Home – The Front Hall

April 10th, 2008

The front hall is perhaps the smallest room in the house, but conversely, the one that provides the most opportunity. One might enter or exit by the front door, go through the door to the left (but only in theory; that way lies the parental chamber and only brave or reckless children dare pass), go through the door to the right into the living room, or go up the stairs to the second floor. The last visible corner of the front hall is the epic eleventh stair; shaped like a triangle, and big enough to hold a shelf. For a time there was a chandelier in the ceiling that sometimes worked, and the first step on the staircase sprouted a lovely newel post with a flat square surface.

The front hall has had many incarnations, though there is only one stretch of wall that’s big enough, and out of the way enough, to put furniture against. Once, we used that bit of wall to hang a full-length mirror. Later, an apothecary chest took the mirror’s place. It had hundreds of tiny drawers that I wasn’t allowed to open, but that smelled wonderfully when they somehow came open in spite of my interdiction. For a while a dog lived there. Once, a dog died there.

There were years when we rarely or never used the front door, having shifted familial traffic to other ports of entry. But there were also whole summers when the door stood open, letting all sorts of flies and heat into the house, as I relocated my toys, armload by armload, onto the front porch.

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