The opening passage of Randall Jarrell’s book, Fly By Night, is a lengthy description of the road traveled to reach a certain house in Greensboro, North Carolina. I don’t have in front of me but it reads something like:
Somewhere after the Target . . . no, not that Target, the other one. No, the new one . . . is a house set back in the woods in a subdivision. It’s possible you’d miss it if you blinked, but since it’s bright screaming green with yellow trim it’s likely it’ll manage to sear through your eyelids. And something about a window seat where you can watch the birds play in the ivy, or you could, maybe, if the landscaping had been kept up and the bushes weren’t sixteen feet tall and had overgrown the windows, although it’s probably for the best they have as there would otherwise be an excellent view of the road and the teenage girl from somewhere down the road has nearly plowed into your car in her clunk-o-beater twice today and it’s not even noon yet.
I might be paraphrasing. We have a copy of the book, but I can’t find it. It’s probably in one of the boxes we have yet to unpack as we move into that very house.
Randall Jarrell was the 11th Poet Laureate of the United States. He resided in Greensboro for the later part of his life and taught at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He and his wife, Mary von Schrader Jarrell, built their dream home back in 1958. At the time it was built, it must have been one of the nicest houses in Greensboro.
Brown and I took possession of the property in May. The structure is in fantastic shape, with a new roof, a new AC unit, fresh paint (oy), and all those other nifty little housing maintenance details that suck your money straight out of your wallet. In terms of cosmetic appearance, however, the property needs about sixty years’ worth of aggressive surgery. The process promises to be time-consuming, resource-intensive, and hilarious, so we are keeping a blog.