Welcome to My Red Cape. Long ago in another time my husband Jack and I lived in a little old red house. It was the stuff of dreams to us for the few years that we were there. I live there still a number of hours every day in imagination, with old dolls and paintings and fabrics and feather trees. I draw inspiration and happiness from the memories of that space in time and share some of it here with friends who remember how to step with Alice through the looking glass and take delight in whimsies and antiquities. ~Edyth O’Neill

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

looking back at where we were years ago, and on into that new year.

 Fall 2005 Remembered 

After fire took our beloved red cape these were two of my posts to readers here. I will be 92 in January and my sweetheart Jackie has been gone ten years today. Life changes for us all, but I am fortunate to have a different but good living situation at present and much to look forward to still in 23. 

 2005   Starting over in a new house. After several months of searching for a house that felt warm and cozy and welcoming to us, we compromised mightily and purchased a new one in a pretty subdivision of Fredericksburg. After living with 240 year old New England pine floors and wide chestnut beams overhead in the farmhouse, white tile and white carpet along with arches and coffered ceilings seemed hard to accept. At the same time we knew we were lucky to have a good safe house, again comparing ourselves to the people who lost all in Katrina. Our situation is lovely compared to theirs.

Jack and our daughter Beth and son in law Gary worked six weeks to simplify the new house, sheet rocking to level the arches. taking out extreme green countertops in favor of slate gray, removing Italian grape wallpaper, and replacing ceiling fans in the major rooms with candle style chandeliers from Moses Willard. A flying saucer or something like one covered two large florescent fixtures in the kitchen. It was removed and neat can lighting went in. Gary put dimmers on most of the lighting, including the over counter lights in the kitchen, saying "Mom now you have candle light". Changing nearly all of the light fixtures made an unimaginable difference through out.

We moved no walls, nor made any major changes which might compromise the integrity of the house. Rather we are warming the interior with our collection of earth colored stoneware and red ware, the pewter and delft and newly upholstered furniture, crewel over some of the windows, and the beginnings of a library of books again. It is a comfortable house, with large spaces and ample seating for people and activities. There are guitars and a banjo standing in a corner, and big speakers to sound our favorite records.

Here is a note to my brother during those weeks: Never become involved with wall paper if it can be at all avoided! We are doing the small bathroom this weekend and just suffering death in there. Beth and Gary will return for another shift of it soon and we should be done by tonight. Gary does the plumbing and unplumbing and Jack and Beth hang and cry and I cut paper and match and measure and ring my hands when it all goes wrong and won't stick to the wall which is the worst of it. Someday we will laugh about all this, just not yet!!! Have a great day. Love, Sis

The first thing our friend Helen said when she saw our new house was "Of course you will replace the front door!!!" It was leaded glass and very fancy and we replaced it with a paneled door painted the green of the house trim color.

Jack has made a space for his woodworking tools and is beginning to do woodwork again. I have set up an easel by a north window so I can start back to painting, and have a space for sewing and for rug wool. The early furniture is shocked by its new surroundings, but the crewel swags help over the windows. The new house is surprised at us too, it never expected hooked rugs and baskets of wool and a large spinning wheel, but now has them.

Greatly missed are the twenty oriental rugs lost. We are thrilled to have a large one now for the living room and three small ones to scatter about and cover some of the white floor.

December 2005 Our Christmas Letter

Dear Friends, Now that this year is ending, I look back on many changes for Jack and myself. Among the most heart warming of this year’s events was the tremendous response from friends and family after fire struck our home. Your loving support made the difference. Jack says he does not know how we would have made it through the worst days without the people who came to help us. Thank you also, who wrote to us after the fire with your messages of comfort. At two times this year we suffered serious computer glitches and lost all email and addresses and each time some of your warm letters went into space and were never answered. Many of the letters in snail mail were read and enjoyed but some also went without the full response I would like to have given them. Please forgive me when the correspondence is more that I can manage, I love to get them and do read over each several times. Email is always the easiest for me. The new address is joneill816@austin.rr.com
Life has many storms, and Jack and I have endured our personal one this year. We think of the thousands of hurricane victims and their suffering and continuing displacement, and give thanks that we were not taken out of our very community. Now that we have moved into a clean new house in town, we are unpacking and sorting papers and books and trying to put our lives in order again. The heartbreak of loosing our old house is still fresh but we will hold dear the memory of those years in the little red cape for all of our lives. We are grateful to have a house again, and plan to fill it with grandchildren and friends and music and books and paintings and pumpkin pies and happy memories so that soon the new one will be home to us. This week there is a Christmas wreath on the front door and sleigh bells on the inside so that they sound each time the door is opened. Let us all open the door of our hearts to the ringing of bells and the possibility of joy in the new year.

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