I have not yet thanked you. But I will.
My life in Texas…which so many of you have not seen due to the losing of all my posts prior to summer 2013…
I come from very humble beginnings. With nary a pot to piss in.
But in Tyler, Texas, I was realizing a dream of grand gardens and pretty digs.
We completely redid the house and yard. Of course more important to me was the yard, where I spent a great amount of time and effort.
We had decorators come and redo the kitchen, with our/his input. We also had both bathrooms redone top to bottom.
My “garden room,” as I referred to it, was my room to do anything I wanted. It was once a roofed-in patio. It still had the concrete floor with a drain in the middle that sloped downward.
We had the walls sheet-rocked and the drain covered and evened out, then had flooring added.
It was a damned pretty place, if I say so myself.
A much younger version of my beloved Abi and Charlie outdoors in Texas…
The outdoors was heaven on earth…
The pavilion was beautiful wood, 16 x 16 foot square. It had a ceiling fan in the top turned on by remote control.
Beyond that were rock pathways, a garden built with stone cemented into a curved shape. And across from that, my beloved pond-less waterfall.
It started out as a pond, but the maintenance was more than I wanted to handle. Plus I lost two fish when something went wrong while I was gone and they got too hot. That left me with a sad memory, so I decided that I wanted a pond-less waterfall.
It had a very powerful pump hidden in the rocks. And the sound was unbelievable shooting down over all that stone. It was so relaxing to sit under the pavilion and listen to it.
It was where I sat when I found out that my entire marriage was a lie. I sat there and cried through many days, staring off into nothingness, trying to decide what to do. Trying to discern what was real and what was fake.
I never figured that one out…
I had not yet monetized my blog. So I had no means of income. And I knew he would find a way to string me along with finances. It was all about control.
Plus, we had NO assets, if you can believe that. Some people live on the edge. And since he insisted it was his money and not mine, I had no say-so over it.
I left all that with a very heavy heart. But, it doesn’t matter if you live in a mansion if you are not happy within its walls. It would be better to live in a shack and feel contentment.
(My beloved saltwater aquarium…)
When I drove away for the last time with the pupsters, in October 2011, I did not allow myself to look back. I knew I would cry for miles.
I did anyway.
(Clyde & Bonnie, both gone now, who I miss to this day…)
And so now here I am in a patio apartment. Back to very humble beginnings. No breathtaking waterfall to close my eyes and listen to. Just a plain 1960’s apartment that I now call home.
But I will work my color magic, if you will, wherever I land. I don’t care if I do end up in a shack, for I will make sure it is a happy little shack. Filled with the things I love most.
Still, I have not thanked you yet…
I have been from one end of the spectrum to the other. Then back again.
When I first married him, we moved to a small town where he was the head of the hospital unit. And while driving around with a real estate agent, I was in such awe of the gorgeous turn-of-the-century homes she showed us.
I did not want new and modern. I wanted a home that epitomized a childhood I wish I’d had. A place for my eventual grandchildren to come and run up and down the stairs. A place with true character and history.
We found it. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. It was not palatial by any means. In 1998 it was about $150,000, with 3000 square feet. So nice by my standards, but hardly what most doctor’s wives would choose.
(Flower garden in Tyler, TX…)
I went to garage sales for months to decorate that place. When the tenant moved out of the garage apartment, I finally got to go inside and see what it looked like. It had sloping floors with orange shag carpet. A man had lived there for some time, and it showed.
I proceeded to yank out that carpet, first of all, then I had the floor jacked up as much as was possible. I painted the walls and stenciled them; painted the plain wood floor white, along with the stairs that led up to the apartment.
I had a new toilet and sink installed in the bathroom. But left the old claw foot tub, and painted the outside navy blue. I put four cloth shower curtains from Target, blue and white striped, at each end, and tied them in place so that it looked like a canopy surrounding you when you bathed.
That the stained glass window looked over a burger joint did not take away from the magic of that space. Not for me anyway.
I sewed café curtains for the four windows in the main part of the garage apartment. I chose gingham in four different colors for a whimsical look.
I wish I had it now. It was the most cozy place I’ve decorated yet in many ways. Being up in the trees was wonderful. Watching the birds up high in the branches was an extra pleasure. But I couldn’t walk those stairs now.
The garage apartment, that we called the guest house, looked out from the front door to the pool. And my grown children came to visit and stayed there.
I know this is long, so if you’ve been able to bear with me this long, please bear with me just a little longer. I rarely revisit these memories.
(My old Singer turned island, Tyler, TX…)
For I have not yet thanked you…but I will.
I am left with little eccentricities that have bearing on what I truly deem necessary in a home.
I don’t just hate carpet merely because it is carpet. I hate it because someone can sneak up behind you and put their hands around your neck before you’ve had a chance to even think.
I would truly rather have a studio apartment consisting of one large room. Then I could see every part of it, and no one could sneak up on me again. It is these things that stay with you.
(Breakfast nook, Tyler, TX…)
I must have total silence most of the time. It is something I also deem necessary.
I am not afraid of strangers breaking in. I have never been that way.
No, I am afraid of someone I loved who turned into a stranger. Or, more likely, was one all along. And I was too blinded by love to see it.
I no longer have granite counter tops or travertine floors, or can afford fancy house updates on a continuous basis. I no longer have pretty molding and gorgeous French doors. I no longer have a decorator to come in and help me choose my interior.
I have come a long way. Going back to humble beginnings does not bother me in the least. I’m comfortable there. I guess it is perhaps where I belonged all along.
Though I went from being married to someone who made a six-figure income, to having very little, I am okay now. As okay as I’m probably ever going to be.
I think a humble little home suits me better anyway.
So now I’m ready to thank you.
For sticking with me through thick and thin. For sending me perennials from your own garden, wrapped in newspaper and sent via mail. so that I would have a garden that first year after the divorce.
I thank you for staying and reading when my life went from granite counter tops to basic laminate.
For all of it, I truly thank you. For it was all of you that pulled me through my darkest days until I could find the light again.