Friday, October 18, 2013


from Jacqueline

It’s mid-October and 82 degrees in the Bay Area.  There’s not a cloud in the sky and I know it’s probably pretty much the same throughout the state.  But I’m ready for a few clouds. I’m ready for rain, and to be snuggled up by the fire with a good book on long dark evenings.  

I’m ready for fall, and winter. Technically, it’s fall – there are leaves of gold, brown and red across my lawn, and the sun is low in the sky.  And I’m in the midst of changing the curtains and chair covers.  It’s something that almost everyone did when I was a kid.  The clocks changing in late October meant that it was time for the inside of the house to reflect what was expected outside the house.  Down came the summery cotton or linen curtains, all cabbage roses and bright colors, and up went the heavy velvet or wool drapes in burgundy or gold.  Light slip covers were lifted from the chairs and sofas, laundered and put away for the next year, to be replaced heavier fabrics you had to wrangle into place, ready for those evenings of sweatered-up lounging. I have to admit, the house I grew up in was likely to have more ice inside the windows than outside, so you were thankful for those heavy curtains keeping the drafts at bay.

My husband thinks this is a strange ritual, this changing of the curtains and slipcovers – it’s right up there with what he calls “British women’s throw pillow disease.”  Yep, I kind of like pillows – they go nicely with the lounging. But there’s a sense of excitement when I take down my white curtains and replace them with the gold velvets – the evenings have been getting nippy, and the windows in my 1942 bungalow are the breezy originals.  The white slipcovers are still on the sofa – after all, it was very hot yesterday, so it doesn’t seem quite right for the darker covers to go on, but it will be time, come All Hallow’s Eve. 

It’s just a funny old ritual of mine, a way to mark the passing of the season, a connection to the rhythm of life.  And as soon as those velvets come out, it’s as if I’m a child again – I can almost hear the wood-saw in the distance, and smell leaves being burned on days when a silk-scarf mist barely rises above frosty ground.  The cows cluster in the corners of fields for warmth, and it seems that even the sounds on the air are different, as if muffled against the cold.  

Everything is ready for sleep – until, that is, I break out those white cotton curtains, come Spring.

Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. Lovely, as usual, Our J. Used to be there were no white shoes or gin-and-tonics after Labor Day. Is that still in effect? I love fall and the ritual of sweater wearing, but I never pack away my summer gear. In Southern California any day could be flip-flop day. Plus, I've always lived in small houses, so not sure where I'd store summer clothes except in my closet.

    That pic of the curtains has always evoked vivid emotions for me. It's sort of my fantasy writing venue: a little cabin on the beach. Also, does anyone else see a skeleton with a long row of teeth in that fireplace or should I put on my contact lenses?

  2. from Jacqueline

    NO GIN AND TONICS AFTER LABOR DAY??? Good Lord, where did that come from. I'm OK with the white shoes thing (only in America!), but heck, to deprive yourself of all that malaria reducing quinine after Labor Day is a bit rich! And I am with you, Patty - a beach house with billowing curtains - what a lovely place to write. I remember in the movie Pentimento, Jane Fonda (as Lillian Hellman), had a place on the beach - there was this one scene where she threw her typewriter out the window. I have thought of that scene many times. Now let me have a look at that fire!

  3. This is the time when I move my summer clothes into the guest bedroom closet and the winter clothes back into my closet. Bit late this year as have had my granddaughter's wedding dress in the guest room takes up a lot of space. It was picked up tomorrow. Will be nice to have closet back. rbb

  4. I like Fall, and get so happy to see it come. I am a curtain replacer- it's in my bones from birth.Summer laces down all, windows washed,inside ans out-preparing for the cold. .sparkling,heavier,thermal liners go up for the rest of the cold seasonrI love to hunker down for winteriget the woodm I love pulling out the hreavy drapes adding a few covers more too the bedI put away allsummer clotes, washed and pressed for the next season,,,,use heavier carpets,get the woodstove in peachy condiI love this time of year.


  5. from Jacqueline

    Have a wonderful wedding, Ruby - I hope the weather holds for the big day. And Sue Anne, I love the idea of having a wood stove - we have fireplaces, but they don't seem to throw out the heat like the wood stove at our old house - soooo cozy on those cold evenings.

  6. I'm ready for some cool weather in Miami! Stinky here, still. Paul Levine