This obsession with magnificent homes degenerates into lunacy rather quickly, don’t you agree? As soon as one learns of another kindred spirit or finds a good group of architectural snoops such as ours, one begins to recognize the exhilarating sickness in oneself, or so, at least, it was with me. You are certainly a forgiving ring of sleuths as you have observed Miss Cassette spin off into a least one or two tangly, matted historical knots in the past…and yet here we meet again. It is the best kind of neurosis, I say and it doesn’t lead to too much trouble, so to speak.
Mr. Cross and a few readers have happened across a handful of articles by local writers that have the look, the feel and the scent of our little obsession here. When I was alerted to this Pearl Diving for Pay, I was quite dismayed, as history writing is already such a male-centered endeavor in this town. Father of Miss Cassette, as you might remember, was an artist and talented 70s adman. He was always confidently blasé as he would throw out, “Imitation is the highest form of flattery,” when I was a girl, a phrase I have since discovered is easier to offer as consolation rather than to be on the receiving end of. In my darkest hour this Lazy Content Grab would be quite upsetting, as I do not make money from my stories. But I am not a writer and I cannot let this bothersome pattern dishearten, for I am, We Are, imaginary detectives at our core and obsessive ones at that. On my brightest day, I acknowledge that these writers and editors are under quite a bit of pressure to lift content and find quick research. I have heard tell that writers’ block is painful. And honestly they may very well abscond with every last idea I’ve offered up because this viney house does stand unattended, but they cannot pilfer the imagination, the voice and the obsession. Miss Cassette will continue on, meandering down the crushed stone path, overturning found dolls’ shoes, and wild turkey feathers alike, examining all artistic manhole covers, looking to chisel away in some salt mine, i.e. the Omaha Public library stacks.
After consulting with Mr. Cassette and Mother of Miss Cassette and I suppose Mr. Cross, I have agreed to step away from the website until February. I really must buckle down and focus on the book or the publisher has assured me I will be in a fine pickle, for the manuscript is due in January. “Thunder!” I shouted into our attic the other day. “Misery Me!” I thought as I pulled into the W. Dale Clark Library. This really could not happen at a worse time, as I’ve become quite fond of you all. I love your emails and comments, your stories, personal histories, photos and questions. We’ve got a good thing going, I think you will agree. And I suppose you already know as I, that fall really is the best time for our prying into and poking about the rambling estates of the wealthy. The crunch of the leaves under gum shoe booties. Mustard colored sleuthing gloves. I will have to go it alone.
So here is our little plan: I must ask that you keep your eyes and ears open, in my absence. A word of advice: I ready myself each morning for a hidden staircase, to find beauty and discover a baffling mystery. Clues are everywhere. I am never disappointed. Do not be afraid to pull off to the side of the road and have a good, thorough inspection. Look for the endless stone staircase. Is there a marble water lily pool visible between the slats of the privacy fence? Do you spy a secluded arbor? Is that an old boarded up roadside diner?
Can the mother-in-law’s quarters be found? Observe the counterbalance weight attached to the old fire escape. From the sidewalk, is that a rounded glass-roofed solarium on the side of the house, encircled by a crushed granite path? You might be able to hear a Sunday quartet from that alley if the leaded glass windows of the music room are mercifully unlatched. Be it carriage houses, bizarre yard art, tilting weather vanes or the odd, little abandoned corner store with a tiled entryway, you will bump into a mystery adventure if you are paying attention. Just today a little bird has told me that you would be only too pleased to collect this data. I hope you will not think this an unreasonable request. For those of you unable to explore or would prefer to explore through the investigations on the website, this will be a good time to catch up on all of my articles. Additionally, I will be making updates and addendums to old stories as more clues and photos roll in from fabulous readers.
When we meet up again, the wind will be roaring in the shake roof. There might even be snow, if we are very lucky. We will sit in my dormer window seat girded in linen toile de Jouy peacocks and drink hot tea while Scottie dogs await a biscuit at our socked feet. And we will be so glad to have found each other again. And we will listen.
Thank you, thank you everyone for reading my articles and supporting me. It means so much to share this obsession with houses and their people with all of you. I welcome your feedback and comments. To comment or read others’ comments, please scroll to the end of this page. Due to the overwhelming amount of emails, I will not be able to answer many or correspond in a proper way until the new year. You can keep up with my latest investigations by going into “Contact” and sign up for the newsletter. In this way you won’t miss a single house and will get an email with every new article. Also please join My Omaha Obsession on Facebook. Thank you Omaha friends.
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