Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Initial Responses

Unlike a house, the better one makes bread, the less it endures.

(Why DO people invent their own epigraphs?)

On a pink house in Payson, Utah was a white scroll-letter "R" cut out of wood. The house was pink because Grandma Richardson loved pink, and Grandpa must have loved her to let the outside of the house, the garage, and the workshop--not just her kitchen walls--be pink. Grandpa put his mark on the pink with "R" for "Richardson," and so there was the simple heraldry: "scroll-letter R on a field of pink"; Orion's identity and Beatrice's pure pleasure.

In a rock house in Centerville, Utah are rock-written initials: "H D" for Hyrum Drake, the first owner of the house. Mom called him "Uncle Hyrum," and he had a wife, Aunt Alice, for whom Grandma Worsley, my mother's mother, cared. The story, if I understand right: Grandma cared for Aunt Alice and in return received the house. This is not a house of squared-up rocks except at the foundation. Above a certain line, the rocks are set in cement like a smooth, knobby mosaic. The rock is not building material alone, but artistic medium. This was Hyrum's house, his initials hidden and not hidden among so many other rocks.

On a granite grey house in Madison, South Dakota, there are no initials--my modest husband would consider it tattooing his house to put a letter "M" on it. Inside the grey house this morning I made Cuban bread, slashing, as I ever do, the top of each loaf with an "M" for "Meyer." Like my forbearers, I continue alphabetic identity in a house of bread.


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