Chapter One: Summer Days
The day had dawned warm and moist like most summer days in Atlanta, Georgia. Cat loved the bright light filtering through the lavender organdy curtains that matched her bedspread. It was all ruffly. Her grandmother had given her both for Christmas. They made the room cheerful and pretty. She stood next to her bed and quickly threw her covers into some semblance of “making the bed.”
She liked being upstairs in the house. Her baby brother, Chris had her old room downstairs, across the hall from her Mother and Daddy. She was glad to leave it behind. It had always bothered her that when Daddy had spray painted the wall, he’d entombed a caterpillar on the wall just above where her bed would be. He’d thought it’d drop off when he sprayed it, but it never did. Just like an Egyptian mummy, it was preserved forever on the wall. Even naming it Charlie hadn’t helped, actually, it made it worse.
For awhile upstairs had been rented out because her dad was in college. Now, after Chris was born, they had the whole house to themselves. She and her older brother, John, shared the upstairs. They had rooms under the eaves on opposite ends of the floor. The stairs came up from the den. There was a hall connecting the two rooms with the stairs and the bathroom between them. When they’d gotten these rooms, it was the first time she’d ever had to use the shower. It was good to feel like such a big girl.
Cat still laughed about those boarders. There was the time their pretty little baby had been crying and crying, and suddenly stopped. Mom and Daddy had gone upstairs to see if the baby was OK. The parents had used scotch tape the quiet her. You should have seen the little mouth wide open. Her little blond curls were shaking as she moved shook her head from side to side. The baby’s dad, Mark, also with blond curly hair, just couldn’t seem to understand why it wasn’t a good idea. She could still breathe through her nose couldn’t she? Mark and Cindy, the mom, were totally puzzled. Mother had spoken very sternly to them about proper child care, and they’d never done it again.
Then there was the time they heard a loud crash and rushed upstairs to see what the problem was. There standing with one foot in the bathroom washbowl was Mark. He’d been trying to wash his feet and had tried to STAND in the washbowl. Even at nine years old, Cat knew that was pretty dumb. She was struck with the fact that there amidst the water erupting from the broken pipe and the shattered bowl was Mark, still with dirty feet. Why didn’t he just stick them in the shower? She’d never heard her parents say even one word about the boarders, but she herself thought they must be a few pages short of the full book.
They had kept things interesting. But now that they were gone, everybody had their own rooms. What had been John’s room was now the den. The stairs to the upstairs went up from the wall by the kitchen. It went up about five steps, had a landing and turned, and went up several more. The den had Daddy’s desk, short-wave radio, and a big comfy chair in it.
That staircase was used on rainy days. She and John would get a large box and place it at the top of the stairs. First Cat got in. Then, carefully climbing in, John would push them off. Down the stairs they'd go. Then they'd hit the turn, SMACK! They were prepared to shift their balance to speed down the rest of the stairs and land at the bottom in the den.
Cat loved to come and sit in a chair while Daddy studied or worked on some project. He smoked a pipe, and the tobacco smell was wonderful when it was fresh. But it really didn’t smell all that good as it got old. That no longer fresh smell was in just about every piece of furniture in the room. Still, old smoke or new, it smelled like her daddy.
Behind the desk was a window. When she looked out, she could see the next door neighbor’s house. A girl named Anne lived there. They played together sometimes, but she wasn’t really a friend, just one of the neighborhood kids. There were the Byrds girls living next to Anne, and the Waller kids next to them. All the kids played together every day. In back of the house was a wooded area. The woods backed up to each house around the perimiter of the block. It made up the interior of the block. All the kids in the neighborhood played there. Their games included cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, and pirates and treasure. They were always looking for buried treasure. One day, her mom had found a beautiful, huge sea shell deep in the woods. It had a beautiful shade of pink on the inside. Her mom had said that meant the land had been near the ocean at one time. Therefore, there had to be pirate’s treasure there somewhere. Certainly, enough holes were dug. But alas, they all only had dirt in them.
The living room was big. Like the rest of the house, the floor had the new vinyl tiles that were a product of the Second World War. They were the most modern feature of new houses. Cat hated them. Her dad was positive that she needed practice in walking and made her walk the lines in the living room floor every Sunday afternoon for at least an eternity. Watching the entire time to make sure that each foot was placed properly and straight. From the dead elephant piano to the wall with its two pretty bay windows looking out at the school and back, endlessly. It was probably only 30 minutes, but to her it seemed hours. On her way back, she would look at the piano wondering why the maker had put such huge and ugly legs on the front and such spindly ones on the back. She though that except for the legs it looked more like a whale—big and black and ugly. The ivory keys had long before turned a dirty yellow: like the whale had never brushed its teeth. Then she’d wonder if fish got tooth decay. Well, any thoughts to pass the time while walking back and forth across the floor.
Cat twirled about her room happy with the thought that this week she’d be 10 years old! Old enough to ride her bike around the block all by herself. She’d be able to go to Ginny’s house without being slowed down as her mom walked with her, and her baby brother pedaled away on his little trike.
She quickly pulled on a white pinafore. Choosing clothes was never a hard thing to do. In the winter, all her dresses were dark blue or dark gray. They had little Peter Pan collars, and buttoned up the back, the skirt, gathering at the Now in the summer, she wore white pinafores every day. She loved the gathered ruffles on the bib at the shoulders and at the hem. If she twirled just right, the ruffle on the bottom would stand out in a circle. During the summers, she just wore the pinafores. Leaving her shoes in the closet, she bounded down the stairs for breakfast, ready for another day.
Introduction to Temple, Texas
Our First Church
The first church we met in was a "CLOSED ON SUNDAY" furniture store. We had eight or nine people in the church. I put the "or" in because we had this one couple who came. She was friendly. He sat in a chair facing away from seeing the pastor, and watched the traffic as it went by: last one in, first one out. I'm not sure I ever did see his face. But he had nice hair, just turning grey.
Since the first day, we held services, we lacked anyone to play the piano. We really needed someone to play. I have two hands: one is smart enough to play the piano, the other is massively unable no matter how much I practice. Then, of course, add playing, if you can call it that, before people. I can practice all I want, but when it's time to play in front of others.....KABLOOUIE! Full blown disaster.
Then the Lord took pity on us and provided a pianist. Not just play the thing, but make it "stand up and sing." Turns out the Lord had not just brought a piano player, but a graduate of Julliard School of Music in New York City! It was a massive a relief for me, as well as everyone else in the congregation. He had been stationed in Fort Hood. What a blessing he was to us all. I was relieved ever Sunday morning. Goodness, the man could even transpose from one key to another!
During the two years he was with us, we grew, not a lot, but any growth is welcome. Then the day of the fatel hammer fell. Our pianist was sent to D.C. on Army orders. He was followed by others in exiting the church in just a few short weeks. We were sent back 4 years. I still could not play the piano, and "he" was still putting the pressure on. "All pastor's wives can play" was his constant under the breath comment. What can I say, I always was different.
Finally, I practiced every day for a month. I told him I was going to play his favorite song.When I was through, it was no longer his favorite. He would forever hear the mistakes in keys, pacing and general aptitude. I can honestly say, I tried my hardest. They left the church a few short weeks later. It wasn't long, and we could no longer function as a church. We had really enjoyed Temple and have many pleasant memories.
Years later, we were in the same position: a church without anyone who could play the monster piano. But, time had progressed and so had things in the electronic world. We use CD music in an electrical music player with 5,000 recorded songs that we can play. We can even change keys. Between that and CDs, we era wealthy with songs. In our church now, we’ve added "youtube" to the mix. I still can’t play, we still don't have a pianist. But then, we don't have a piano anymore either. Here's my "shout out" to all of you who plan in churches. You that don't play, give your pianist a hearty, "THANK YOU!
(Just an aside: we still have a church without anyone who can play the stinking piano. I just shouldn't have "fallen in the ditch, gotten lost on the way to piano lessons, or had a violent stomach ache keeping me from my only three piano lessons).
The Golden Years
she laughingly titles it.
from the early 50s to the 70s
Meals range from a simple joy to the well known Roman Banquet that took hours to eat. As with most countries who have survived starvation times, if the being moved on its own, all of it is eaten. Those who've starved, are known, as are areas of our own deep South, “to eat everything but the squeal.”
My introduction to the idea that different countries had varying ideas of manners and food was the first time my dad was stationed overseas. With my father and older brother, we were the only Americans invited as we were welcomed us to Taiwan. The other 20+ were all Chinese with very few who spoke English.
First lesson was my Dad's instruction on why it was important to burp at the end of a meal. Among themselves, the Chinese believed, at that time, a meal is judged by the belches as you finish.
As we sat quietly trying to get the conversation past the language barrier, a woman stood up. My Dad punched me in the side and said, “Watch her.”
So I watched as she stood. She pulled her dress above her waist. Then the slip. Next she readjusted her girdle on her slender figure until it was just right. Then she pulled everything back into place. Lastly she sat back down and began to eat again.
Needless to say, this 14 year old girl was left trying to shut her mouth after it had dropped open at the spectacle. “Daddy, why did she do that?”
“Because she didn't show her neck. The back of the neck is the most erotic place on a Chinese woman. The Japanese rather like it too. That's why their kimonos show the back of the neck. Gives the men a thrill. Personally, I'd prefer...”
“John M! That's your daughter you're talking to.”
My dad glanced at my mother, grinned and changed the subject. “Another thing you need to know is what to do with the watermelon seeds.”
“Well, I'm sure I quietly spit them into a spoon and...”
“Nope. You must spit them in a half-moon shape around the bowl in which the slices will be served. In the months before y'll got here, I got lots of back slaps one time as I came in third for shape.”
I was ready to go on this new adventure. However, when the eel arrived, I was sorely tried. I considered getting sick. But my father gave me a stern look and said soto voice, “Remember, we are the first Americans most of these people have ever seen. They have worked and planned for the most delicious and unforgettable meal you will ever enjoy. Eat two or three bites of the eel. Baked pig is next.”
Let me explain what cooked eel looks like. The skinless, but now transparent, eel is carefully coiled on the plate. The inner lining between the skin and the innards is still there. The entire mound shakes gently when it is set upon the table.
Now into the clear jello-like look, you can see little bites of meat. You must take your blunt wooden chopsticks, and punch through the membrane. You must go through the goo of one level only, securing your piece of slime-slick meat and gently, carefully pull it out while it emits slurping sounds. Now you pop it into your mouth and pronounce it not mearly good, but excellent. And thus great acting ability is born. Eel still wins hand down in my book for the slimest, most unapetizing dish I have yet to eat.
The pig's parts, inner and outer had been part of the appetizers. Nothing gets your juices flowing like crispy pigs ears. The eyes of the pig are saved for dessert.
The chef for this meal, had two thoughts: people expect soup at the end of the meal, and it was close to Christmas. His gift to the banqueters was to bring the pig in on a sterling silver platter surrounded by luscious looking local fruits with the needed red apple in the mouth. Our master cook had placed a green Christmas bulb in one eye socket and a red one in the other. As the dish was proudly carried in, you couldn't help but notice: red, green, red, green as they blinked alternately. My parents, older brother and I worked mightily to stifle the laughter until he proudly led his entourage of servers out of the room. Then we coughed/laughed.
But the eyes which had been reserved for the soup were still due to honor my mother. She didn't grow up in the South for no reason. Graciously getting out of sticky situations were her forte. The first thing the General giving the welcoming party knew, the eyes were all on him as she was declared a guest extraordinaire. She picked up the first one with her chopsticks, and pleasantly offered them to a general's wife. She declared herself delighted to be so honored. She took the second one and offered it to the ranking General at the table. He also declared to be honored. Mother's place in society was made by her generaously giving the most favored part of the pig to others.
Just as an aside. I didn't do too badly with the watermelon seeds. They, and the delicious roast pig were the highlights of the meal.
Then, there was the American Ambassador's wife's dinner party when a high muckity muck made a trip through Nigeria one April. Everything was going well. Until. Fortunately my mother, who was helping to hostess, went to check the kitchen progress. As she opened the swinging door, the Number One Boy was just ready to come through with the evening's roast on a platter. She took one look, and told him to wait. While he did, she carefully, quietly, got the Ambassador's wife to come with her.
As the hostess entered, she immediately noticed the problem. Surrounding the roast were the beautifully wrapped squares of presumed candy. There was nothing on them to say what kind of candy because they weren't a delectable sweet. They were suppositories to relieve blocked bowels. While the two ladies controlled their urge to laugh, she quietly told the servant she was saving them for another time. “Please put them back and don't use them again unless I ask for them.” And so was avoided the entire American community visiting the “loo” several times over the next few hours.
Oh, and then there was the party where the number one boy came in and whispered too loudly that he had chased the dog off because he'd stolen a bit of the meat cooked for dinner. And now the dog was dead.
All the guests looked at their plates, that now had a distinct lack of meat on them, and promptly felt quite ill. There was a general rush for the various cars, as people piled in willy-nilley telling their drivers to take them to the hospital.
Two and a half hours later, they all came in and collapsed, while waiting to be served their after dinner drinks. Everyone was recovering nicely, until the number one boy came in again.
Standing respectfully before his employer, and in front of all the guests, he had a fuller confession to make. “Sir. You didn't hear why the dog died. When I yelled at him and tried to hit him with the broom, he ran outside. I heard tires squeal. He was hit by a car, Sir, and died right before my eyes.”
And then, there's the Spaghetti heist. But, perhaps another time. Also, the story of the proper British dinner, at night, 95 degrees, no a/c, no screens...we're dressed to the “nines” complete with beyond the elbow length gloves. Our time on a trip with Mei at 18 months throwing everything on the floor. We left a tip equal to the dinner bill...but didn't seem it was enough. Could any amount have been?
Nothing beats a quick trip down the lane titled: “Meals I have known.”
MARRIAGE AND FAMILY YEARS
THE EARLY YEARS
FULL TIME MINISTRY YEARS
We have had the non-pleasure to live near two fraternities. This we learned: they are loud and obnoxious. However, when forced to do so, they can learn civilized behavior.
We moved into Morgantown, WV in July. Our house, probably from the early 1900s, was on a quiet, tree lined street. The neighbors were friendly, and we soon became acquainted with most of them on our three blocks.
Then school, including, the college in town, began their fall season. The Fraternity was a bit noisier, but still OK, until October. That's when we found out they would become the bane of existence for everyone with any hearing.. The loud music began playing on Friday and Saturday nights, really loud music. I asked around and found out they were down the WV hill from us, four blocks away. There was only an empty lot across the street, so they weren't really in our bedroom. The neighbors all said they use to call. But it did no good in the long run. It would get better, then amp up again.
Now, I'm a nice person. I have patience. I like college age students. I don't like rudeness and inconsiderateness. And, they were ruining not just my sleep, but that of my children. Lesson #1 to future college students, never interfere with a mother's sleeping children if at all avoidable.
I called the college, gave the fraternity's name and asked that the school monitor them and get them quiet at midnight. The woman on the phone agreed to try, but I'm sure I heard a slight chuckle as she hung up the phone.
By the end of November, I had remembered the way my mother use to roust her lazy teens out of bed in the mornings. Now, I had a plan. I passed the word to a few of the neighbors, including the woman I was sure was the fount of all neighbor gossip. I told them to be prepared not to sleep late the next Sunday morning. I was hoping that after that, we would all be able to sleep the nights away in peace.
On Saturday evening, I gathered my items together and carried them upstairs. At 6:30 the next morning, I got up after having slept a poor 3 hours. I put the boom box in the window, placed the extra speakers to add their voice. Having set the tape to begin near the end of the 1612 overture, I spent the day in secret glee for what was to take place the next morning.
At 7am I pushed the button to start my music. Dahdee dah dah dah..... This warning was below the music bar on youtube: WARNING: Additions to the music may make dogs bark, scare your mom, leave your neighbor dumbfounded, make cats panic, wake you up in the middle of the night shouting at the top of your lungs because you think you are being robbed, scare the crap out of you, and/or blow up your ears and brains; among other things... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbxgYlcNxE8 The music began to roll down the West Virginia mountainside.
When the music quit, I quietly took the boombox out of the window and carried the two speakers back downstairs. I shut the windows. I never heard one word of complaint from any neighbor. Though a few looked at me and giggled in the weeks ahead. We also never heard the too loud music from the fraternity again. I guess no one wanted to know what some crazy person would do for an encore.
≶ ≶ ≶
Two years later we moved again. This time to Terre Haute, Indiana. Yes, the same town Steve Martin dissed... calling it stinky and boring. He was right, you know. TH was a little berg at the end of nowhere. But as the saying goes, it was our town. Besides, who doesn't love all the attention our little town received?
Our house was a duplex painted blue. Towns people were happy to tell us that particular blue meant it was a house of ill repute. It had been bought, twice, and not repainted. It was probably a turn into the 19th century house. It, like the houses surrounding us, was three stories, plenty of room for three teens, and the influx that usually followed them home. The attic had been converted to go over both sides and turned into a den. We loved it.
But then, in October, the parties started in the Frat House across the street. The small sign identifying it was on the front door too small to see except at the front door. So their loud music, loud talking, and loud mock fights were the first time we knew it was there in the middle of town. The college was across town 6 miles away.
Again, I called the college, and asked them to control the boys. I told them there was an old folks home on the Frat's right and a hospital one-half a block away. Again, the snicker was heard as the phone was hung up.
I'm not easily ignored when my back's up, so the next week's call went to the President. He responded in the bored, diplomatic-pat-the-little-lady-on-the-head-and-she-will-go-away voice. “Yes, he said with insincere patience, of course, we will call the president of that chapter in, and have a talk with them. I'm sure they are all gentlemen and will be more careful in the future.”
As he hung up after mollifying me, I wondered which one of us snorted the loudest at his false assurances. He, because he'd said it so many times, or me, because I pegged him as a big, fat, self-important college President.
Fortunately, every weekend's party was not at their house. So it was somewhat liveable. But by mid-February, I told my husband that I was fed up. Enough was enough and on and on. I stewed about how to have peace and quiet from them after midnight for another two or three weeks.
The capper was when my daughter came upstairs because their noisy partying had awakened her again. I tucked her in. Then I went back up to the third floor to our bedroom and stared daggers at the frat house.
I picked up the phone book and found their number. I called them.
“Hello. Brad speaking. Come on over and join the party.”
“Well, thank you for the information. But I'd rather my family could sleep. Please, keep the noise inside the house.”
“Well, we do try. But boys will be boys. Thanks for calling,”
I could tell he was about to hang up. If I let him, he would win and I would always loose. “I need to tell you something. Let me keep this very simple so you will be able to follow what I say. In 5 minutes, I'm going to call the police. I'm not really going to complain about the noise. But I am going to tell them there is a really funny smell coming out of that house. Get my drift?"
As he slammed down the phone, I heard, “Men! She's gonna call the cops. Get rid of all the stuff NOW!”
After I hung up the phone, I looked for another number. “Hello, is this President....of the...College?
“Yes. Is there a problem?”
“Not really. I asked you to bring the Alpha Lambda Alpha under control. It hasn't happened. I've been thinking, unable to sleep and all, that as long as I was awake, you may as well be also.”
I never knew before how loud a phone that was banged down could be. As he slammed it down in anger, my mood was already lightened. I watched out my window as the next few minutes were vignettes of boys running all around, up and down, in and out. Bumping into each other. Loudly yelling things like: “Did you get the stuff under the cushion on the couch?” “Get the plastic bag out of the toilet tank, man. That's the first place they'll look.” “Go, open all the windows and turn on all the fans.” They were also throwing little packets of white stuff out the windows to fall behind the bushes. They looked like ants whose hill had been smashed: running all around without direction.
Soon it was quiet. The extra boys had all gone home. The frat house lights, slowly, all went off, and peace reigned in our neighborhood.
The next morning, my daughter, age 15, came and told me, “Mom the guys from the frat house are crawling around all over the yard. Especially behind the bushes.
I went and watched out my window a bit. It was a sight I still treasure. Two years later with much quieter parties, they moved all the frat houses to new digs on campus. Ever after, peace reigned on our street.
BATHROOMS I HAVE KNOWN
My first alternate bathroom experience was when I was eight. It was in the Piney Woods of Georgia. While my dad had gone back to college to finish his degree, he and a friend went into business. They jointly bought a bulldozer and offered their services as Atlanta was in a building boom after World War Two. They had a house deep in a pine forest. You could neither see nor hear anyone else.
"Mother, where is the bathroom? I can't find it.
Their friend, Sherry, answered for her, "Go out the front door and look for the little house on the hill."
I heard a muffled snicker work its way around the adults. But, I was clueless, right until I was half way toward the little house. The closer I got, the more overwhelming it became. But when I opened the door! I discovered what they call a "two holer." A Sears catalogue served as toilet paper. Let me tell you, it was a quick run in and out. After that, I raised a ruckus for my dad to find a gas station as we would head to and fro their "place"
The second, and thankfully last time, I had to use a "holer" was in Taiwan. There was an American soldier and his family s is told first, There was an American family stationed on the Eastern side of the island. They were the only Americans there, and were happy to find a place to live that wasn't too bad. I learned then that it doesn't have to smell, not just overwhelming, but not at all.
When we got to Taiwan, a Chinese family was assigned to us: two boys and one girl. The idea was that each would have a Chinese friend. My brother never made the effort to get to know the boys. I preferred the brothers. I still feel slightly guilty as she had been looking forward to discussing styles and girly things. But, the boys and I had bamboo sword fights, races, played cards, and other games.
One day I had to use the "loo," as it was called. (Thanks to the Brisith.) When I walked in, there was only a U shaped stool. When I looked through the hole in the floor, I could see the sewer water rushing through the pipe. Let me tell you I was quick!
The second time I had to use the toilet at their house, they had up graded. Now there was a toilet, but it wasn't hooked up to plumbing. I couldn't see the sewer, but I could hear it.
A few months later, it was a fully working toilet. Isn't civilization wonderful? Please remember that this was just in the earliest 50s. The island of Taiwan had been under Japanese control until 4 years before. They and the rural Chinese had the same standards...apparently in the city also.
The Chinese government built American standard housing in the years ahead, but I've always been glad to have arrived when we still had to live in a Chinese house. By the way, it's owner had been wealthy, so there was good plumbing. And the best in-ground bath tube anyone could ask for: fill 'er up, and either use the step to get in ladylike, or just jump.... but to quote my Mother, I digress.
The next woefully lacking pit stop was in Pakistan. Not our house. It was the house of our dog's vet. He had been educated into veterinary medicine in Edinburgh, Scotland. But, being unmarried when he came back to Lahore to practice, he lived with his parents. When I met him, he was newly engaged.
Then the big day of the wedding came. We were the only Westerners invited. The house sparkled with, it seemed, every twinkling light in that part of Lahore. Mother and I wore Saris, any excuse would have been a good one, but in this instance, we would have been very out of place to be in Western attire. My Sari was peach with large gold trimming, but was pronounced not good enough by other Pakistani friends, the Joshuas. Blossom brought out a black lace Sari, of 3 yards. I was instantly in love with it. Then the discussion followed as to what color to wear as the Choli (top) and underskirt.
"Red peaked through the black most beautifully," was the pronouncement of my friends. So, off the three of us went. Everything was fine until 5 hours later when I "had to go."
I told Mother. Mother told our host. Our host told the head servant. He told the coolie responsible for the bathroom. And thus began the wait.
An hour later, our host came and told us it was impossible to clean it sufficiently. We were the first to leave. On the way home, Mother admitted she was glad it was me who brought it up. After all, when I left, he was still to a friend.
So, which of two to do last? Both were a surprise in their own right.
In the early 2002, we were on a three week tour of China. On the last day, we were in Changquin, from which the "Flying Tigers" had operated their daring raids into mainland China during World War 11. We were stopped at the zoo to see the Pandas. LeRoy and I were tired and had seen the Pandas before. I'd also been to Chinese zoos before, and that was enough of that experience.
Before we'd left the hotel, hours ago, our tour guide had warned us there were no loos until we got to the airport, several hours from then. I asked the bus driver. He laughed, and then pointed to the open access public squat pots.
"Good enough for me." I thought. "At least they flushed. Let's not get picky. So I took some Kleenex and left the bus. Yes, it was unbelievably filthy. Probably not been cleaned since it was put in place years ago. To tell the truth, they must have hosed it down once in a while. But, here's the thing about squat pots: you don't have to physically touch anything. Only the base of my shoes knew the filthy floor, as did the tips of the shoe's toes that were used to flush the handle. And, since it flushed, there was no worse aroma over mingled smells than that which was already wafting through the streets.
Outside of four star hotels that try to make you think you never left the U.S. of A, The Flying Tigers was the most not in-your-face-out of place, for China, gracefully, beautifully done, I've ever seen. It spoke volumes of those very brave, dedicated men who had flown "the Hump" to resupply Generalissimo's Chiang Kai defenses in China.
The door was mahogany, polished to an old shine. The brass hand pad, to push it open, gleamed as if it had just been buffed. The floor was marble, shined to give it almost a glass look. When I walked in, there were three stalls. Each had its own mahogany door with a frosted glass, each engraved with a picture of graceful birds on it. It had a charm that can not be faked. It was quietly inviting. If it'd had a bench, I could have sat for hours. The quiet dedication, fortitude and determination was reflected in the care given this, too, overlooked effort in that war.
Yes, I end with not the worst, but probably the most beautiful, sense of quiet and beauty functional bathroom I've seen anywhere.