Friday, July 17, 2009

Grand Spanish Style

I first published the post below on August 30, 2008 after my girlfriends from the "Clematis Club" initially began in the aide of helping my GF Diva clean up, clean, out, and organize her mother's home (also Diva's childhood home) in the preparation of selling it and it's contents.
In my many post on the home, I told of the estate sale that would eventually take place in Meridian Mississippi.
Many asked if I would post the dates when the time came.
Well, "The time has come".
The Estate sale will take place on August 7th and 8th.
The home will also be up for sale.
As you will see in my initial post below, it comes with much history.

I wanted to mention the sale in plenty of time so that, if you are like me, it can be put on the calendar early enough so that you can plan to attend. You will not be disappointed. The home was full of antiques and vintage items, including furniture, toys, apparel and miscellaneous items. Also in the sale are some artifacts from the careers of Diva's parents. (More on that in a future post). There is much to be of interest to almost anyone.

I will delay in posting the exact address of the estate sale until the week prior to the sale, for privacy and security reasons.
But know that is will take place in Meridian, Mississippi on August 7th and 8th, 2009.
Be sure to join me next week to celebrate my second anniversary of blogging. There will be giveaways and more fun!
In the meantime, below is the post of my friend Diva's childhood home.
See you there!


I mention earlier in the week that my friend, "Diva" lost her mother recently after a lengthy illness. Diva has been in Mississippi since the first of the week , trying to begin the process of wrapping up loose ends with the estate. I image it will take months and it is a process that will involve Diva single handily going through over 40 years worth of accumulated possessions. As anyone can image, and may know, it is a process that is both mentally, emotionally and physically draining. I have said it once and I will say it again, my group of girlfriends are tight. We have seen one another through births, marriages, divorces and deaths. Rather than friendships, it is more of a sisterhood. One friend, Audrey, had this witty statement, "Family is not a choice, but friendships are. Friends are what God gives you when the family tree is full of nuts".....or something to that effect. True enough. And even truer, we think of each other as a nutty family but one that is dependable and unconditional. As soon as High "May" and I realized the daunting task ahead of Diva is was without question that we would go to Mississippi, not knowing what we would be able to do, other than being a support. It turns out Diva put us to work! (smile) And we were all the more happy to assist.



May and I had never been to my friend Diva's childhood home, before Saturday. We were warned by Diva of what was waiting. In the historic neighborhood of well cared for homes, sat a diamond in the rough....Diva's childhood home, an almost 200 year old Spanish style fortress.








(view from the street of the front of the home)





May and I were aghast at the size. The house and property in which it sat took up an entire city block. The yard and shrubs were overgrown, only making the home more mysterious and alluring. We drove onto the cobblestone driveway, Diva met us at the top of the drive. As we got out of the car, my first question was to ask about the house to the side of the original home. I assumed it as a carriage house, or guest house. "It was referred to the servant's quarters long ago, today is houses stuff", explained Diva. As a history buff my mind began to take me to places of long ago. Places that I never knew. Places I would never want to know. Places that makes me grimace and sad but at the same time leaves me full of curiosity to know more.
(Servants quarters)

















"Come on in, let me give you the tour of the house....see what is ahead of us..." Diva said as she made her way towards the home. We followed behind her towards the enormous wrap around porch, on my left I noticed a fish pod with a lone koi gasping for breath, or perhaps a handout. Mental note: fish food. It was what soon would become a metaphor for the home....gasping for air. Gasping for the existence it once was. We proceeded into the house. It was then that the enormity of the task ahead of us began to set in. The house was purchased by Diva's mother forty years ago or better. Diva's mother grew up in hardship. She would drive her bicycle past the "rich side" of the cities historic home as a young girl and promised herself that she would one day live there in one of those grand homes.















After marring and working hard as a highly regarded journalist, she finally made good on that promise to herself. True, even then, the home was probably more than she could keep up and in the coming years would become even harder, but it was her dream. She purchased the home in those days it was sold to her as a former apartment building. The house had been divided up into random rooms of apartments with common areas of a kitchen, parlor, and dining room. The house once contained a ballroom, for socialites back in the days of long ago...even over a century ago. Now the ballroom is now divided by a series of sheet rock and doors into four separate rooms, each containing years of antiques and such in each. Looking up at the 14 foot ceilings, the ballroom was evident in the grand exposed beams that once saw grand dances and impromptu but elaborate celebrations. Literally, I wondered, "If walls could talk"...oh, the stories these could reveal. But these kept it's secrets intact....well, almost of them.














Every room downstairs had french doors that opened up onto the expansive porch.














The entire exterior of the house, upstairs and down had elaborate stained glass windows. Next trip, I plan to count....I couldn't even begin to guess the number of them, for there were so many.
(stained glass)

















The inside walls had transom windows and even some of the interior rooms had the stained glass. (interior stained glass in the doubled flight stairway. The three windows on the right over look the stairs on one side and on the other side of the wall the oversized ceramic foot tub in the bathroom)















The house was unique in that the outside of the home is Spanish style and the interior is arts and crafts period style. As mentioned before, enormous wooden beams in the ceilings, wooden floors throughout.....To imagine the home in it's grandeur of long ago left me in awe.
(stair banister in craft style with inlay cross)


















Though today.....it is in need of some TLC.















Without counting, I imagine the house to have had 7 or 8 bedrooms upstairs with even a hidden sun room and a maze of hallways.















Downstairs at least the same number of rooms. There was much work to be done. And work we did. We left Birmingham at 5AM and arrived at 7AM in Meridian ready to work. We started by organizing stacks of things, going through boxes, baskets, and books, then duly filling them by category and labeling. We moved furniture and moved an entire city block worth of trash and debris to the curb. It was a long exhausting day......but one that was worth it to be more manageable to my friend-knowing that for her it was less tiring.



















We only made a small dent in the work. But we have promised to see it to the end, helping week by week if necessary so that Diva can get the belongings of the past tended to so that she can look to the future. After a lengthy illness being a caregiver to an aging parent, the finality of death is both a sad experience and one of relief. For her mother is finally at peace. Renewed. At home.......in that big ballroom in the sky-now in her own grandiose of what she once was.
As we loaded up the cars with a few salvaged items, I reached into my pocket......in the midst of disorder inside I had found a bottle of fishfood. I threw out a big handful of food to the gulping koi. It ate it up like it hadn't wasn't certain of tomorrow. Just like the old house, though now, just like that koi- I have faith in a future. All it takes is a little love and attention. I know one day that home will be nursed back to life and one day will hold more wonderful parties and see other families pass through it's halls.

(I plan to find out the history of the home in a future visit. Old homes and building architecture of such has always enamored me. The old B&W pictures above are indeed those of Diva's childhood home and were found in among the effects today. Those photos came from an old book on historical homes and her home was one of the homes featured-or course the pictures were taken long before Diva lived in the home... I plan to study more and hopefully find more about it's past owners.)

15 comments:

Susan in the Psych Ward said...

What a gorgeous house and what a beautiful friend you are...

Charnita's Xpressions said...

AMAZING SHOTS, Leigh. Some of your best, in my opinion.

Lindsey said...

Beautiful pics. Simply gorgeous. You know I have a love for old homes:)

Lindsey said...

Beautiful pics. Simply gorgeous. You know I have a love for old homes:)

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

I had to come take a peak... If those walls could talk!

Indeed~ what a good friend you are.

Glitter and Bliss said...

Wonderful pics... I love old homes anyway, but these with a spanish twist are so interesting. We don't have this style in Oklahoma. Love it!!!

Lianne said...

Oooh! I love it! I could spend hours poring over every detail in houses like that. Thanks for sharing!

marty39 said...

What an unbelievable house. You and your friends do truly have a wonderful sisterhood and so important in times of need. I know your friend appreciates all the help. Also, I would like to let you know I've scheduled another "Cloche Party" for the 11 th of Sept. Most voted for a seasonal party and so I thought that would be a good time for a fall party. Grab the button on my sidebar to remind yourself and to tell your friends. See you there. Hugs, Marty

Donna@designson47thstreet said...

Did I ever enjoy seeing pictures of this very unique and wonderful old home. LOVE IT! I would love to walk through it in person.

Chandy said...

Wow, that's is one huge home, Leigh! I hope you find lots of great items and those that will attend. Beautiful home...

jennifer said...

Oh wow Leigh. I love these pictures!

Glenda/MidSouth said...

What great friends you are to help at a time like this. Yes indeed - if walls could talk.
Glenda

Jen R. said...

Love that old house! those pictures are wonderful!

Shelley said...

Leigh, quick question. At one part of the entry you give the dates of August 7th and 8th and then further down you say the 6th and 7th. Which day does it start? I'm REALLY hoping it's the 6th because I'll be in the area until that afternoon but then I'm leaving for a birthday beach trip. So if it doesn't start until Friday I'll miss it :(

Leigh of Bloggeritaville said...

HI Shelley!
Thanks for the extra set of eyes. The sale will take place on August 7th and 8th (Friday and Saturday). I fixed it in the post too. I hate you might miss it, but hope you enjoy your beach trip. There will be lots of goodies at the sale.