|The 1856 Round House in Somerville, MA|
|The Augusta model by Deltec, 13 sides, 876 sq. ft.|
I have never asked anyone if they have a certain type of dream that I've had for as long as I can remember (probably from fear of therapy being strongly recommended). It's serial dreams: the same basic scenarios revisited and either just observed or changed a little, although there's little action in what seems to be a depopulated world. One is set in about three different school rooms, and is probably the standard working out of anxiety type. Like the school buildings themselves, which stand for decades and become old quickly and stay that way, no progress is ever made. I guess it sums up my feelings about education.
The type that's the most frequent and developed is about real estate. I've always been interested in architecture, land and geography, and all types of building and shelter. When I was first enamored of the camera while working at Richmond Public Schools' Media Services department, I would take the rare Saturday when I wasn't obligated to work for free (our supervisor delighted in this and expected a couple of us -- not her favorites -- to spend at least some of each weekend and every holiday out on some sort of promotion or project) and photograph old buildings whole and in detail. I presented one slide show on the subject at a June Jubilee (do they still have these?) in a suitably old ornate room of the former City Hall. Now I do it in my head (still have a slide projector, though).
The oldest serial dream finds me, always alone, in a Victorian Richmond Fan District apartment. In each episode the wallpaper and paint gain more and more gross layers, the little telephone junction boxes on the baseboards seem to multiply (none work), and the tall windows disappear. There's never any kitchen (maybe because my friend Shelly Adams' place didn't have one and I thought it was cruel of the landlord to collect rent for such a poor arrangement). I also remember (in real life) looking at a cheap second floor apartment on Floyd Avenue that smelled of cooked cabbage and looked a lot like the Cramdens' on The Honeymooners. It must have left a pretty strong impression.
Another scenario is set in a early 1950s type suburb very like where we used to live in Shiremanstown (PA): it's a little two-bedroom white house on an adequate lot. Over the years I've improved it with a garage, a small addition on the right side, and many trees and shrubs planted in the originally bare yard. I've even gone after weedy patches along the driveway and perimeter in dreams, noting in a subsequent one that that job's finally done. The garden along the back fence just never seems to get going, so that's next. You see why I fear being sent to therapy.
The most current doesn't involve looking back, but is aspirational: I select a piece of land after prospecting around and build, not a dream palace, but a small energy efficient Deltec (www.deltechomes.com) round house. Actually, that beginning was quite a while ago. Over time I've placed all the plumbing (bathroom and utility room back up to the carefully designed kitchen for simplest, shortest runs) and off-grid stuff like rainwater collection and solar apparatus, and painted the outside (twice -- changed my mind). I raised it up high for a garage/storage basement underneath, but then went back to a gravel driveway with carport due to cost considerations. While I find this project entertaining during the quiet nighttime hours and don't expect to give it up, I'd really like to hear that others have serial, sequential dreams like this and it's not really abnormal. Is watching far too many HGTV programs maybe not so good for you?