Reader’s Choice: “My Family’s Houses”

As often happens, when the time is right for a certain initiative, the universe will explain.

Recently a few readers have been talking to me about my archives, either in comments on old posts (Philippa, thank you), or in emails. Sandra Sallin, in particular, suggested that I repost a few pieces from the archives. So I’ve decided to institute Reader’s Choice. If any of you find an old post of mine that you think the community here would like to see, let me know and I’ll put it up. In return, if you have anything you’d like me to mention with a link – your Etsy shop, your blog, your Tumblr of baby goats – I’ll do that happily.

Sandra, for example, writes Apart From My Art. You can access her art site, read a recipe for potato latkes, or simply gasp at her old photos from college days. Spoiler: what a beauty!

My job will be particularly absorbing in the next several months, and I will be forever grateful for a set of reader-approved  reposts in my back pocket. I reserve the right to tinker with them though, as an inveterate improver must.

So with that, here’s the first: My Family’s Houses, from April 2009. An excerpt below:

My several grandparents lived in several places. In a 12-room apartment in a Park Avenue building that’s oddly famous for having had an actual book written about it. In what I can only call an estate, in New Jersey, which has since been converted into a country club, a golf course, a housing development, and other modern conveniences. Perhaps a 7-11. I am not quite sure. And in a large elegant comfortable house in Massachusetts which is, I believe, still there. (more)

Please feel free to either tell me this is a dumb idea or email me if you’ve got an archive post you like. Either way. We believe in civil opinions of all sorts, right my friends?

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  • First of all than you for mentioning my blog and thank you for the compliments.

    I’ve got that book “740 Park: The Story of the World’s Richest Apartment Building” on my book shelf. I read it but wished it had photos of the apartments. But maybe people wanted privacy. Let’s face it the richest people in the world lived there and continue to live there. Love reading about the other houses. I remember seeing some charming houses of your family’s on your blog. Great taste is in your blood lines. I also can understand your enjoyment of the simple things in life such as mowing your lawn. You “got it!”

    Thanks again.

  • I love this feature. I’m a relatively new reader to your blog and I would love a curated selection of your archives to read.

    Today’s archive article was a wonderful pick.

  • Oooh I am going to enjoy these posts, I think it is a great idea!

  • Great idea. I’m off to read about your family’s houses. And yes, the author of Apart From My Art is still a beauty! Thank you for introducing us to her.

  • Perfect timing! I just started break and and am sufficiently enticed by your excerpt to now devote some post- Christmas reading to your archives. Your idea seems fabulous.

  • Splendid idea and fascinating post. I may have read it back then but appreciate it even more now. Thank you!

    Some of the best posts from all bloggers get lost in the onward march, and it’s also interesting seeing what you have chosen.

  • I am all for a Best Of Privilege series. I’m so glad you resurrected that post from the archives. Look forward to seeing what else is excavated!

    6:53 am
    Lisa said...

    If you have a suggestion, please let me know. I’m too embarrassed to choose for myself. How could I be so bold as to assert any of them are worthy? The culture doesn’t permit:).

  • How exciting. Perhaps rather than archival, it could be a series or a sort of curated collection. I love the allure, the history and the authenticity. It’s like a lost civilization, that generation.

  • Enjoyed reading this and the older post. I have to say, I wouldn’t mind having the houses of my parents and grandparents. Particularly the cottage on Nantucket my mother inherited and then sold when I was a teenager. Oh well.

    6:53 am
    Lisa said...

    I know! Why didn’t they know we’d need the beach houses!?!?!

  • I’m going to feel sad when the time comes to sell my parent’s home in Montecito. It’s inevitable, too large and expensive to maintain, and will have to be divided of course among siblings. I do miss our home (in theory, more than reality) in Martha’s Vineyard. It was hard to let go of, but it’s a huge relief to live in one home in Los Angeles.

  • Great idea! Not sure where to comment on the older post, so I’ve responded there (as have others). Hey, Happy Mayan Apocalyse on Friday ;)

  • I like this idea!

  • Well, I have mixed feelings about this. Firstly, thank you! for acknowledging my little comment so graciously. This really was not what I expected to see when I opened up my computer on my kitchen table in London, at the end of a busy day as the rain pours and I heat up some slightly disappointing home-mulled wine, and I am really grateful.

    Secondly, of course I love reading your old posts. I find them enlightening, inspiring, funny, salient, and, as I mentioned, often a source of great wisdom. I also find them very useful. I am currently, for example, planning to set our Christmas table as far as possible according to your instructions in “9 Tricks and Tips for A Generous Aristocratic Table, On A 2010 Budget” (Nov 22 2010), and I found your suggestions on wedding registries on Souris Mariage very useful when it came to planning ours – and then decided to ignore them entirely and register with Langfords at the London Silver Vaults* in hopes of some family silver of our own – again, inspired by some of your posts.

    BUT what I also love about your blog is its randomness, and its evolution. I really enjoy the way you write about rain, or respond to something which happened recently, or relate your latest mishaps and family gatherings. It makes your blog warm, and human, and I would be sad if that were lost to a perfectly curated spool of vintage posts.

    Perhaps if you do follow through with this idea – and other people seem to love it, and may not be as curious (or greedy) as me when it comes to rootling through your archives! – you could choose posts because they’re relevant to what you’re thinking now, and write about that too, in a sort of Revisited series rather than just a straight forward republishing.

    But again, that might just be me being greedy. I look forward to seeing what you decide, and will continue to treasure your posts, whatever form they take.

    *(They will let us register for china and crystal too, so we can ask for some inexpensive white porcelain and sturdy wineglasses as well as grand silver spoons!).

    6:54 am
    Lisa said...

    Thank you again. And not to worry. I will still put out my regular posts. I like writing:). But some suggested archives, every now and again, on any topic whatsoever. Doesn’t just have to be about my family. Rain is good too.

  • yes! I think it’s a lovely idea!

  • Hello! I really enjoy your blog and as a new reader, this idea is a great way to enjoy the highlights and favourite posts that your long term readers like.

    6:54 am
    Lisa said...


  • I love re-reading old posts so please fire away. I never had time to read the whole archive, just a few here and there. A favorite I think it would be fun to re-post is the one with the story about the party with Albert Finney.