This story is really about my own little vida local. I used to live down the street at the Belle Dame of the Belles Dames in the neighborhood. It was the first of the big houses ever built in Lewisburg. It’s been yellow and called the Tuscan Villa since forever, I believe.
When I lived there it was hacked up into apartments. They’d done better and worse jobs on making the apartments sensible. But whatever they’d done to the house, they couldn’t disguise her majesty. Ceilings are twelve feet and her windows are ten. The living rooms were spacious and the floors were lovely despite neglect. The fireplaces didn’t work, but the mantles were beautiful.
The men who owned the the house were using it as a cash cow and putting nothing into it. There are all sorts of stories, who knows which are true… but that we all moved out because there was no heat, this is undisputed. (And did you know, btw, that heat does NOT need to be provided?). That my toilet sat on an unsecured pipe… also truth. But the house? Somehow, even in its grandeur, it was really cozy.
But out we moved. I moved just down the street, and have been here happily ever since — even though the ceilings are only ten feet! But there she sat, deteriorating. The gossip said that pipes burst, walls exploded and mold flourished.
But someone bought it any way. Two someones. A couple. He was a contractor. Retired. And so they started to work. For the longest time they lived somewhere else. He took her down to her roots. All the wiring had to be redone. All the pipes. Heating system. Resectioning after the apartments. Lots of repair. It took months. They finally locked the doors because nosy neighbors kept poking their noses in. As the seasons changed, the work moved outside, inside, out again and then back in. She’s a painter. They made a painted faux ceiling in the entry way and put in an Italian chandelier that makes the house look as you know she once must have — and provides a throwdown to any Italianate villa anywhere!
Yesterday I was invited to a holiday party. The big hall doors were thrown open and the house was lavishly decorated for the holidays. Huge trees and beautiful decorations. The wife’s gorgeous paintings all over the walls. (Gave me the Christmas fix I needed, I’ll tell you. and ummmmmm. That painter can cook! and bake!) But the house is so happy and filled with Peace. She looks grand; she looks lived in; she looks loved! What a gift her owners gave her and the neighborhood.
And I find Peace in the most wonderful and unlikely places. But hey! we’ll take anything that works toward Peace on Earth! (and pssst! Happy Lucia… )