A Joyful Emotional Trigger

15 May

Mapes Carpeting.jpg



Barth and Kathy at the Old House

Every time I visit Heritage Beauty Salon, I see the same carpeting that graced my grandparents’ farmhouse, the dwelling I called “The Old House.” I’ve never been able to figure out how carpeting produced in the fifties could have made it into a building that is currently used as a salon. It must have been stored away somewhere. When I see it, I always feel a familiar tug that makes me feel that I am about to walk into the Old House. Recently we’ve come to think of emotional triggers as negative journeys into past hurts and crises, but my experience, especially in this case, is that triggers are sometimes joyful, if a little strange.

I can see myself walking up the stairs to the house, and then to the veranda, where I sometimes made a detour to the left to see if anything was happening on that side of the house. There never was, but I always thought I should check. Upon walking through the left front door, (the right side opened into the other side of the two-family house where my aunt and uncle lived), I step onto the carpet with its design of swirls, which as child I didn’t focus on, but must have remained sharply in my memory.

Once inside, I see a piano on the left wall, where after my Grandma Lela’s death, my mother found a Methodist hymnal with a note, “Show to Kathy.” On the right, flat against the highly-polished pine staircase that leads to the second floor is a purple-hued sofa that looks like a Victorian knockoff with a sway back. I can still see my grandmother working on her crossword puzzles there, sometimes with her apron still on. It is almost as though I were viewing my grandmother’s own Pinterest picture, except that it’s mine now. There are also two built-in bookcases with glass doors on them.

The living room opens into the dining room, still with the same carpet. A big oval table with a lace tablecloth adds a touch of elegance to the family eating area, along with a wood and glass door hutch that holds the china and cut glass. I can see my grandmother leaning over the table, even now. This table is the place where she daily offered up her two of her legendary desserts made from scratch, one for lunch and one for dinner. These were very feminine rooms, not unlike the pink and blue bathrooms with their pink and blue towels whose colors she chose for the new house, even though she never got to live there and the rose-hued carpeting she chose for the new living room, even though she never got to walk on it.

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