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“...and afterwards they shape us.”

A Note from the Editor:

I’m spending too much time in the editor’s garret. That’s got to be why I find myself thinking about Roy Lichtenstein and Winston Churchill—and all because a Spanish Colonial thread runs through the [Summer 2012] issue.

(See the book review, Santa Barbara travel, the fantastically tiled bathroom, and an apartment at the Castle Green.) California dreaming has distracted me as I sit here in April, windows shut tight against the gray, blustery end of a New England winter. I like the cold, and all the rest—the silvery shingles, the stiff upper lips! Yet here I am in a private reverie, pierced suddenly with the thought of an alternate reality lived amidst tiled fountains and palm trees, Andalusian frescoes and vaulted ceilings.

“I can’t believe I forgot to live in California” pops into my head, as absurd and true as Lichtenstein’s pop-art cartoon of the distraught woman who forgot to have children. Who might I have been?

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I have no doubt that the house I chose helped make me who I am. You’ve heard, no doubt, Winston Churchill’s famous line, “We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us.” He was talking, in 1943, about rebuilding the House of Commons, but the sentiment is oft-quoted because we all suspect it’s true. I see similarities between me and my vaguely Elizabethan Shingle house—which is imposing yet informal, which hunkers down yet bravely sprouts porches that fill with drifted snow more often than they welcome lemonade-sipping layabouts.

Would I be healthier if I breakfasted in a sunny courtyard? Thinner if I had a pool? Were I surrounded by Spanish tile in blazing colors, would I laugh every day? Would I be more relaxed around stucco than I am surrounded by imminent wood rot?

I don’t know. But I do enjoy escaping to other houses and other lives.

Patricia Poore,Editor
10 Harbor Rd., Gloucester, MA 01930

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