Monday, May 7, 2012

Two Homes, Two Different Stories...

Staying in a tiny town in the north east section of Alabama, there's not a lot to you look for anything, within a day's drive. We found two homes that we thought were worth checking out. The first was one designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Rosenbaum's in Florence AL in 1940. It was a Usonian style home.

The day we decided to visit, we were the only ones, so we ended up getting a private tour! Our host was very knowledgeable and shared some wonderful stories with us along with some very interesting architectural insights that Wright had. Along with all the common knowledge we all have about Wright's designs, he showed us some little things on how Wright worked in merging the outdoors with the indoors, even to using copper screening so that it blended with the wood and the light coming through the windows. How the screens were on the inside so there were no "handles" on the outside to break the flow of the design. And on & on. A trip worth making, and a tour much enjoyed.

The second home we visited used to belong to the family of Helen Keller, in Tuscumbia. Helen was born in 1880, healthy. At 19 months, she contracted scarlet fever that left her deaf & blind. When she was 7, the Keller's brought in a teacher, Anne Sullivan, and the "rest is history" as they say. Helen graduated 'cum laude' from Radcliffe College, spoke 5 languages, wrote 14 books and dedicated her life to improving the conditions of blind and deaf-blind around the world. A poem she wrote sums it up...

They took away what should have been my eyes, (But I remembered Milton's Paradise). They took away what should have been by ears, (Beethoven came and wiped away my tears). They took away what should have been my tongue, (But I had talked with God when I was young). He would not let them take away my soul..Possessing that, I still possess the whole.

The home is located on a 640 acre tract, built in 1820 by David and Mary Keller, grandparents of Helen. The simple, white clapboard home is designed in typical Southern architecture. Having survived untouched through the ravages of the Civil War, Ivy Green is maintained to the smallest detail in its original state. They are very fortunate to have many of the original belongings of the Keller family including her complete library of Braille books and her original Braille typewriter. It was a very moving and beautiful experience being there.

A couple of side trips that turned out to be worth taking and fun!

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at:

...kicking back in Alabama, Marie

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