Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Peeling back the layers

I like to peel things: I used to cover my palm in Elmer's glue, wait for it to dry, then peel it off. I love contact paper, and that protective plastic on electronic equipment.

So, when I saw a tiny flake on an obscure bit of wall in a bedroom, I couldn't resist. I start to peel it back -- the paint came off, and under it, some wallpaper. Peel away I did, and found myself baring an early form of drywall. Peel on a corner, and another wall is exposed.

I spent days just peeling away, revealing layers of paint, green, red and, maybe, a blue.

Scribbled on one of those bare wells, the name Jenny. Written large with a flourish, as if a young girl were declaring herself to the world.


The name belongs to the daughter of the original owners, the O'Cains. Mrs. O'Cain now lives next door, and she's 95. Her daughter Jenny comes by every day to check on her mom, who broke her hip last year and can't walk around without a bit of help.

Jenny and her mother call my place "The old house." Jenny doesn't remember writing her name. But that mark became a part of the house, revealing itself about 40 years later.

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