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A Beautiful Letter Expressing Thanks.

 
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Modmom1



Joined: 03 Dec 2017
Posts: 47

PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 5:03 pm    Post subject: A Beautiful Letter Expressing Thanks. Reply with quote

While the site was done I was fortunate to receive a trove of letters from the Tony Smith estate (luckily he saved everything) but one stands out from the others. Mary Gunning hand wrote the following to Tony Smith just after moving in to Glenbrow in January of 1941:

"Dear Tony,

I wish you could be here to see the house with the snow on the land. The ravine and the steam with ice-the trees with snow edging the dark branches and then across to the level of farm land. Young David Sweet and I watched two men loading cornshocks on a wagon one day last week. We watched until the men drove their team of horses off to the barn. Then we saw a red bird against the snow.

This morning I mixed dough for bread while WOSU=(Bless it) had the Brahms Third for a program. Now my dough is rising in a pan with the ashes of the fireplace.

It is such a beautiful house and the living in it is so good. I feel a debt to you and Ted all my life long. I never get through with the joy of looking and there is alway a quiet and a peace and yet a deep excitement.

I wish I could put in words all the things I see and feel about this house but I just don't have the words.

Rob loves it too. We get up early to be in it and he hurries home at night to be in it. I have day long and feel sorry that he doesn’t. He gets into his sweat shirt suit and red flannel shirt and saws and hammers and pounds and I admire. I’ve taken to sewing and we read aloud or listen to some music and it is even more wonderful than anything. And won't it be good when Spring comes-although it can't be more beautiful than it is now-but beautiful in a different way-a growing in the earth way.

You must know that is is your home too- and for Ted too. I think the making of something like this home-is something that belongs to you so close that it will never be lost. It will be here waiting and there are plenty of beds in the dormitory.

I’ve been reading Ann Ryan’s poetry, I like it and the way she makers a kind of whisper of feeling come real with words.

Give my regards to Ted and tell him those parts of the house where books are kept and where we sit and work and keep things are really beautiful.

Mary G."

This letter captures the experience of living in such a special house. Each day we wake with new exceptional views as the seasons change. From the experience of living with full foliage, to the magnificent colors of autumn and now with intense sun/moonlight of winter. I wonder how many architects today receive correspondences from their clients expressing just heart felt admiration for their home.

This letter also settled for us who was responsible for the design. Although it was a collaboration between Smith, Cuneo and van Fossen, the letter reiterates what the Gunning children were told growing up...that Tony Smith was the main designer of the original house with Ted van Fossen responsible for the "parts of the house where books are kept and where we sit and work". Of course Ted is responsible for later additions and the Tower. I needed this information for an application for the National Registry.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 16280
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How perfectly wonderful.

The owner of an historic property wishes and hopes for such correspondence; it is a priceless resource, enabling an understanding of how a house -- a new home -- felt to its owner and occupant. It can gives clues as well to the relationships involved, between owner, architect, builder and perhaps others.

Thanks for sharing; it's particularly pleasant reading at this time of year !

SDR
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