The Dream Home…

There is a song from the 60s musical “The Fantasticks” that I particularly loved and these days still sing in a cracked-alto version whenever I am doing mundane chores around the house.

” Hear how the wind begins to whisper -see all the leaves go swirling by – smell how the velvet rain is falling – out where the fields are warm and dry.

Now is the time to run inside and play – now is the time to find a hideaway – where we can stay.

Soon it’s gonna rain, I can feel it; soon it’s gonna rain, I can tell; soon it’s gonna rain, what are we going to do? (Girl)

Soon it’s gonna rain, I can feel it; soon it’s gonna rain, I can tell; soon it’s gonna rain, what’ll we do with you? (Boy)

We’ll find four limbs of a tree; We’ll build four walls and a floor; we’ll bind it over with leaves and run inside to stay.

We will let it rain; we’ll not feel it; we will let it rain, rain pell mell, and we’ll not complain if it never stops at all.

We’ll live and love in these four walls; happily we’ll live and love, no cares at all; happily we’ll live and love, within our castle walls. ”  (Boy and Girl, together)

This romantic song contains all the idealism and lack of practical experience of the young, the yearning for a love that helps one transcend all difficulty. I find its delicious naivete appealing. The Girl and Boy in the musical are supposed to be in their late teens, innocent, inexperienced and full of hope.

There is no hint of the Girl spreading tried-on and discarded brand name clothing on her bedroom floor and on every available surface. Her mother does not call her into the family room to catch the latest HGTV program on tacking together a fun and fashionable teen girl’s room with cool colours and kicky accessories. No “House Porn” for the Girl in The Fantasticks.

I often wonder what kind of longing is set up in sixteen-year old girls when they peruse the flyers that fall through their home mail-slot regularly, the flyers advertising the XXX Hospital Lifestyles Lottery, where the top prize is a million dollar Dream Home fully outfitted with the latest must-have luxuries and gadgets. And only $50 to $100 buys a chance at winning this Dream Home. Of course, the money goes to a good cause – Hospital Funding – so when one gambles one has expiated lingering feelings of guilt by being assured of gambled money going for “The Public Good”.

Some good friends bought a Dream Home from a lucky winner, who really couldn’t make a life in that house, for a variety of reasons. The house was designed by an architect, had soaring windows the three floors height, was situated in a semi-rural setting and had a gorgeous view of the ocean and islands. Outside, deer wandered by and had their way with garden plantings; racoons visited after dark to search for handouts; ravens flew by in the forest during the days, calling to each other and eagles soared in the sky.

There are unexpected downsides to Dream Homes, designed for a generic Mr and Mrs Average. The location of my friends’ house necessitated a two hour commute to and from work. They lived next door to another lottery home whose new owner left the house uninhabited.  Most of the neighbours were retirees.  Provisioning the home required trips into town a fair distance away. Power outages were frequent in the wintertime.  However, they lived there for five years, until the long commute to and from work became tedious, and the children needed to be closer to amenities, jobs and friends.

Lately, lottery homes are being built in suburbs, near amenities and schools, often on golf-course developments. My sister lives in such a community, and there are a few Dream Homes built on recently developed streets in her enclave. The new row of these lottery homes goes by the name of “Street of Dreams”. 

I toured a couple of these with Martha and Jeanie, and a crowd of other people, a couple of years ago. For the life of me I could never picture Rumpole and me living in one of these houses – we’d be like the Beverly Hillbillies and never fit in. The houses are tricked out to look like a hotel of sorts. People are expected to transport themselves via their imaginations into these places. All I could imagine was endless washing and cleaning of the granite counters in the kitchen and maybe occassionally chiding Rumpole for leaving acid rings etched on the granite from his orage juice glasses.  And the bathrooms! What sane woman wants to spend her time loping around the numerous bathrooms shining chrome taps. Besides which what woman could ever keep her eyes open watching Oprah  whilst slumped on the leather theatre chairs in the Media Room, exhausted from her rounds of incessant household maintenance!

Some dream! More like a nightmare wished on the unthinking and unwary women of North America! I think The Fantasticks version of castle is much more attractive and although the song didn’t mention ensuite bathrooms with rain-head showers and water-saving toilets, one can safely assume the idea of outdoor biffies never even crossed the librettist’s mind as he plinked away on a piano trying to fit words to the melody of “Soon it’s gonna rain”.

10 Responses to “The Dream Home…”

  1. mariacristina Says:

    I remember so well those longings for “transcendent love”, as you described. At least the song describes an authentic desire to love someone.

    The dream house becomes a white elephant. The house you described might make a wonderful summer haven for some poor city kids! Although the bathroms and windows would still need to be washed.

  2. ybonesy Says:

    I’m with you. For one thing, I don’t like new homes. I like old homes. I like ceilings heights that hold you (not cavelike, necessarily, but not soaring). It seems that new homes go for quantity, not quality. Builders spend money on big and don’t have enough for really great materials. New big homes today remind me of the domestic version of a Big Box store, or La Quinta Inn built on a personal scale. Not my version of a dream home.

  3. the individual voice Says:

    I always assumed those McMansions were predicated on the woman of the house being able to afford either a full-time maid or frequent services of a cleaning crew. You’re right. Keeping a place like that clean, even just from dust if no one lived there, and with kids, forget it, would exhaust anyone to the point of never enjoying the place.

  4. dashofpanache Says:

    “But MOOOMMMMYYY! MTV says that EVERYONE has one of these dream houses! I want one too!”

  5. suburbanlife Says:

    Christine – you are so right – why are not these house made over as holiday places for inner city kids – to take them hiking, on nature hunts, kayaking and canoeing, beachcombing, swimming – lots of possibilities? Cleaning and maintenance could be carried on as chores while living there… like in hostels in Europe in the 60s. G

  6. suburbanlife Says:

    ybonesy – Yeah – Like La Quinta Inn, and as there you can’t dry your undies and sheets on the balconies and back yards because there are community “rules” against this sort of low-class activity and display. Oh, Horrors! G

  7. suburbanlife Says:

    Dashofpanache – go for it, but be prepared to scrub and polish your life away unless you import help from overseas – not a kindly and politically correct behaviour these days. G

  8. suburbanlife Says:

    Theindividualvoice – Thanks for your comment… I still haven’t been able to figure out how to put you on my blogroll… still trying to! 🙂 G

  9. Me vs. 7 Dwarves… I like those odds. « The Silent LOL Says:

    […] Witch- The fine lady at How to Survive Suburban Life writes up an excellent post about crazy lottery houses that, when transposed to my purposes, explains why our Witch became so evil: those castle […]

  10. lookingforbeauty Says:

    Those Dream Homes are just built to showcase furniture. They aren’t made for living in. Where could you possibly put a workshop. And there is no storage – well, yes, there would be some California closets in the Master Bedroom.
    It reminds me of your friend who had a huge house built after she, her husband and five boys had lived in a two bedroom old farmhouse for years. The new house had an ensuite for every bedroom. On the first night they lived in the place, abandonning the shack they had lived in for so many years, they lost one of the boys in the ginormous house. Finally they found him, curled up in a sleeping bag inside the clothes closet. He had been overwhelmed by the space and the only way he could feel comfortable about himself in this giant house was to contain himself in a small enclosed space – the closet.

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