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  • [es-pree de less-ka/-iay] (idiom) A witty remark that occurs to you too late, literally on the way down the stairs. The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations defines esprit de l'escalier as, "An untranslatable phrase, the meaning of which is that one only thinks on one's way downstairs of the smart retort one might have made in the drawing room."


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April 30, 2007


Beautiful photos, Claire. Grizzled has a number of relatives who still live in Oak Park and I remember when my great-grandma lived there. It's a gorgeous place.

As for ballrooms, so many of the old houses in my hometown have them. I was always amazed, it seemed like such an extreme use of space. I wonder what people of that era would think looking at our homes now... no ballrooms and they have rooms totally devoted to computers! :)

I'm not old enough to be your mother (unless my youth was ill-spent), but I'd be happy to be your internet aunt.

Ever been to Falling Water? That is a neat one.

Oak Park was one of the coolest places near Chicago, when I was growing up in a suburb closer to the Lake. Easy, public transportation used to take me there when I was young, just to walk around and stare. For me, partly my youth way back when, partly my nature, my treks there were always solitary, and so felt, all that much more enchanted. I'm not sure I've enjoyed that feeling since. But I like to think even if it came effortlessly to me at eleven, I could still all these decades later take myself back there, at least, emotionally. It would not happen effortlessly, of course, but even from this distance--space and time--you've inspired me to give it a try, perhaps this weekend.

I do know that house, Claire!! OP is full of such lovely homes. Sometimes the sizes seem extravagant but more often it just seems grand. I grew up there in an E.E. Roberts house which was so solid in terms of construction and also atmosphere--the rooms were large and square with great windows and always a good porch. You could really feel the house holding you up and keeping you safe. Homes just aren't built that way anymore.

pretty! This reminds me that although I have lived in Chicago 6 years, it is EMBARSSING that I have not yet gone to Oak Park to tour those houses.
Thanks for the reminder.

My grandmother's home had a ballroom in it. It was great fun. I almost rented an apartment in Boston that had one as well. Then I remembered I don't go ball room dancing.

If you like FLW, be sure to visit his studios in both Spring Green, WI and Scottsdale, AZ. I really liked the AZ structure.

Another great place to go and see houses is in Michigan. They are private homes, but you can drive up to them and see them.

My dad's an architect and my mother is an enthusiast, so while I feel like I may have been to Falling Water and his studio in Spring Green, I may not have. We were dragged lots of places like that as children and don't remember what I actually saw.

You cannot beat the architecture in and around this town.

Finally, Claire reveals the architecture connection. :)

I went to both studios with an old boyfriend who is an architect.

I've been to Taliesin East and loved it. I've always wanted to go to Taliesin West, but never have.

Claire, have you been to the Guggenheim?

I have been dragged to more churches than I can remember. I do remember my mom reading a guidebook in German and then telling us that "...the crusaders erected this church in the year xxxx and they stayed here for x years and then moved east. OoooH! There is a bridge in the next town that was here when the cursaders left!"

It has become a bit of a joke when we see old buildings.

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