick and in winter, they were so drafty you could feel a breeze through closed shades. But even when they were impossibly difficult, I took heart in knowing I was just the last in a long line of masochists who'd appreciated their view.