Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Word of the Day: Class (or lack thereof)

I wrote this this morning in response to a letter from a cute guy from one of the internet dating sites asking where I'd lived in Colorado.

I lived for a while in Aspen, where my ex's family had a house for 50 years. I took my kids (I have 4) and went out there for a semester in the winter of 1991-92, partly as a sort of trial separation, and partly to clean out the detritus of 45 years left in that house after my father-in-law died. The house was in town, in the west end, overlooking Hallam Lake if you're familiar with Aspen. I'd put the kids on the bus for school (kindergarten, junior high and senior high), and then I'd work on the house. I was often rather grubby, in jeans and a sweatshirt, but a few locals had known me for 20 years and accepted me as a transplant and I didn't give a damn about the tourists. My father-in-law, a sophisticated Chicago patent lawyer (think John Houseman in The Paper Chase, right down to the bowtie) had enjoyed describing the house as "just a little Victorian miner's house", and so it was, sort of, but it was on 5 lots (we had the last horses in town) and had historical status (a pain in the butt when it comes to fixing anything) and there was a rustic looking guest house remodeled by a local architect in the '50's that looked like a red barn and was called, coincidentally, The Barn. And there was this amazing view of the lake, visible from both the deck of the barn and from the patio on the main house.

One morning when I walked out onto the patio I discovered two well-dressed women sitting there, quite at home, looking out at the lake. My father-in-law had never turned away anyone who simply asked if they could enjoy the view for a bit, and I'd always followed his example, but these women were chattering away and looked at me as if I were an intruder. When I said, "Excuse me, may I help you?", they exchanged a look, and then one said, "I don't know, maybe some coffee?" the risk of being as rude as they were, I told them it was my house, and they'd have to leave.


anthony said...

Hmmm. Class. You had it. They didn't.

As the referred to ex, I had to throw someone out of The Barn once, too. They were inside, looking around, saying things like "Look at all this old stuff." And they didn't understand why they had to leave!

Mrs. L said...

Stories of Aspen. You could fill a book I bet. Mrs. L