Hollyhocks and Kids

June 16, 2012 § 2 Comments

Anonymous Girl and Hollyhocks (circa 1906)
Photo by Leigh Gross Day

June brings hollyhocks and kids to the Dana-Thomas House.  Susan would be pleased because she shared her home often with children. I cite several anecdotes describing her generosity and hospitality toward children in Susan Lawrence: The Enigma in the Wright House. For example:

Gertrude (Bartel) Durkin who lived across the street from the Lawrence House recalled that after Gertrude’s mother died, Susan brought the three-year-old Gertrude to her home and allowed her to run up and down the duck pin alley. .. The children were also invited to parties in the living room of the Lawrence House. They played games, ate snacks, and went home with favors Susan had bought on her travels. Charlotte (Ide) Jess [another neighbor] reported that at some parties for children, Susan had the plants in the long corridor that connects the entertainment area with the rest of the house replaced with water and gold fish.

I know that she would be thrilled when children still visit her home. Consequently, when young people are in a tour group I’m leading, I try to make the experience special. I sometimes sense disapproval by some adults in the group, but by engaging the kids, I feel I am honoring Susan’s memory in a special way.

Yesterday I led a group with Liam (age 4) and Evan (age 3) Ridley and their parents from Royal Oak, Michigan.  As I frequently do, I gave each boy a brightly colored laminated geometric shape to search for in the glass in the house. Liam had a square, and Evan had a triangle. Liam took his job seriously and enthusiastically found squares that I hadn’t noticed before. Evan was less interested, so he and his mom left the tour, and he enjoyed running about the courtyard. I think Susan would have approved.

Evan and Liam Ridley and Hollyhocks, 2012

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§ 2 Responses to Hollyhocks and Kids

  • Gregg and Sara says:

    Awesome article. THANKS for sharing.

  • Jeff Ridley says:

    We had an amazing experience at our visit to the Dana-Thomas House. Roberta was very engaging and made our tour unforgettable. Liam is still talking about his time there. We are looking forward to bringing Evan back once he gets a little older. 😉

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