Good day all.
When I was visiting family and friends for Easter I met a new person. To explain exactly how we ended up in the same house at the same time is rather complicated, so let’s just say she was my best friend’s’ brother’s friend’s uncle’s cousin… got it? Good. Anyway, exactly how she came into my life for this passing moment isn’t important, but what she said WAS because it made me re-evaluate my dedication to Preservation, although at the time I didn’t know it.
We started of with the usual, “Hello, I’m __ ,and then moved on to, Where are you from?” That is when we found out we both live in the same state. After a little small talk about places we had in common in said eastern state, we then moved on to, “What do you do”? Well, for a Preservationist this can be the 100,000 dollar question, a chance to get people on-board the train (yes I know there is a difference between a train and a trolley… It’s my blog I can make bad link segues if I want!) to tell them why they should love old houses as much as you do! To gush on and on about historic molding and architectural details that didn’t come from a Home Cheap-o. Oh sweet Christopher Wren!
So I get ready to preach! Cue the Hallelujah Chorus, and heavenly light….I start slow with my title and a general list of my duties, testing the waters… her eyes didn’t glaze over, she may be receptive. Excellent, continue! Move on a little to how old buildings are green (it’s an “in” topic so surely she’ll want to hear more about this!) and how satisfying it can be to live in a house that has supported generations before you and, if loved, will continue to for generations after because it was built with good quality materials that were meant to last, not fall apart in 10 years! So, she listens and nods and makes comments about how interesting my field is… and how knowledgeable I sound. Yes, excellent another convert! Then suddenly the mood in the room changes… her children seek her out for food and hugs and suddenly the magic is broken… after her children leave her side she turns back to me and shakes off the magic of our encounter and looks at me and says…..
Neat, but Old House are creepy… I’m not really into them!
At the time I just kind of brushed it off, but now “the incident” has slowly been eating away at me (ya know like how I was a bad Preservationist and didn’t push my cause) and now suddenly I’ve burst like Mentos in Diet Coke . And so now you’ve heard the story of how I was unable to sway a suburban soccer mom. At first I was ashamed. I felt like I should have fought tooth and nail for my righteous cause but after further discussion with my husband (who has decided he needs a name on this blog so will here-after be known as Asher Benjamin, or Ash for short) I have come to the decision that it’s not ME that needs to change it’s this Levittown fueled “American-dream” (Yes we are ignoring the fact that Levittown is probably NR eligible now) that now you too can go “Somewhere That’s Green” and that your little cookie-cutter house can look just like your neighbors (“now, when your coming make sure you remember it’s the 26th house on the right”). I’m not wrong for wanting an Inglenook and rope molding it’s this world of planned obsolescence and if I can plant a tiny seed of that love in every suburban soccer mom I talk to maybe, just maybe that seed will take root in one or two of them and my enthusiasm will grow into a mighty oak and add another accidental Preservationist or two to the world.
So do any of you out there ever feel over-whelmed by our daunting task of saving the world one window at a time? If so I’d like to hear from you!