The Houston House

I have these grand mythical places in the mists of my beginning—probably quite mundane, in reality, small and fragile against the tides of time—and the Houston house is one of them, R.F. Isbell’s now historically-designated home on 639 Heights Boulevard. Mayor Isbell was my great-grandfather on my mother’s side. I’m glad someone saw fit to add it to the register, so there’s more of a likelihood that I might get to see it some day. Nobody in the family owns it, that I know of.

These places, in the telling, take on larger-than-life stature, places where my mother and her sister visited as children during hot summers, now only known through curled and fading black and white photographs of children in pale dresses, with smiling but still sober-looking ladies holding their hands on bungalow steps. Or a picture of my grandfather in his christening dress, from that era. (Yes, little boys in 1903 did wear christening dresses, all the children did.)  I open formal photographer’s pictures in sepia paper folders that smell pleasantly of paper mold, carefully preserving a diva, my great-grandmother, who sang for many, back in the early days of the twentieth century, almost a hundred years ago, whose trust fund is all that I have of her. I never even heard her voice once.

When I am done here, less than nothing of me will go into the future, like writing on water, like last winter’s crumbling leaf, the last passing sigh.

I’m glad this structure in the south still stands for a little while.

The Isbell house on Archiplanet

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