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The Grand Old Parlor

Updated on May 10, 2010

A Sense of Loss

From what I had heard, and no one had ever told me anything to the contrary, I could understand that the parlor’s prior owner had gotten weary of listening to the gusty winds, and that she had therefore chosen to relocate to a new house somewhere farther inland. Good for the owner, or at least that had been the general opinion among her customers and the townspeople. 

But if the poor soul harbored any kind of optimism about what would happen to the place afterwards, then there were yet some bitter lessons to be learned. In any event, there was no serious money to be made off the place, and no one seemed keen on assuming the risk. And with no one to take care of the upkeep, this dear old place was all but doomed to be forever lost to the town’s present inhabitants and future generations alike.

That was when the owner got the bright idea that instead of trying to sell the old parlor cheap for a lump sum and passing the tedious and expensive restoration work onto the next owner, she might as well build a new parlor there right away. So she dug deep into her modest savings, took out a second mortgage on her new house, and even obtained a grant from the local government. She supervised the work so well that it progressed fast and stood ready just five months later, which was well ahead of schedule. Then she arranged a big party, inviting the general public and the local journalist.

Despite adamant claims to the opposite effect, the new parlor had not gotten much of a chance of acceptance before being turned into little else but at trendy terrace. Obviously, no one had bothered to reflect upon it too much, and it would by now be safe to assume that few if anyone would ever again be given the opportunity to drink tea and eat cookies by that grand old parlor by the beach. Only nostalgia remained on guard at the beachhead, just where the bridge rested upon the sand. 

What happened to the owner, to her double-mortgaged house, and her dreams about a life safely inland remains something which I have not yet dared ask about. I dare only guess, and whatever the possible outcome it saddens me that she couldn’t just have left things exactly like they were before.


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