March 7, 2010

Seeing




A Victorian Hotel….saved, moved, and reassembled on another site. 2007.



Himself: We had a fun morning, and separately we had a fun afternoon….but the museum was dead quiet.

Herself: Blogged, estate sates, lunch, and I went through cookbooks being ruthless, putting them away, and enjoying the new books.

Reading: Picked up a book on the social history of the white house. There are two excellent sites out there: The Elliptical Saloon: The Weblog for the White House Museum.org, and the most interesting of pages for the history and architecture buff, The White House Museum.

Gratitude: Dr. Winifred Higgins, her daughter, and the beautiful day.

”Let’s do the Point Loma sale first,” he said heading out of the driveway.

Just up the hill, we found a line out the driveway, crowds standing in the streets, and no where to park. We just drove by.

“Lets go to that art teacher’s estate sale,” I replied. We missed most of it yesterday, but let’s go anyway.” They advertised art pottery, and I thinking that we couldn’t afford to buy any, wanted to go anyway.

We found a tiny cottage. We found crowds again the second day of this sale. The pottery was student pottery, but the books were glorious. Books in some familiar looking rough wooden bookcases. Architectural history books I gathered into my arms with the greatest of joy.

I don’t usually ask about whose estates they are. Not names. This time I poked until I found it was Dr. Higgins’ home…..the glorious Doctor Winifred Higgins who drove me mad my last two years of college with 700 slides a week to memorize in her graduate level Architectural History class. Drove me mad with four essays to write each test. Drove me mad and pushed me further than any other teacher ever did at any level. She changed my life with her classes, and she made me a far better person for her pushing. She pushed students at SDSU for 25 years.

“Oh, it was hard being her daughter,” said the semi familiar woman near the register as we left.

I introduced myself, and we talked briefly of her mom's travels, her teaching and what a wonderful woman she was. I mentioned that once we were invited to a slide tour after her return from traveling. Not having a good self image, I always felt I was a bother so didn’t call her or write her often. It was my loss. The daughter was so pleased to hear her mother made my life a much better place. I was so pleased to tell her.

For you see, thanks to Dr. Winifred Higgins, I now look at the world differently.


I would never have noticed this tiny building or thought it special. One of the last of the 1800’s Chinatown structures still on its original site and still in use by the Chinese community today. I would never have looked at all. Now I try to see everything. Perhaps to much. Here the Calan Hotel sign in two languages, there a door knob, and here again a terrazo floor. You never know what you will find out there waiting if you can learn to see.

4 comments:

  1. Love the photos -- I have a huge thing for Victorian houses and buildings.

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  2. Interesting how people touch our lives in big ways and we don't get an opportunity to tell them that. I am sure she would have been so happy to hear from you.

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  3. What a wonderful post. You know I believe that we all touch each others lives in so many ways - we have no idea of the breadth of our impact. I love this story, and I love your pictures, and your wonderful trained eye for detail.

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  4. You see so much more than I do! Yet, even with an untrained eye, I get a lot of pleasure out of looking for interesting buildings, especially those constructed in the days when craftsmen were really skilled.

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