The Front Room

thefrontThe ultimate symbol of the respectable home, The Front Room. It was room I never went into except to practice the piano, and on rare occasions, a special visitor ushered in, or infrequent family gatherings. I walked past its closed door several times a day but it never occurred to me to open the firmly shut door. The rarely sat upon sofa and one easy chair draped with antimacassars. Pictures on the wall. One I remember being titled 'The The That Binds'. The piano, its top crowned with several laced edged dollies, on each of them rested photograph frames, and in one special instance, a plaster bust of Harry Lauder presented to my grandfather, inside of its hollow a small roll of thick paper: "From Harry Lauder to Wee Tommy Maguire". Other treasured knick-knacks completed the ensemble.

A fireplace, but I can only recall it being lit, very rarely indeed. It was an intimidating space in which I did not feel at ease. A slightly musty small reinforced the notion that this was a space to be entered with an appropriate degree of quiet, church-like, respect. I sure the current view would be one of derision, not utilising perhaps fifty percent of the potential ground floor living space. But, for an older generation, ownership, and proper care, of a nicely appointed Front Room, represented a system of values that were considered to be of great importance and visibly defined their place in society.