Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dear Frank

February 5, 1904
951 Chicago Avenue, Oak Park

Dear Frank,

I asked for a chair in which I might feed our littlest ones. I cannot fault you for the promptness with which you obliged me, at least in this regard. I cannot fault its wood, for it is of course cypress, as you prefer. Nor can I fault the silk you chose to cover the chair's cushion. It is an elegant fabric indeed, and if I believed fern perhaps a color better suited to adults than to babies, I would not presume to voice such a trivial complaint.

But Frank, the chair, while a beautiful object, is something of a jail sentence. I can sit in it only by pushing my back forward and raising up my knees so that they make to touch the nursling, who would surely rather brush against something softer and more pliable than my knees. I have always thought that form should follow function, even as I understand this maxim to be anathema to you - you, of all people.

Still, this nursing chair... I fear that it has become my own yellow wallpaper, designed for no higher purpose than to drive me mad. Do you remember the story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman that I once read to you?

You might wonder why I write these words instead of speaking them to you. It is because of how you tend to stare at me, with such bemused puzzlement, as if to say, "Catherine, how did we get here, with six children to manage?"

Frank, were you not present at each of those blessed unions? I shall repeat myself now by invoking nature's promise that form shall follow function. Indeed it has, in the persons of Lloyd, John, Catherine, David, Frances, and lately Robert Llewellyn.

Ever yours,

inspired by a long-ago visit to Frank Lloyd Wright's home in Oak Park, Illinois


Jenny said...

I loved this. Loved it.

And I'm jealous you got to go there.

V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios said...

Clever and literary both.

Magpie said...

you made me smile.