As spring nudges me with warm breezes and birdsong I feel the urge to clean my own nest. And when the cold of the New England winter abated, my ancestors set about refreshing the rooms of the farmhouse.
My great-grandmother Lydia opened doors, pushed up windows, brought furniture, rugs, and carpets out onto the sidewalks to air. With her broom she swept away the dust and shadows of a long winter. She aired out the quilts and bedding and washed all the curtains. My grandfather whitewashed the kitchen and called on the paperhanger to brighten the chambers. What a good feeling it must have been after months of smoky stove, fireplace, and furnace fires to let the sunshine and fresh air flow through the old house.
Wednesday, March 13, 1912 – “Cloudy and rainy. The meadows full of water. The water rushing down the gutter. Ellsworth and Pauline [hired girl] cleaned the kitchen attic. Looks fine. A good work done, which is very pleasing to me.” – Lydia Jane Hall
Wednesday, April 24, 1912 – “Pauline cleaning and righting the front chamber and Ellen’s room. I washed and ironed the front chamber curtains. The rooms look very nice.” – Lydia Jane Hall
Wednesday, May 1, 1912 – “A nice clear day from morning until night. Done lots of work. Pauline cleaned two rooms upstairs. Her room and Ellsworth’s, and the back hall. Looks fine.” – Lydia Jane Hall
It’s a time of transition, this spring-cleaning time. When I used to have shows of my paintings every year or two, I always cleaned my studio and organized my supplies after the show was hung and the opening over. Cleaning and organizing helped me get started again. It opened a space for whatever new images, projects, and ideas came along.
Next Monday, March 30, will be my last regular entry for “On Whirlwind Hill.” In my first post last year on April 7, I said I would write my stories for a year. The year has passed and I’m ready to let some new ideas visit me. I do have unfinished business on Whirlwind Hill. I haven’t read all the journals and letters yet, I haven’t climbed the Three Notches, and I still haven’t found out why this lovely neighborhood was named Whirlwind Hill. The blog will stay up indefinitely, and I may add a post from time to time. If you’re a subscriber, an email will let you know if I’ve added something. And comments will still reach me. I’ve loved connecting with all of you who have read and commented and shared stories.
On Monday: A View of the Farm