Misty Water-Colored Memories

I am sitting on the floor in my daughter's room as she and my four-month-old son play beside me. I think, I should vacuum the rug, and I wonder what color I should paint her bed. I'm worried about painting the bed because it was my bed when I was her age (and my mother's before that) and I have left teeth marks in the headboard. I try to keep it covered with pillows, but I am afraid she will see it and think that chewing the headboard will be a good idea. I have survived eating it, but I feel certain that the paint is the lead variety that can cause brain damage and one always hears that it probably won't hurt you UNLESS YOU INGEST IT.

Also, while the bed has been painstakingly and beautifully antiqued, it is a funny olive color that doesn't really match anything. Or it doesn't seem to until I notice that the olive paint matches a stripe in the piece of fabric that is coming out from under the cushion on the rocking chair that was also in my room as a child. I can picture my mother in her first house, preparing for the birth of her first child (me), and it brings tears to my eyes. She painted that old bed to match the fabric that she sewed into cushions and even a quilt with girls wearing rain bonnets on it. And I can't stop crying because I suddenly see quite clearly how much she loved me and I almost can't bear it.

As I stare at the bed I see a piece of frayed white satin ribbon tied around the footboard that I haven't noticed before. I try to imagine how it came to be there.

Then I remember.

When I was young my sisters and I all had long hair. Every morning we would line up in front of my mother. "Pigtails or loops?" she would ask. Loops were pigtails tied at both ends. We never wanted loops. No one else wore loops, but no one who has ever seen my mother would say that she is afraid of a unique hair-style. Regardless of the style, we always wore ribbons. We kept our hundreds of ribbons in a drawer in our bedroom. I can't say what inspired us, but one day we conceived of a plan where we would tie all of the ribbons to each other, then attach the net we created to the beds, the dresser drawer pulls, and door knobs, then cover that with blankets to make a room-sized fort. It seemed like a good idea until we couldn't get the door open. We tried to take it down. We couldn't untie all of the knots we had made so after a few days we gave up and cut the ribbons off the furniture.

I am certain that this piece of ribbon has survived from that fort.

And it occurs to me that this thing, this very humble piece of furniture has brought me to tears and made me laugh out loud. I strive every day in this buy-it-now-it-will-make-you-feel-better society of ours not to be materialistic but I see this as the best our possessions can offer us: they are bookmarks or signposts for our memories.

So, I asked Kristal and Jeff Butler, owners of 135 Owsley Avenue what the best or most important memory from their house is. (Incidentally they have lived there for only one year. They work for Lexmark, were transferred here, and have now been transferred to Atlanta.) Kristal answered, "The front porch, yes, definitely the front porch. There is a swing out there. It's really, um, private. Jeff and I, um, [here she giggles quietly] sit out there all the time." I didn't ask her what she meant, but I'll bet if she sees a similar porch swing in 20 years it will remind her of being in love with her young husband and the year they spent in Lexington.

Stats: 135 Owsley Avenue


3 bedrooms

2 full baths

1536 square feet


Contact: Ann Hollingsworth 294-2469

If you have a unique or interesting house for sale contact Lissa Sims at lsims@aceweekly.com.