Dream: Granny Hampton

Dream 20020920, 4:00 AM:

I know that there was a significant amount of plot that occurred in the dream before the visit to the house in Hampton Park. But the last portion of the dream is what sticks out in memory.

I am with Chris and a woman who is older than us, but not old; I don’t remember who the woman is, but she reminds me of Evelyn D. from Old City Park. We are driving back from some sort of activity, and she decides to take us to a place called Hampton Park. I think that she wants to show us something there. She drives up the wrong side of the lane through an intersection, and it freaks me out a little, but there isn’t any oncoming traffic, so we’re OK.

We get to a huge row of steel gates. Over the top of the gates is a sign that reads, “Hampton Park,” and behind the gates are rows of stately huge houses. Some of them are very new, and some look like renovated houses from the teens and twenties. The woman who is driving waits until one of the gates is open (they open and close as cars go through – I think we follow someone in) and drives through.

We go up to one of the houses, and once we are inside, I realize that rather than being restored, this house has been constantly lived in since the turn of the last century. It is still decorated mostly in the style of the early 1900’s, and the lady whom we meet refers to getting the house in “twelve,” which I know means 1912. She seems old, but not as old as she would have to have been to have owned this house almost a century ago – she seems to be in her sixties or seventies. When we first come in, she is sitting in a chair and working on something, I don’t remember what. There are a couple of children, I think one boy and one girl, running around the house playing. I step on a soft spot on the floor, and look down and notice that one of the floorboards has a dry-rotted section, and I move so I don’t step through it. I look around the house, and tell her about the floor boards in the old houses where I used to work, and how the old-growth pines aren’t available any more. Some of the floors appear to be different woods, and some appear to have been previously covered with carpet or linoleum.

I realize that I need to go get Chris, who has wandered off outside. I find him at a little duck pond with a fountain, and it is squishy and wet around the edges, as if it had just rained or the water had overflowed and then receded. Chris is lying on his back, apparently out on the squishy part, and I am afraid he’s gotten all wet, but then I realize there is a little tongue of dry land that he’s lying on. I get him and take him back to the house. There is a duck bobbing tail-up in the water, and I pinch (goose) his backside and startle him. Chris and I laugh, and go back up to the house.

The lady and her friend, another old woman, take us on a tour of the house. I remember that we went into one room where they were baking bread, and putting it into these long purple plastic mesh sleeves; the bread is about the shape of a long French bread loaf, but is braided almost like a Challah. The long tube of purple mesh sleeving is tied to a cupboard handle, and as they slide each loaf into the sleeve, they tie it off with a twist-tie and cut it off, making a little bag. I think that she offers us some bread; I tell her that I can’t have bread, but that it smells lovely. I remember looking closely at her face, and she has a little cluster of brown moles right beside and on her nose, under her left eye. She smiles often, and her face is a little tanned and somewhat wrinkled. Her hair is gray-blond. In some parts of the dream, she seems younger; these may be flash-backs as she relates her stories of the house.

She keeps leading us through the house. I see a big old metal bathtub that is halfway sticking out of a wall – it looks as if the tub was in place, and the wall was just built over it, with the wall going lengthwise halfway through the tub. The tub is painted black, and has a sign with white lettering that explains something about 1836 and has a black-and-white rendition of an American flag. Chris says something about how it’s the same flag, isn’t it? Then he looks closer, and sees that there aren’t as many stars as now. I tell him that’s because it’s an 1836 commemorative bathtub, is why. The lady also points out a sign that she said she liked hanging on the tub; it explains something about how this house was Number 11, and its new number would be something long like 13211205. The number 11 inside the other number appears emphasized, showing that they are keeping the old house number in the new house number.

I tell the old woman that I’m amazed that she’s able to stay here and keep the house like this, with the way that they have renovated and bulldozed so much in this neighborhood; I think that I’m mostly surprised that she hasn’t been bullied into renovating by some neighborhood association. We are standing looking onto the back porch, and I can see that there are a few wasps, but dozens or hundreds of honeybees. I think to myself that she probably has bees, too. She is telling us about how she moved here in twelve, and had one of the children not long after that, and has just been here since.

She offers us some crackers and cheese. We sit at a table, and there are a couple of plates in the middle with big hunks of cheese that we just cut pieces off from. It’s plain, but very good cheese. The kind that I’m eating is white-ish yellow with a firm texture and a nutty flavor, but I don’t know what kind it is. She cuts a hunk from a slightly darker yellow cheese and puts it on my plate; she says it’s “Gonzola,” and I know that she means Gorgonzola. It’s tasty as well. We sit and visit a while. I am talking to her about how much spirit this house has, and how so many of its neighbors have none – I tell her that they are like some sort of made-in-Japan Christmas catalogue – they’re all fancy, but have no soul. As I look around, there are lots of old decorations on the wall, many of them appearing tattered and handmade, but still interesting.

Later, I am in a room alone with the other old lady who lives with her. She is making one of the Japanese wrapped string balls (Temari) but she keeps referring to it as Pekaky. It’s lumpy and irregular, but apparently will get smoother and rounder as she goes on. It is in shades of green and white. It seems like she has a knitting needle sticking out of one side of it; I can’t tell if the needle is part of the process, or if it’s serving as a handle to hold the ball with. I turn my head, and see a couple of finished ones in shades of purple sitting on the cabinet behind me; they are perfectly round and smooth. She is squishing the ball she’s working on, telling me that they’re stuffed with old socks to start, but it’s OK because the socks melt. I am thinking back over what a wonerful time I have had with this visit. *end*

I woke with a happy, serene feeling, and the tune running through my head was “The Sunny Side of Life.” I enjoyed meeting this singular woman, and hope to see her again in another dream. The yarn-wrapping I am fairly sure comes from me re-winding my ball of red string last night, sitting on the couch with Chris.

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