Stripping back the third layer of wallpaper my mind was spinning. The dawn was quickly approaching, my arms tired and my mind hadn’t rested since taking those first steps into the old house, with eerie wonderment from the years of untouched, vintage decor.
My family bought the old house, which was sold due to the death of an old man. He lived there alone, probably since his wife passed away. The decor certainly suggested this was once a family home full of life, and love.
As my daughter helped peel away another layer of someone’s past, I imagined the children playing in the room and growing into teenagers. I look at my beautiful daughter and take in the beauty of her innocence and carefree ways. I wondered if the children who grew up in this house had a happy childhood?
I think about my daughter growing older and the life she is yet to live…
Each room revealed several layers of wallpaper exposing decades of fashion and Pattern. I thought about the person who, after stepping back, admired the newly decorated room with pride. Was this the old man’s wife, or her mother… I thought about how I feel after stepping back in my newly decorated room to admire my masterpiece, and I smiled as I hoped she felt the same… stepping back, in this very same room 20, 30, 60 years ago…
The ground floor of the old house was stripped back weeks ago, three skips of rubble and rotted wood leaving only the bare bricks and mortar, but there on the windowsill still stands a slim red glass vase holding six silk flowers. Soon to be the last little memoir, evident to the life that once lived there. I thought of my own home and wonder if anyone would think of my life while they stripped away the layers of my home, and my past?
I thought about my previous homes, the energy within them and the life that lives there now…
I thought about every layer of my life and how huge the adjustments, they never quite hide certain parts of my past. How no matter how I try to paper over the cracks or resurface my life with a brand new design, the past always shows through… If not now, eventually. I wondered why I even try to hide from the past, and if it is even possible.
I wondered about the furniture in the rooms; where was the bed? Did they sleep well?
I think about my belongings, a lamp for instance that I’ve had for years. It lit my first ever flat, and seen me through wild parties and meeting the father of my children. It lit our living room for twelve years until it seen us through our breakup, then lit up two more homes since then…. this little lamp. Just a lamp.
I feel sad about stripping away years and years of memories from the old house, but at the same time, it’s just a house… much the same as my lamp is just a lamp. But is it?