Posted by: morrowsl | February 3, 2020

A Dream, Revisited

I offered to floor plan the rooms of our oldest daughter’s new apartment recently. They aren’t moving for awhile and they’re gaining a good bit of space, so it will help her better plan what needs to go where ahead of time. It will also save on having to place and replace heavy stuff, thus saving on the cost of the move.

I sort of floor planned the rooms of the Remote house ahead of our move, but we have so little wall space here it was a given that certain pieces were going in certain places. Even with that, it’s been years since I really sat down to a sheet of vellum and a sharp lead.

I realized pretty quickly that it’d been longer than I’d thought.

I can no longer actually see the measurements on my scale ruler. I can see the numbers for each quarter-inch mark, but forget any attempts to find individual inches!

No worries. It’s an apartment, not a museum. I would just round up and she’d have plenty of space.

I remembered as soon as I started pulling out my tools that two things were missing from my bag, the result of no longer working in the environment where such things were everyday items. I no longer have the card stock quarter-inch graph boards I used to tape the vellum to. Each board was rigid and provided a solid and smooth surface for laying out lines. They were the same size as a sheet of vellum, so getting things perfectly straight was a snap. Nor do I own a sheet of the exceptionally fine vellum used in the studio. It was so incredibly thin you could probably have put on make-up with a sheet of it between your face and your mirror. Not that I ever wore much make-up. But still.

I found a thin piece of cardboard and taped a sheet of quarter-inch grid paper to that. I had several packages of vellum. Apparently I’d spent a bit of time trying to find any thin enough to suit me once I no longer had access to the weight I’d been taught to use. Within the stack of packages, I found an unexpected surprise.

A thirty-seven year old dream, in two parts. What is amazing is how very close to the dream my reality landed.

For years I bought Country Living and Country Home magazines and spent countless hours pursuing their pages, dreaming of owning a home far away from the city. Our farm provided the perfect location, but the economy kept us from making it a reality.
Still, I’d sit for hours combing the photos on each page, looking at the details and dreaming of someday having a quiet little house surrounded by woods and fields.

One issue in particular claimed my heart. Instead of recycling it, I stuck it in a closet. At some point, it found its way into the stack of vellum packages.
The house in the article was a typical farmhouse with a small front porch, a second floor, wood floors and high windows. But it was the two “guest” cottages that drew me in. I could well imagine one sitting just to the side of the pond on the farm and one farther down, near the woods.


Country Home Sept 1983 $2.50

I loved the kitchen with its gas cook stove, butcher block island, and casement window.


The cottages and outhouse


Grandpa’s cottage



The wood stove would keep this space warm.


Small and inviting.

When we lost my father-in-law to a stroke, it began to look as though the dream might actually come true. I remember gutting each closet of our home of almost four decades, packing all the non-essentials and renting a storage unit for the boxes.
Within an amazingly short time, my sweetheart mother-in-law went into a full-care facility. Alzheimer’s claimed her mind and, eventually, her body as well.
At the same time, we started getting grandkids and the idea of moving multiple states away from them was heartbreaking to imagine.

We toyed with the idea of updating the house at the farm and living there part-time. Summers in the north, winters in the south. It was something Mike had always wanted.
In my stack of surprises I found the floor plans I had started, the idea of a summer home taking shape. I wanted to rework the mudroom and kitchen to find space for a pantry. The long rectangle of the den would become more of a reading room with shelves for books and Ginny’s desk under the window.

At some point, I even reworked the entire house to expand the spaces to accommodate family visits. It had been a perfect space for two, but would never hold our growing family if everyone was there at the same time.
In the end, we sold the farm and said goodbye to the dreams. Thankfully, by the time that happened, we’d found Remote and were starting to make new memories and have new dreams here. And, while I’m sure me in 1983 would never have been reconciled to that idea, me in 2016 saw it for the gift it was and accepted that some dreams are just dreams.

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