The Walls Could Talk
Jean could not believe what she had just read in the letter that she now held in her hand. She re-read it several times and even checked the envelope to make sure it was really addressed to her---Ms, Jean Taylor. The penmanship had a artistic flair to it and more striking, it was written with a light purple ink. Yet, it seemed that some of the sentence would appear darker than the other as if this person was dipping a pen or a small brush into a paint pallet.
It seemed that her Aunt Jean whom she had never met or had any contact with had left her some property in a small place in Maine. The only thing that she knew about her mothers sister was they had some kind of falling out many years ago and her mother refused to talk about it. She did find a picture of her mother and her sister standing by a flowerbed. Her sister was younger and very beautiful. It had been two years ago that her mother had died after a long illness.
Well, school would be out in just two more weeks and she would be retiring from teaching art. She would miss many of her students who have come and gone but it was---time to maybe do some traveling and she had never been to Maine. Yes, she would make this her first stop and check out this property that was stated in the letter. The letter did not describe any details of this property. There was a card with a mans name on it and a phone number.
She had sold all of her apartment furniture and stuffed more than she should have in the RV that she planned on touring all the places that she had longed to see in person. This way she figured she could stay as long as she wanted in each place and finally paint pictures that she wanted to that were not just the---how to type that she had been held to in teaching. Now she could actually paint what was right in front of her eyes and she was eager to be on her way.
After stopping and asking directions several times she finally arrived near what she believed to be the general area of this property. She called the number on the card and a man answered the phone just when she was ready to hangup.
"Yea what can I do for ye?"
She told him who she was and asked him how to locate this property that she wanted to see before she moved on. He gave her the exact directions of go out of Machias and when you have gone 7 ¾ miles turn left and go down there and you will see it on the left, I'll be watching for ye, then she heard the phone click off. Sitting there and staring down at the cell phone she started laughing.
See what? What was she supposed to see a over grown lot with a sign that read "here it is." Oh well, she had come this far so she checked the mileage gage and went the 7 ¾ miles and right at the curve in the road on the left she almost lost control of the RV. She slammed on the brakes and sat there in awe of what lay before her. A man appeared from around the back and was waving to her.
It was the most beautiful old Victorian style house she had ever seen up close. There had not been any of this type in Albuquerque. The man kept waving for her to come on in and was pointing to where she should park the RV.
He quickly introduced himself as just Sam and reached in his pocket and fished out a set of keys and handed them to her before she could even utter a thank you he was saying he had to get on home and pointed down the road. She still could only stand there and look up at this magnificent old building as she seen this man Sam wave as he drove by her in an old beat-up truck from around the back of the house.
Finally she got her feet to move to the front door and unlocked the big double doors. There stood another set of doors with beautiful stain glass panels. The floors in each room were hardwood and stained with only a color of time. The furniture was Victorian style through out and even the kitchen had an old fashion hand pump at the sink, which she was compeled to give the handle a couple of pumps and the fresh water splashed out quickly. She couldn't help herself as she giggled over the sight of the stove---a wood cooking stove, will that did fit into the decor. The whole house was like walking back into a different time era.
It was not the furnishing that she found herself fingering as she walked from room to room. She had never seen so many paintings in one area as this house held. Art gallery's did not hold this amount of paintings. She quickly studied each one as she walked from one room to the next. Some were signed and some were not. Most were floral. Some were oil and some were acrylic. It was apparent that her Aunt Jean had been an artist and she had signed her name to many of the paintings. The ones that were not signed had a totally different style. The colors were more subdued and the brush strokes were light and feathery.
Well, now this did put a crimp on her travel plans. It was apparent that she would have to stick around here and decide how and when to put this house and its property on the market. She had found the deed to the house tucked nicely in a drawer with several other documents that she planned on reading later. One in particular was a diary with her Aunts name embedded in the soft red leather cover.
Sam came by two days later and offered to take her to the closest store where she could buy groceries. Yes, it didn't look like she was going to be able to leave soon until she sorted this all out and there was no sense in driving the big RV to by some food so she stocked up. It was on this ride with Sam that she learned that he doubted that she would be able to sell the property quickly. He pointed out along the way many homes and land that had been up for sale for a long period of time. Yes, a big house like hers would be difficult on today's market. Most people came here to retire and down-size from what they had left and that big museum as Sam so adeptly phrased it, would likely sit there for a long---long time.
It had been more than a month now and she could not take her eyes away from some of those paintings, especially the ones that were so different and not signed. She had started painting again for the scenery was right there all around her on what was now her property. It felt good to be so free with her art, was it this place? It was almost like she had been away for a long time and just came---home. Or was it the fact that she was surrounded by the things she loved the most---art? Maybe she had taken her long journey and this was the final stop?
It was one of those restless nights when sleep would not come, that she remembered that she had never read that diary that was tucked back in the roll top desk.
The sun was peaking through the kitchen window when she finally closed the diary. Now she finally knew the answer to why her mother and her Aunt had fallen out those many years ago. I seems that both her mother and Aunt Jean were very talented artist but their parents could only afford to send one of them to study in Paris---they chose Jean.
Her mother resented this and never picked up a brush again. She ran off with a Man that her parents forbid her to see and married him---her father. Her mother never returned or forgave them.
It was the last page in the diary that noted that all the paintings that hung in the house and were not signed were painted by her mother. It seems that after she left, her grandmother sent all the paintings to Aunt Jean.
As she sat there and looked around at all the paintings she knew that she had already taken a magnificent journey through three lives and they were speaking to her on these---walls.
♥ Art is the only thing that can go on mattering once it has stopped hurting---Elizabeth Bowen