Sunday, June 17, 2018

This Year's Father's Day Rememberance

My Father as Saint ("Emergence and Conclusion to a Test")

I have often told my husband that my father was like "a pin that kept the bomb from going off." Or, as a domestic violence counselor once told me, "Sometimes the good people in our lives hold everyone else in check from being cruel, and then when they die, the bad people 'let everything loose' because they aren't competing, they aren't being held accountable, the bad they do is no longer going to be corrected, there isn't going to be any talk about "how wrong" it is, and everything that can fall apart, falls apart, and it is like a storm that reels around and around, taking everyone and everything in its path, even the next generation."

That would describe what I saw around me after my father died, a hurricane of the worst of humankind, more evil than I could ever fathom existed in my world at the time before his death.

The weird thing is, I had no predilection that anyone would be cruel, none. Well, one person, but that was it, and I thought it was temporary. In fact, I was often hugged, welcomed with open arms, my itinerary was kept track of, my heartache at the prospect of losing my father respected to the point where I was even comforted. Imagine that: being comforted because your father is dying. Then it all got turned off like a switch after he died, and the lightening of malevolence came out and lashed at me.

If I hadn't known that it was all done for their agenda of power, control and selfishness, I would have died right along with him. But for all the bad that surrounded me, I was also surrounded by some of the most enlightened and empathetic people I had ever met (aside from my father, that is).

One of those persons who went from nice to cruel in my life adopted the phrase "Be nice" as her most common and constant phrase (to many of the people in her life, often said with a little giggle), but apparently she never thought to "be nice" to me under the circumstances of my father's death.

On father's day in 2013 months after my father passed, I wrote, what I thought, was a heartwarming e-mail to a man who I knew, telling about my father and how hard it was to lose such a good man, but that I was trying to get outside the grief and wish him a happy father's day too. It was someone who also felt highly of his own father, and remarked so to me, thus the commonality of feeling we both had for our fathers. The response back was curt and cruel, something to the effect of he did not want to read my e-mail and went so far as to demonstrate where he stopped reading it with the word "snip" and erasing the rest of the sentiment. Now, what would possess a person who just lost their father, the light of their world, to act in such a manner? I never figured it out, and haven't given any thought about his boorish insensitive response except for today.

I am about to live the last of this "hurricane of evil" in a few weeks, and then I am free of all that got caught up in the hurricane: me, my soul, my health, my husband's health, our daughter's faith in others, the innocence we had and lost from the horror around us, my father's blood, sweat and tears fixed into the things he made in joy, the cheating, the jealousy, dishonor, lots and lots of deception, more threats than one usually hears in an entire lifetime, the desperate grabbing for power and control, which is what cruelty is about, without a thought to anyone's feelings or the repercussions of acting this way, some furniture, some art, a piano, everything and anything you can think of that can be taken up in a hurricane (and go wrong after one's father's death).

Although I was not aware of my fate as my father lay on his deathbed, he certainly was. "I was blind, but now I see" is a holy lyric, and he certainly made me see it in every way possible. His parting words to me days before he passed were: "I don't want you to be docile for anyone. They're going to put tremendous pressure on you to be that, to live for them and to take orders, but your spirit is too big for that. You are meant to do something for the world, not to be someone's docile 'yes' girl. Do you understand?"

"Yes, I understand more fully than I ever have before," I would tell him now, though I did plenty of "kicking and screaming" not to go down that path and be tested in that manner.

The freedom from these oppressive set of circumstances seems as inviting and warm as the July sun when it all ends and calls me to go forward, to close the door on the old, and open the door on the new. The brightness of promise! To say goodbye to cruelty and the oppression it brings. I wish my father had also been so lucky (and he was ... a little), but in taking on his karma and traumas, and also his likeness into my soul, I hope I helped live out the conclusion to all of the troubles he had. I hope that what remains left of his spirit will be valued from here on out, that the people who used power to do wrong will be corrected as he would have wanted them to be. I continued the trail for both of us, despite the tremendous setbacks, and the parched landscape that people with hate in their souls like to make of situations and the world, and I hope he would be happy with the conclusion of my part in this.

"I now go into the wild" -- Christopher McCandless

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

New Pictures of Robert's House

Lise Winne writing the post:

In a previous post, I wrote how Robert's house went from a run-down Victorian to a showcase house.

In this post I reveal the newest photos of how it looked when finished. Just about all of the ideas and certainly all of the work that went into the house was my father's work and his brainstorm. These are more views of the outside of the house and its surrounding gardens and lawns (more views of the inside of the house are as follows):

This is a chicken coop in the back which will be torn down:

Here is what some of the inside of the house looks like.

This is the front door and entry-way. My father liked open window-sills to put plants. He built that and the closet next to it, and purchased the Turkish rug from a Turkish merchant. 

Following is a picture of the livingroom. Because he was color-blind, he loved bold patterns and reds. The room is a very pastel kind of pink-purple (he painted the room). He also made the window in back of the couch. It has double paned windows (i.e. three layers of window panes if you count the storm windows. He built them in his shop):

Here is a view of the study, which he decorated and made in a similar fashion (the right window did not come with the original house, so this was his idea too):

Another view of the study:

Here is another view with the woodstove in it (the woodstove took up the middle of the room, not aesthetically ideal, but certainly made the house toasty and warm in the winter:

And yet another view of the study (what is not visible is another bump-out window my father made just beyond the black chair to the right):

Next up is the diningroom. Again, he made the window, the window seat, the bookshelves, the cabinetry, the little nooks for picture-hanging, configured all of the lighting and painted the room and ceilings. 

Another view of the diningroom (some of my hand-thrown pottery still in the shelves of the left hand book case):

Here is a little mini kitchen he put in the diningroom complete with mini fridge, counter-space, cabinets for mugs and small plates and a two burner stove (the room visible through the door is the study). There is also a bathroom he made sandwiched between the diningroom and study:

Here is part of the kitchen. There is a lot of recessed lighting in it as well as open shelving to mimic a pantry. Again, he designed the space, including the bank of windows. He thought a person who was washing dishes should always be able to look outside. The counter tops were hand made by him,  and are higher than most counter tops (built for taller people so they didn't have to bend over to cut vegetables). The cabinets were also made by him:

Another view:

Another view:

Another view:

This is an upstairs hallway, complete with his built-in bookcases and re-organized rooms. The room straight ahead is a bathroom he expanded and re-did. It is a large bathroom with a stand-alone tub, and a big shower stall. It also has bookshelves in it.

This is the main bedroom with another bump-out window:

This is a rather large room. What you can't see are the closets he built, but you can see the small closets under the roof-line. This room is usually airy and light during the day. The desk is an oak desk my father built (with matching nightstands). Another beautiful Turkish rug he purchased decorates the floor:

What is not visible is another bedroom, which is small, with only one window (darker) and was the one I stayed in the most (if I was there during a time my step-family wasn't there, otherwise I slept on the study floor). 

The next room up is the studio, but it is hard to see how big it is. It is quite large and was the place where my father did his drawings, had some work tables and painted the windows, doors and trim of the house. He put in the little drawer units on the side underneath the bank of windows (which he also put in and designed). The shelves in this room were always bursting at the seams with books of saved articles, tools, paint cans, jars of nails, drill bits, art supplies and other things. I'm not sure where it all went, but I inherited the work benches and the drawing table (which is now in my own studio being used every day -- ones he built himself). Also out of this room came 13 filled-to-the-brim bins of papers, most of it just catalogues, articles, clippings with his writing in them. I go through them from time to time, and always discover something about him and his interests. He had many, many interests from social issues to art to building projects. 

Many of the books he had were sold, particularly his architecture books. Those the Winne family will miss. 

Here is another view of the studio (note, the original studio did not have a green rug or a small table in it):

The following pictures are the garage and an upstairs loft area:

Isn't this little nook he made cute? It is where some of his grandchildren slept. It is also where I slept on more than one occasion, especially in the warmer months (and was much more comfortable than the study floor). It also felt like a retreat from the house.

The next scenes are in walking distance from the house, but they are not part of the property.

This is the parking lot at the recreation field (next door):

The beach area at Puffer's Pond (a half mile walk through woods):

The waterfall at Puffer's Pond (very close to the beach area):

For me it is the end of an era. It is saying goodbye to my father in a more complete sense. I suppose we are both alike in that way. I make art and most of it other people get to enjoy. He made a couple of beautiful houses, some cabins and other buildings, and mostly other people get to enjoy them (because he was always toiling with the projects themselves). It is what happens when you are a maker. 

The people who didn't appreciate him and used him are also not going to be able to live on the back of his labor any more, his good-heartedness and all of his blood, sweat and tears on their behalf. In a way, that is a relief. That is the good in all of this, like an unburdening.

I also know there are some big changes ahead for me, and I believe this is the first of the big changes. 

In the meantime, a toast to my father and all of his excellent vision and hard work to make the world a more beautiful place!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Pat and Robert's house

My father liked Victorian houses. I think they reminded him of his childhood of growing up in a neighborhood in Brockport, NY, a neighborhood and way of life he tried to recreate in his later years.

Victorian houses are roomy and built to last and at one time they were fairly inexpensive to own, especially if they needed work and tender loving care. My father fixed two Victorians and one 1940s house over his lifetime. He also had impeccable taste when it came to interior decorating.

This is how the house looked when they originally purchased it (it needed a lot of work, my father's architectural and carpentry skills, but it ended up to be quite the show-stopper in the end! -- see the results towards the end of post).


this is how it looked after they moved in, but before my father rehabilitated it:

old kitchen:

old kitchen machines:

big bedroom:

little bedroom:

old study:

another angle:

upstairs bathroom:

another angle:

the basement:

my father on a ladder fixing up the house:

the studio where my father first set up his workshop (it later became the place where he did his architectural drawings and where he painted all of the windows and doors in the house):

the bank of windows in the studio
(note for the slots under the windows, he put in little drawers):

This is what those banks of windows looked like from the outside
(with view of the back porch):

this is what the diningroom eventually looked like
(with window seat, colors, plants, new double paned windows and the wainscoting taken out):

another view of window seat in the diningroom:

here is what the newly constructed diningroom bump-out looked like:

how the livingroom came out:

house with newly constructed bump-outs (the nearest is the livingroom one):

here is how the front porch looked:

the house in autumn:

There will be some updated photos of this house soon as the house is going on the market. I'll add them when I can. 

It is amazing how a tattered house can become a masterpiece. Hope you enjoyed!