Memories for Miriam, Alice, Theo, Delia, Tessa
and anyone else who would like to be here
Today I am cleaning my house. When I was a girl, people worried a lot about having a clean house. My Aunt Bernadine kept her apartment very clean, but her neighbor, who lived in the apartment upstairs, was really always cleaninig and worrying. The neighbor (who was another relative's relative as well as a neighbor) cleaned her apartment ALL the time, and talked about it, too. She didn't like any people to come into her house because they might bring dirt with them.
One day, the neighbor got a new white rug for her living room. She wanted her friends to see it. But she didn't want them in her house. She waited until Aunt Bernadine invited some of the friends to visit. Then she invited them, one at a time to come upstairs. She opened the door to her apartment. She let them look at her new rug -- but didn't let them walk on it.
One reason I thought about Aunt Bernadine and her super-clean neighbor, is that the New York Times
today had a story about how New York is a very dirty city. They said that people have to try very hard to keep from having a lot of dirt brought in from the street, especially if their apartment had a white rug. One couple in the story said that every day when they came home from work, they changed into clean, indoor clothes: shorts and t-shirts. Their washer and dryer were in a closet right by the front door so that outside clothes never needed to be in the clean parts of the apartment. And they hardly ever invited "strangers" inside. Just like Aunt Bernadine's neighbor, I thought.