My Grandmother's house had a powder blue toilet recessed behind white shuttered doors --- only opened when needed.Large closets in each room held monogrammed sheets and towels: powder blue for her sister, Nell, pink for her, yellow for guests, and white with red trim for Uncle Ray. All emblazoned with LDO --- her initials, our shared last name.Usually, I visited while Great-Aunt Nell was in France, so I stayed in the blue room, my favorite color. I slept on succulent linen freed of wrinkles by Flora, the help, toiling behind the kitchen. And luxuriated in fluffy, powder blue towels that matched my family's eyes and soaked up remnants of long, hot bubble baths in the blue tiled tub.As hard as I tried, I couldn't open those tightly capped, hand painted bottles of French scents that adorned the glass dressing table. I would sit on the blue, silk-covered chair that slipped out from under me whenever I would lean forward to brush my teeth or adjust my makeup.
Sometimes, when alone in the house, I would secretly explore those closets found in every room. I touched Flora's neatly ironed linen and breathed springtime in the dried lilac and rose petals. There, too, amidst the must and mothballs, I found long dinner dresses and black wool mourning suits draped around hidden scrapbooks filled with dreams of lights, cameras, action; deeds done and left undone.
I snuck the scrapbooks back to the blue room one afternoon and spent hours peering over Playbills, reviews, and even a Presidential Medal. I never knew my Grandmother sang at the White House; nor did I know Uncle Ray had spent years on Broadway.
Staring out the second floor window at the Maine horizon, I contemplated the complexities of two generations of dreams.
Then, looking down into the walled garden, I glimpsed Gaga, adorned in long pink silk dress and pearls, embracing a cocktail while presiding over her vibrant garden of roses, lilacs, raspberries, and blueberries. Flora, clad in the black and white of an earlier century, held the tray of hors d'oeuvres for Uncle Ray. He was, as usual, paying court to his mother, while never admitting he hated roses.
When my grandmother died, the family descended upon her house, expecting there to be treasure or jewels; silver or gold. Instead, there were old dresses and tiny shoes, none of which fit anyone. The Uncles divided what they wanted; my father left empty-handed; Ray inherited the house.
After the funeral mass, after the burial, after the hoards of people left him to himself, Ray unplugged the ten foot chest freezer in the cellar and replaced the frozen food with a hundred years of papers, diaries, and cancelled checks. Then, he locked it, closed the cellar door, and never returned to its dank space.
Upstairs, he opened all his closets.
Outside, he buried the garden, and built a pond with a small island.
There, he carefully placed his lover's sculpture: Adonis sporting only a birthday suit giving this world a smile and a single raised finger.--- Dianna Robin Dennis