F. Scott Fitzgerald said,

"There are no second acts in American lives."

Most people think he was crazy.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

My Own Private Idaho. Not Really. I've Never Been to Idaho. So I Guess This is My Own Private Carolina.

I have been in my current home for several years, bringing it back to life as it were, from some silly and inappropriate updates. (This can also be called "a serious affinity for green carpeting and ugly wallpaper.")

One of the most compelling things about this house (besides the inherent character of the Dutch doors, wide plank flooring, and various nooks and crannies), is that it was built by two artists.

The artists who built my house were Joe Wallace King (who painted mostly portraits under the name Vinciata) and Earline Heath King, who became a highly-acclaimed sculptor. This couple had been high school sweethearts, both interested in art and music, living and learning in Europe, DC and New York...then moving back to the neighborhood where they met, and built the house I now own. There's a marble fireplace, crystal chandeliers, a slate roof, a garden house, and a walled garden...magazine-worthy potential. But the most important thing to me? The fact that the original owner, Earline Heath King, didn't start her career until she was fifty.

For the past few years, fifty has been like a benchmark for me. "When I'm fifty" has been a mantra...and a way to procrastinate. But learning that the remarkable artist who designed this house didn't begin her career until she was fifty seemed to be an omen. I could procrastinate no longer; I needed to become the person I always believed I could be.
In part, that meant a "trip backward." I was interested in getting back to my roots, so to speak, and revisit the person I was before I had to give myself up in order to take care of other folks. (I don't regret this--it was my job to raise those little people.) Some of these roots came in the form of English Ivy that I spent months yanking out, uncovering hydrangea in the process.

And that, my friends, is what I like to call a "sweet-a$$ metaphor."

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