Thursday, January 13, 2011

Death and Funky Wallpaper

My Great Aunt died yesterday - farewell Pat McCurrach. It's sad and I feel deeply for all of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but she lived a long life and I truly believe that her soul is at peace and in a better place. I didn't know her really well (knew her husband, my Uncle Jim, much better), but I did spend some time in her house when I was younger and saw her at Jim's funeral last year (no, it was the year before. It's all starting to blur). I played my flute at his funeral, and Aunty Pat was very gracious about that gestrure.

Anyhow, as I was going through some pictures yesterday I came across a few that I took the last time I was at their house - just a few months before they sold it. They had this wallpaper in the bathroom, and when I was young and we were visiting their house, I used to study that wallpaper for what seemed like hours. I was fascinated.

Now, let me explain. I grew up in a shoebox - a very small house - three bedrooms, living room, kitchen and bath. That was it. It seemed like plenty at the time. Growing up I never felt cramped or crowded, and I never felt like we were missing out. But any other house seemed huge. And Aunty Pat and Uncle Jim's house was a palace. They had 3 or 4 bedrooms, a dining room and a finished attic as well as a pretty big staircase. They still only had one bathroom. To me it seemed like the biggest house in the world. It was a huge adventure to drive the 8 hours or so to North Vancouver and stay in their house - especially when we got to sleep in the attic, look out that little window at the top of the gable and see the lights of the Big City. For a little girl from a small town, it was magic! I loved that place.

Aunty Pat and Uncle Jim's house

The GRAND staircase - not so big viewing it as a grown-up

As an adult visiting the house, the bubble of my childhood memory was burst a little. The huge house I remembered had somehow become much smaller. The grand staircase was still lovely, but not the sweeping Gone-With-The-Wind-type that I remembered. But I was so glad to have gotten the chance not only to see the house but to visit with my Great-Uncle and Great-Aunt one last time. We had grilled cheese. It was lovely and I'll remember it forever.

And one of the best things ... being able to take photos of the wallpaper in the bathroom. It was one of my favourite things - and I'm glad I got to get some permanent mementos of it. So here you go. It's not the best wallpaper in the world, but I found the four scenes in it fascinating. And I'm glad they didn't paper over it before they moved out.

So rest in peace, Aunty Pat. I hope you have found happiness and that Uncle Jim was there to meet you!


  1. Oh MY that is fantastic wallpaper! The poodles!! The beauty salon! Love it!!!!

  2. It's interesting how we remember our childhood - the events, people and places. Thanks for the post and pics!


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