Sally Quinn's heartfelt essay about her foray into historic preservation reminds us of the value of place, history, and authenticity. Her East Hampton, New York home, Grey Gardens, is the setting of a recent HBO film about the life of its previous inhabitants...inspired by a now-cultish classic documentary from 1975.
"The first thing the contractor said was, "It would be a lot cheaper to tear it down and start all over than to restore it." Unthinkable. Besides, I had promised Little Edie. I had told her that she could either leave the house "broom clean" (ha!) or leave it exactly the way it was. I think the prospect of cleaning it up was too daunting for her, so she did what I had hoped and walked out leaving everything in it. I had no idea what I would find."
My dad gave me a clipping from the paper of the essay at breakfast yesterday, but I only just read it this morning. I know of a hundred similar stories here in Guilford County, including my own. Maybe I will write it up one day.
In the meantime, enjoy reading about Grey Gardens. If it doesn't remind you of your own old house experience, then I encourage you to go out and adopt a place. Today.