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I heard the voice of May Sarton. “What about Rumley?” she asked. “Why are you ignoring Rumley?”

May Sarton, a well-known writer and poet whose words inspired me to write about our previous house, Simplicity, continued. “You no longer live in Simplicity. This is home. Have you given Rumley the same attention as Simplicity? Have you asked him what he has to tell you?”

While it felt like being scolded by an old friend, I knew Ms Sarton spoke with confronting honesty. The simple answer was no. I had not asked Rumley anything. The truth was that I had moved into this house still writing and living the stories of Simplicity. The focus was on the book, not on Rumley. While thrilled to be in this new space that was perfect for us, my attachment to Simplicity still lingered. Edits, publicity, proofs kept me connected to Simplicity, but now that the book was in print, the question was a fair one. Who is Rumley and what does he have to share?

Let’s begin with his name.

We began calling him Rumley when we were differentiating between the two houses. When talking about ‘the house’, did we mean Simplicity the house we were selling or the house on Rumley Run we were buying? Rumley became a point of reference.

We had every intention to name this new house. Especially after such a wonderful experience with Simplicity. We explored names from our ancestral heritage, thought metaphorically and artistically, came up with names of places we had visited, tried out both clever and sensible names. While the list was long with considerations that I can no longer remember, this house rejected every single one! “Rumley,” he said each time we vocalized a possible name. While I do happen to like the name, any house on Rumley Run could be called the same. Yet, he was insistent. After a time, Don and I gave into his demands and grew to not only accept the name but found it a perfect match.

You may have noticed that I refer to Rumley as ‘he’. If you read my book, A House Named Simplicity, you know that Simplicity was a ‘she’. How does one tell the gender of a house, you might be wondering? This is the best reasoning I can offer. Rumley is dressed in the traditional boy colors of blue and gray, dark blue siding and interior gray-ish walls. Simplicity was dressed in soft yellow. Sexist classification, I know. Perhaps the gender nod had more to do with the strong differences between the two. If one had been a ‘she’ then most certainly the opposite was a ‘he’. Rumley’s architectural line has more angles and open spaces. Simplicity was composed of cozy, small rooms. Don and I knew that what we put into Rumley was going to be different than Simplicity’s décor. Rumley said contemporary. Simplicity said vintage. While classic rugs and paisley prints suited Simplicity, Rumley shunned such patterns. Antiques suited Simplicity. Rumley said no way.

That is how he became a ‘he’ named Rumley. While finding him stubborn around his name, he has been patient in letting us find ourselves within his spaces. Hearing May Sarton’s voice was timely. I will be asking him lots of questions in the next days, months, and years. Wonder what he will have to say? Stay tuned.

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