corner view: typical architecture

Author: angiem, 03 23rd, 2010

This is the architecture of my childhood.  The stories behind these walls, the struggles, the joys, the day to day, from the most mundane to the most bizarre, are my inspiration.  My grandmother and my Tante Marie loved to tell stories.  In fact, they had a story for everything.  I remember the time one of my aunts was bemoaning the fact that her daughter was not as beautiful as she.  I was just eight and couldn’t understand what the big deal was.  My aunt was stunning with her movie star looks and tremendous style.  She seldom lacked adoration.  Her daughter was certainly pretty, yet still a child.  It was too early to tell.  I felt they were being unfair.

My Tante pointed to the house down the street, the house where the redheaded woman lived.  It was shuttered and mysterious.  I had tried looking through the courtyard gates’ keyhole into the courtyard so many times, but the keys were always in the lock, blocking any chance of seeing in.  The redheaded woman was a great beauty.  Her daughter was not.  The daughter had tried to strangle herself because of that.

I learned two things that day and regardless how much I tell myself it isn’t so, I still believe them both.  One, a girl’s looks are her dowry, and two, a beautiful mother can be a curse to the less beautiful daughter living in her shadow.

(For more Corner View please visit Jane at #mce_temp_url#)


53 Responses to “corner view: typical architecture”

  1. julie Says:

    Hey Angie
    As usual beautiful writing .. but I find it a bit sad to think that beauty is the pathway to happiness.. Must explain my single status.. hahaha

    That first photo is great.. was trying to work out where it is your family comes from. The yellow building reminded me of Mozart’s House.. but on closer inspection i can see that it’s not.. that is unless ING have an outlet in the facade… good old ING.. i worked for them the last 2 years.. Have a great week.. xx Julie

  2. Mwa Says:

    Tante - you from around here then?

  3. Make Do Style Says:

    Isn’t that so! It really is true, one has to let their daughters blossom xx

  4. French Fancy Says:

    Oh that is so sad. My mother was a beauty and I did not even begin to compare, but I never felt inadequate beside her.

    As for your lovely daughter - she is as gorgeous as you so you need have no fears.


  5. MODsquad Says:

    Oh, I LOVE this post! You could pen an amazing book from these words! Amazing buildings!

    Happy Day!


  6. Kathy Says:

    Amazing story and perhaps you are right.

  7. Ange Says:

    I’m lucky - my daughters are much more beautiful than me!!

  8. Francesca Says:

    I’m not sure. While #1 is more cultural and society related, as a parent I’d like to think #2 not correct, and that no child should live in the shadow of a parent. How nice to see the architecture of your memories and your stories!

  9. Susan R. Mills Says:

    I love the pictures. Unfortunately, I think the lessons you learned that day are true. It shouldn’t be that way, but I’m afraid it is.

  10. Kori Says:

    I love the pictures-and the lessons you learned as a child still stick, don’t they, no matter how often you tell yourself that things are different?

  11. ibabe Says:

    Inspiring story and lovely photos. Thanks for coming to visit, it is a great pleasure to discover your childhood streets

  12. Ötli Says:

    A kind of tale, in a mysterious and beautiful place. Nice post !

  13. kelleyn Says:

    What a sad story. I couldn’t ever imagine trying to kill muself because other people didn’t think my child was cute..

  14. Ma life à moi Says:

    Thank you for your visit I’m delighted to discover your blog and I’ll be back for sure!

  15. kim andersen Says:

    wow what a beautiful place - and such an interesting story! so different from just being a tourist visiting a place - you got the inside scoop :)

  16. deb @ talk at the table Says:

    love these postcards from another time and place .
    My husband’s family is Italian, and listening to the stories, the cultural differences, and the old traditions, is fascinating.

    sometimes I feel the oppressive part, like you eluded too, in the same way my past has it’s , that’s just the way things are parts, and I wonder if our kids’ generation will have any of this in their stories at all. I think life is so completely different now.

  17. pamela Says:

    One cannot deny that on some level, life is often easier for the beautiful. But then, is it more difficult when that beauty begins to fade?

    And mothers and daughters. What a strange competition that one is!

  18. Susan Says:

    Well done. And this was spot-on for my family. My mother was a great beauty. While her four daughters were thought so by others, my mother would protest (in front of us) that, no, “merely cute.” It warped us no end; most likely, no matter how self-aware at least two of us are, in ways we are not yet quite sure of. Friends –especially boyfriends, husbands, brothers-in-law–have been shocked by this dynamic in our family. Only recently did I look at a photograph of the four of us with a fairly new friend. The woman said, “Wow, your parents must be something else!” I didn’t say much. Someday, I’ll tell her.


    PS: I love the photographs…I was thinking just last night the relation between Romanian & Italian languages. The colors here are similar too. (Though I am in no way saying the Italian is superior–never. My Romanian friends keep me grounded in reality:)

  19. Nancy C Says:

    When I realized that beauty does matter, it was a little freeing because I realized that I needed to work harder on my other qualities and release the idea of “fairness.”

  20. Stephanie Faris Says:

    That would be tough. Growing up, I saw people go through that. Having to hear, “Your mom is beautiful” everywhere they went. Imagine having a crush on someone and having him more interested in staring at your mom than you.

  21. Victoria @ Hibiscus Bloem Says:

    Beautiful coloured buildings. Sad story behind them though. Where is this town? Do you have some dutch connection - Tante of course I recognise as I live in Holland. So interested to know more.

  22. Sabine Says:

    As a mother I’d like to point out that the mother has a great influence how pretty and attractive a daughter feels… Loving your stories, Angie.

  23. rochambeau Says:

    Dear Angie,
    Wonderful essay. It’s probably impossible for me to comment accurately, since I’m not a mother. Yet, as a daughter and citizen of the world…… I believe many things are better left unsaid. Words are powerful and can create suffering.
    Best to think first about how I would feel before saying anything. Each human being is beautiful for many reasons. Each one is beautiful in a unique way.

    I always come away with ideas and things to ponder after reading your writing and thoughts. Thank you !


  24. Sharon Says:

    lovely pictures and interesting story…but the best part is left out: where is it!? such a beautiful place where you grew up!

  25. She Writes Says:

    I hope a woman’s brain is her dowry, but now her beauty makes way for her brain too often.

  26. She Writes Says:

    “KNO’W” is what I meant, not “now”

  27. Mary Moon Says:

    I am thinking about the movie Chocolate.

  28. Christie Says:

    I love to read your posts. You should write a book!

    For me, I am glad that my daughter is more beautiful that I.

  29. Ocean Girl Says:

    Oh I love stories in the neighbourhood. And everyone knows everyone. Your childhood buildings are beautiful and nostalgic.

    Thank you for sharing.

  30. mrsbear Says:

    Amazing the things overheard in childhood can make such a profound impact on a person. It’s also a shame that something as superficial and fleeting can determine the worth of a girl, even at such an early age. My mother was very young, divorced and very beautiful when I was growing up. I think I always resented her for all three.

  31. Annabel Says:

    A sad story with a good lesson. Love the pics.

  32. Dana Says:

    But Angie. . . where is it? France? With a “Tante” it must be France, right?

  33. Lena M. Says:

    Oh là! Did I love this post, Angie…

    Beauty… Well… sometimes I wonder what would happen if I looked different than I do… Some people have suggested that I get more opportunities than others because of my looks…

    I was always told I’m beautiful…

    If I had a choice I would prefer people talking to me about my brains… Beauty can be embarrassing… To me at least…

    Lots of hugs…

  34. Juniper Says:

    I enjoyed your story from childhood but sad that something so superficial can be seen to be your dowry, I am lucky that I have two healthy beautiful daughters, although the one who may be seen to have less beauty has the charm to win the heart of the most bitter person and the one of beauty has a temper to match her glamour. We shall see how their life paths unfold. I think though that I shall do as my mother did and never speak of their beauty, I think I heard it once in my life from my father, of the pride of his three beautiful daughters but that was enough. My mother never said a word but she would complement a dress or a pair of shoes we were wearing and the sparkle in her eye was enough. Yes, on our wedding day she did say something.

  35. Theresa Says:

    You are a good storyteller.

  36. Sarah Laurence Says:

    You tell a story beautifully, but the message is ugly. The lesson I learned growing up was that a woman’s success in life depends on her intelligence, her education and on her ability to work hard for what she wants. Marriage brings happiness, but it should be an equal match based on true love. Where did you grown up?

  37. Bunny Says:

    So sad to always be judged on our looks and to have to live up to a mother’s beauty. I only have sons and in this respect it is so much easier. The pressure girls are under is unbearable . Great post.

  38. Diane Says:

    I would love to see your family tree. I feel like we get little snippets of everyone and wonder how they all fit in together.

    Maybe if the mother knew she was more beautiful and it affected the daughter so, she could have uglied herself up a little until her daughter was more mature to handle reality of life as it is. Just a thought.

  39. rosamaría Says:

    great post! love old histories (even the not so fairy tales kind) where is that beautiful place?

  40. Phoenix Says:

    Sorry I haven’t visited in so long…

    Beautiful photos. Sad story. Shouldn’t a mother tell her daughters everyday how lovely they are? What a topsy-turvy world where we build our lives with the beauty that fades the fastest…

    Hope you’ve been well!

  41. Holly L Says:

    The photos are just simply amazing. The colors and charm of the street and building. Thank you, thank you for sharing.

    The story is so sad..I an hardly imagine the pain of the poor girl.

  42. Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita Says:

    I love your photos and the way you tell your stories!

  43. La Belette Rouge Says:

    Both my parents were “beautiful people” and they made it clear that I wasn’t one of them.

    That typical architecture is certainly untypical in my world. A sad story that was, as always, told beautifully.

  44. Maggie May Says:

    such gorgeous photos, and such interesting writing. love this post.

  45. Susu Paris Chic Says:

    This is a delicate subject… nevertheless utterly important. Causing suicide attemps at times, like you mentioned. How very sad!

    All women struggle with accepting our looks. Yet we should all do so. Now it is easier said if our appearance confines to the common beauty standanrds of the society. But… still… let’s all try to encourage each other to glow as we are today. 10 lbs. too much or not. You are beautiful as you are today Angie, I’m so sure! Those ten pounds less will not make you any more attractive in the eyes of people who really love you. If they’ll go aways, fine. If not, just keep on glowing and living your wonderfully gorgeous and pretty life, dear You!

    Have a blessed weekend!

  46. Jena Says:

    What a tragedy! You tell the story of a house so well. It’s sad at all that happens between four walls.

  47. jane Says:

    love how you combined the beautiful architecture with your stories. la plaza is spectacular:)

  48. Kari Says:

    oh the lessons to be learnt.
    great photos and thanks for sharing.

  49. audrey Says:

    i’m learning now about all that comes with being beautiful, as well as what goes along with not being pretty in a physical way. i’m learning so late because i thought it did not matter, the heart is what matters. but as we live in a world that worships youth and beauty, one can’t help but wake up to it…

  50. la ninja Says:

    they WERE being unfair but, as you said, difficult to get rid of that sort of stuff you hear and end up believing as a kid. we still are being rather unfair about that sort of thing.

    love the colours in the pics though :)

  51. joanne Says:

    I love the tints in your photos, and the way you tell a story through multi-colored glasses:))

  52. liliana Says:

    Angie, ai crescut in Brasov? Este Piata Sfatului in fotografie, nu? Imi plac extraordinar de mult posturile tale!

  53. Bebe Says:

    That is where fairy tales are made. Looks like out of a disney movie.

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