Janet McCanless column: A grand old house has been restored to its former glory

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 30, 2007

By Janet McCanless

For The Salisbury Post

I don’t think there is anything as sad as seeing a grand old house fall into old age and disrepair. I was enthralled with reading the story of the Fowler house on Fulton street being purchased and restored.

For 41 years, I have been a McCanless and a part of that old house. Jane Fowler was my aunt by marriage, and she loved to entertain. She gave every bride in the family a dinner party in that house. They were wonderful affairs, with the chandeliers gleaming, all the lovely table settings, and flowers — she really knew how to do it up in grand style.

My own wedding party was held there Nov. 19, 1965, the night before the spouse and I were married. We’ve been to many since then, and our daughter Carol was the last bride feted there when she married in 1990.

In addition to all the children, one of whom was in my wedding, her family provided many godparents to all the babies born into the family, and it was home to various relatives, too, at one time or another. Mrs. Fowler’s mother lived there with her for quite some time before her death.

Many’s the time I would drive by and see Aunt Jane sitting on her porch, paint brush in hand, as she whiled away an afternoon, or spy her husband Bob trimming trees and sweeping the front steps and sidewalk.

Aunt Jane had, at one time, two lovely dogwood trees in her front yard, draping over the sidewalk. In the spring, they were a beautiful sight. Almost like an arbor, they gave a lovely entrance to the old place.

Houses, I think, take on the personalities of their owners, and she filled hers with lovely things, lots of pink, fresh flowers, and a bustling atmosphere. It was a home alive with activity.

My father-in-law had a funny turn of phrase. Sometimes, he would look upon an old house and picture the way it used to look in its better days. Then, he would turn to whoever was with him at the time and declare that “it was a dog in its day.” Meaning of course, that it was very special indeed.

Houses, like people, can get tired and in need of renewing and refreshing, so it was particularly nice to see this house painted, restored and given new life by yet another satisfied homeowner. As my dear father-in-law would say, it was a dog in its day. How nice to see it restored to its former glory!