Monday, May 24, 2010

Word for the day: Anthropomorphism

Anthropomorphism. Sounds like a germ doesn’t it? It can be passed along (I’m sure I got it from my mother) and it can definitely have unpleasant consequences (attic-itis…a swelling of the contents of one’s attic). This is the act of assigning feelings and humanity to inanimate objects. It has caused me to hang on to many things that I should throw away, caused my daughter to have a collection of hundreds of teddy bears, most of which talked to me and of course some that ended up talking to her, and to keep broken bits of this and that in the name of family history and sentiment.

Old buildings have been talking to me since I was 8 years old. The first building I fell in love with and talked back to me was along my walk to school. It was this wonderful brick house, with a nice front porch that had pretty wrought iron trim on either side of the porch. I could see amongst the over grown shrubs and little out-buildings that it had been a beautiful little home with a warm and welcoming back yard. I could see it in its former glory and wondered at the people who might have lived there, loved it and cared enough to make it so beautiful. I would whisper prayers for it that someone would buy it and love it back to beautiful again.

This ‘thing’ that makes me want to tangibly see and feel the beauty of the past has never left me. Reading, Pennsylvania speaks to me that way. It makes me love the city to the point It almost hurts. I see these beautiful old buildings all around me and I can imagine them restored to their former glory. I can imagine all the lives that have passed through them when they were new and loved.

I sigh over the wonderful roof lines, the turrets, the bay windows, the stained glass transoms and pretty little decorative window accents, the wrought iron trim and fencing, the miles of brick, the stone that looks like it was fire kissed…but clearly really wasn’t. And that’s just the little row homes that line most of the city streets. Stop for a minute and stand still on Penn Street. Take a look up at those old multi-storied banks and buildings. There’s some amazing detail on some of those wonderful old buildings.

Why do I share this today? Because last week we received the most delightful surprise from the city. We were selected to receive a commendation for our restoration work on 526 Washington Street, home of some things looming. She’s a sweet little row that was probably always commercial space with the owner living and working there, perhaps on the third floor where Melanie has her studios now. Tonight we will go to city hall and receive a certificate of commendation. It has been a long, but wonderful journey bringing 526 back to her former glory, with a bit of a modern twist. We hope you stop by sometime, enjoy the art, and the ambiance of our building.


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