A Narcissist, No Not That One, and Her House in Everyday Ramblings

  • Aug. 23, 2020, 2:21 a.m.
  • |
  • Public

The larger community garden this morning.

Mrs. Sherlock rescheduled our planned morning walk to tomorrow because her lower back was talking to her after (perhaps excessive) bike riding and gardening at her 93-year-old friend’s condo, so I walked on my own.

Yesterday was cooler than it had been for a few weeks, so Charity and I walked across the river to a wonderful neighborhood that is about 40 years older than ours. We are talking the roaring 20’s. 1920’s.

This is not my favorite time of the year. Even when it is not hot, it is hot, and it was overcast and itchy and sweaty and I had not slept well at all.

Diego had a bad patch and I was deeply concerned and thought we might need to go to the emergency vet with all that is involved, not having a car in the dog days of the pandemic.

Blessedly he passed through the crisis and is fine now and I knew that by the time we were scheduled to leave but still I was a tad bit irritable.

While we were admiring a fully restored baby blue Buick with a JFK for President bumper sticker on it we met the most adorable Portuguese Water Dog named Rueben. His person told us he had two speeds, on and off. It made us laugh. She also said she wanted a Democratic dog. He leaned up against me and was content to stay there. I felt blessed.

Don’t tell Frieda, okay?

So even though I was grumpy I enjoyed the company on the walk. There was a lovely old house for sale and as we were looking at the sign and swooning over the original restored wood floors in the pictures a woman with a mask came out on the porch and told us that it had just been sold.

It used to be the hat museum, a place I read about in a guidebook and wanted to visit. You had to make an appointment. One of those quirky magical places. She said they couldn’t keep it open during the pandemic (I think they got a lot of costume designers and such) and they put the hats in storage and sold the house for just under a million dollars.

She gave me her brochures. The house was built in 1910 but had been updated with air conditioning and the like in 1996. It has an interesting history in that it was abandoned in the late 60’s until it was acquired by a very eccentric woman named Alyce Cornyn-Selby who had a penchant for antique cars, married men and self-publishing self-help books of dubious quality. She died 3 years ago.

Her younger brother says online that she was a mean self-centered narcissist that made fun of the people who came to see some of the 2,000 or so hats that were displayed. Of the house one article about the museum says…The house, built in 1910, is as quirky as some of the current hats that are now on view inside. Its doors hang backwards. There is a secret hiding place, pocket doors, a dumb waiter, and the only furnace damper is still attached to the library wall.

There are no pictures of the kitchen.

Three of my students live nearby. I cannot wait to ask them about all this.

After that we wandered around the cool tree covered streets enjoying gardens and surprising ease-ways and unique yard features. Then we walked (what seemed like the long way) home.

I didn’t do much the rest of the day except hang out with a feeling better Diego and his brother and relax and putter.

It is warming up again, but we did have enough blessed rain to make some puddles overnight. The autumn crocuses are up and the crepe myrtles are blooming.

It says Fall on the flower clock, no doubt about it.


Last updated August 23, 2020


Jinn August 23, 2020

I love old houses . I have lived in three and they were my favorite places of all . My house is 48 years old and it just does not have any charm to me :-(

Marg August 24, 2020

Glad to hear Diego is better - he certainly keeps you on your toes! On and off - love that :) That house sounds fabulous - I’d love to see it!

noko Marg ⋅ August 24, 2020

https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/1928-SE-Ladd-Ave_Portland_OR_97214_M22202-64030#photo0

Marg noko ⋅ August 25, 2020

Oh thank you! What a weird interior - seems a real mishmash of styles and the furniture seems a bit out of place but I suppose a lot of it would have gone with the absence of the hats.

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