This is part 2 of a 2 part series about Pam Walker’s visit to the restored home of the late Miss Helen Dean Rhodes, and her sister, Miss Fannie Wood Rhodes.
Last week I wrote about what I remember about the home of the late Miss Helen Dean Rhodes. Miss Helen was my piano teacher when I was growing up. She was also the conductor of the Rome Symphony.
I had the opportunity to go see her wonderfully restored house, not at all the dilapidated house I remember. The story continues this week with how I remember the house, as well as how it looks these days.
The way I remember it
Miss Helen’s music studio was where all the music lessons were held. An eclectic disarray of clutter, there was sheet music strewn about the room. Violins and violas in their cases were piled about, and in one corner of the studio stood a large glass case filled with music memorabilia. Dusty ceramic figurines lined the mantle, above which hung an enormous, gold-framed mirror. The faded blue floral wallpaper was peeling. The floors, partially covered by a threadbare Persian rug, were dark and dingy.
Miss Beechie’s kitchen
When I came here years ago, of course I never went to the kitchen. Located at the back of the house, there were many sounds coming from the kitchen. I heard the hum of a can opener and supposed Miss Beechie was feeding all those cats. I heard pots and pans rattling and imagined Miss Beechie was making the sisters’ supper. Now the kitchen is large and sunny with plenty of counter space. The floors and the kitchen cabinets have been restored.
Miss Helen’s house these days
The music studio was probably a parlor originally, and in the very spot where Miss Helen’s piano always stood there now stands a rosewood piano. Gone, of course, is all that clutter. Gone is the sheet music. Gone are the stacks of New York Times newspapers. Gone are the violins and violas. Gone is the threadbare Persian rug. Gone is the peeling wallpaper. The walls are now painted and the floors have been cleaned, polished and restored.
There is a dining room on the other side of those formerly closed doors. The dining room, which I never saw years ago, is furnished with a handsome dining room table, chairs and a sideboard.
I was very fascinated with that old house
I used to have a recurring dream in which I was roaming around that old house in the middle of the night and had no idea how I got there.
Having an opportunity to go back to that house and see it restored to its original stateliness was moving.
No longer ramshackle or decrepit, it is a magnificent house and I am delighted to have seen it restored to its original grandeur. The bedrooms upstairs are filled with beautiful antiques. The walls, though probably papered for years, now have a fresh coat of paint. The floors throughout the entire house have been polished and restored. Further, two modern bathrooms have been added upstairs.
Of all the rooms in that house, the one in which I was most interested was that music studio. Through the years I spent many hours there in piano lessons with Miss Helen and I have indelible memories of that music studio. My memories of the way the home used to be are now embellished with images of the first-rate restoration, Miss Helen’s house revisited.