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Sunday At Dad’s House, In The Water Feature

On Sunday, after shopping in the morning, we went up and had lunch at my father’s house. The day was beautiful – blue sky, oak trees, lizards running between rocks.

My stepmother made soup for lunch. We sat and ate in the breakfast nook. As in many houses with formal dining rooms, it’s common in High WASP houses to have a place to sit and eat in the kitchen. Blue and white is a common color scheme, with yellow, or red, as accent. Those are photos of the grandchildren, and the dog, on the cabinets in the back.

After lunch, we went and sat in the hot tub. High WASPs like water features. Sometimes that’s an ocean. Sometimes a fountain. In the San Francisco Bay Area, for the most part, we’re talking swimming pools. Black-bottomed, these days, unheated until summer time, with a pool cover that rolls into its hiding place under the edge.

I’m a little scared of the pool cover. As though I might get caught underneath. I don’t know why.

This is the view from the hot tub. Where my kids and I sat, and talked, and watched the day pass. The pool was way too cold to swim in – heat is very tough on dwindling family fortunes. The hot tub felt perfect.

The sky was really the color of that little bit of blue in the corner.

When we got out, we went through my dad’s old ties. I had asked him to bring them out to see if he still had the Liberty of London one we gave him in 1968. Long gone, apparently. So my dad chose which ones he wanted to keep, we picked some out for my son, and threw the rest away. Dad told the story of how he was the first administrator at the university where he spent his career to come to the office without a tie. Maybe that’s why he moved to California, originally, leaving Park Avenue and New Jersey behind. Never did like ties.

Doesn’t every dad keep his ties on a hanger, and own at least one with a large, silly, smiling something on it? High, not High, WASP, not WASP? My father had one with the sun, in sunglasses. Seemed appropriate, in context of the day. The red gingham might be culturally specific, but, you know, moths, the passage of time, and all that.

*In case you are newish here, and are wondering why I have suddenly gone off my rocker and started a show and tell of family visits, when I ran a blog questionnaire recently, the most requested category was house style. The ties are an extra special bonus.

31 Responses

  1. Almost my entire house is decorated in green and gold, my favorite colors, with a touch of burgundy here and there. But you make me want a blue and white kitchen.

    I love water, and miss our pool in Texas something fierce.

  2. Sounds like a lovely day. I have those soup bowls – unfortunately, not the hot tub or pool.

  3. My dad wore a tie each day to work (NYC) and I loved to watch him tie it. Still do when the occasion arises.
    Lovely yard.

  4. Ties are so sentimental to me. I wish I had some of my dad's. Wonder where they ended up??? I do have most of my husband's. My daughter has entertained the idea of having a purse made of her dad's ties. I have seen them. Some are lovely; some are horrendous. Just like the ties ;-) Lovely yard!! xoxo

  5. Sounds like a perfect day and the pool looks fine. Love the tie with the sun wearing shades. I'm ready for some of that sunshine!

  6. My kitchen (and the one before it) features much blue. And I've got the water feature — but obviously not the gardener . . . what beautiful landscaping!
    My husband is soon retiring from the job that he wears his ties to, and I'm wondering how much he'll force himself into one in future. Too bad — I love ties — such lustrous colours, wonderful prints! Have a hard time throwing them out, but really, there are only so many projects one can undertake with beautiful strips of silk . . .

  7. Now I get it! Now I understand why everyone likes my personal stories… I think I am being a bore… but I read yours… your personal story of a very ordinary day which is anything but ordinary. Bring 'em on baby!!!!!

  8. Hi LPC,

    I'm loving these pics! Love to see how others, including high wasps live. What a gorgeous home or is it an estate?


  9. We are all about the vintage ties here at the Prepatorium, the collection is frighteningly large, but oh-so-fun. Thanks for sharing a few from your father's closet. :)

  10. Thanks everyone. The vintage ties were a high point, and I hope my son gets lots of mileage from them. TP, maybe you should have a show:). My father and stepmother do have great gardens, but they live in a house, just a house, albeit a nice one up in the hills.

  11. Ooh, that is a nice pool. A gingham tie, huh? I don't think I've seen that before. Wrong circles?

  12. Your dad has some cool ties!

    My dad was one of those nerdy guys who wore a pocket protector and a slide rule on his belt. Fashion was not his thing, so clip-on ties were his sartorial choice. I didn't know that there were ties that had to be tied until I was a teenager!

  13. Is it weird, that my take on this entire post is how much I love the salad bowl????

  14. My father wore a tie everyday to work and even well into his retirement…I do not remember a Liberty Silk one….your father's abode conjures up visions of opulence……

  15. Hello, I love your dad and step mum's home-they have a lovely garden. Mr FF wears a tie and suit to work everyday and has a few Liberty ones. I bought him a silk Men's hanky form Liberty when I was in London in 2003…Meanwhile please provide a definition of Wasp and High Wasp…and go to Seattle and visit Pho Fuchsia, and steal me a menu.

  16. Yes, your Dad's ties are cute! Made me miss my Dad, who always wore a bow tie (except to funerals). He said, "A bow tie is the sign of a happy man". Also, the bow did not interfere with examinations (Dad was a doc).

  17. Dear Skye,

    No offense: (Are you nervous yet?) Why didn't you take a couple of the ties to use as belts? Surely there were some in there that complement and compliment your esthetic.

    Can you still grab the red and white gingham?

    My father always wore bow-ties too, Duchesse. I like what your father said about them being a sign of a "happy man" I cannot remember one moment when he wasn't smiling at me.

    Sorry, I digress. Whatever you do, Skye, is always perfect, so thank you. The pool looks sooo inviting.


  18. 24 – The salad bowl is my stepmother's. I like it too. I have to ask her the story. There is one. And it appears that for everyone men's ties are as evocative as women's jewelry. Which makes total sense. I've never been able to do ties as belts, too Artsy for me. I even bought a Ferragamo belt MADE of a scarf, and can barely pull that off:). Gingham is definitely part of the culture…

  19. What a lovely pool and garden area. I could totally bask in the sun (with 50 SPF and a wide brim hat, and maybe a towel to cover most of my skin) by that pool.

    When my dad went to visit my sister at her bohemian prep boarding school, wearing a tweed sport coat, a silk tie, and sporting his "Continental" accent, everyone thought he was some European aristocrat. He's not. He is from South Carolina.

  20. The picture of the pool and all the bushes and trees and flowers looks incredible. Nothing like what we have here. Indeed, the sky is so blue!

  21. I love the idea of a "Continental" accent. Metscan, do consider a vacation in California some day. My Swedish stepfather retired here, in Santa Barbara, after one too many Scandinavian winter.

  22. Our first Connecticut home had a dining room which we almost never used. We ate at the kitchen table, which was in a nook-like space with a bay window that looked onto our small garden.
    I remember the wallpaper was bright orange and yellow sunflowers in a 70s-type pattern.

  23. I do enjoy the ties. I have a small revolving rack the my Grand Dad had made for his ties, the problem that I have is keeping the cat from jumping up to play with my ties.
    Always Bumby

  24. Oh! Your post on the Liberty Collection at Target made me think of the Liberty pocket squares and scarves my parents gave me – then this about the Liberty ties! My Dad gave away most of his ties when he retired. I snagged all the Liberty ties for my husband, who wears a tie once a year, maybe. Oh well, tie fail.

  25. LOL at your footnote! I loved this insight into your beautiful fair weather Sunday! Now, picture the grey of a wet otter's back. That's London sky for you.


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