As one whose main experience of the U.S. privileged classes' vacation getaways was the Newport “cottages” of the Vanderbilts and other wealthy families, I found the hominess and simplicity of the Edison & Ford Winter estates a delightful surprise. Instead of calling to mind French castles, it reminded me of some early 20th C beach & country getaway homes I’ve had the good fortune to stay in once or twice (not to mention my own single piece of vintage rattan furniture). Instead of a Gilded Age mansion on a (relatively) small plot of land, these were fairly simple houses, meant to accommodate a family and a few guests. Rather than call attention to themselves, the houses are screened by the trees of the extensive informally arranged gardens. The décor is 1920s Unpretentious.
It was hard to choose among the hundreds of photos my husband and I took (more photos of this and other interesting sights appear on my other blog). I finally decided on Mina & Thomas Edison’s bedroom, to offer a sense of what the whole place was like. Their daughter’s notice to guests bespeaks an atmosphere and attitude as down-to-earth as the furnishings.
Mina's desk holds her telephone and writing things. Though they had phones, the Edisons wrote lots of letters. If I understand correctly, the Edisons' home, unlike Ford's, contains the original furnishings. Other rooms boast beautiful gramophones.
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.