|Front of tile shingle|
After a Strawberry Daqueri or two, conversation changed to local history and other Florida related topics. We talked about my future, what I wanted out of life and things that interested me. Through this converation with Sharon, I learned some things about myself. I learned that architecture, particularly old architecture, travel, and history were much bigger interests of mine than I had ever thought they were.
It was at just about this time, that she excused herself from the porch saying that she would be right back. As I waited for her return, my mind raced with images of Downtown Sanford and Enterprise, as well as architure in Europe. I don't know how long Sharon was gone, but when she came back she was carrying what looked like a long skinny piece of slate. It was gray in color and I noticed that it had been pained on the front. She explained that she had picked it up at a yard sale for a dollar. She handed it to me and told me to check it out. The edges were very rough, almost sharp, and I felt the need to handle it carefully as to not cut my hands.
It was a very simple painting; a building with a second story porch, some greenery, a light hanging from a lampost, and a horse and buggy. At the bottom, the artist had painted "New Orleans 1980". Sharon told me to flip it over. I did, and saw that there was a write-up that looked like it had been typed on a manual typewriter, on rather yellowed paper attached to a piece of cardboard which in turn had been attached to the piece of slate. Mesmerized, I began reading...
IN 1718, NEW ORLEANS WAS FOUNDED BY JEAN BIENVILLE. ALL BUILDINGS WERE BUILT OF WOOD WITH WOODEN SHINGLES ON THE ROOFS.
LOUISIANA WAS ACQUIRED BY THE SPANISH GOVERNMENT IN 1762 AND FLOURISHED UNDER VARIOUS SPANISH GOVERNORS. IN 1788 UNDER SPANISH GOVERNOR DON E. MIRO, THERE WAS A MASSIVE FIRE WHICH DESTROYED 700 HOUSES, PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND THE ST. LOUIS CATHEDRAL. ALTHOUGH THE CITY WAS REBUILT, ANOTHER FIRE IN 1794 DESTROYED OVER TWO HUNDRED BUILDINGS.
Back of tile shingle
BARON de CARONDELET, WHO INQUIRED ABOUT THESE FIRES, WAS INFORMED THAT WOODEN SHINGLES BURNED AND SPREAD FIRE QUICKLY. HE THEN SENT TO HAVANA FOR SUPPLIES AND ORDERED FUTURE BUILDINGS BE CONSTRUCTED OF BRICK OR ADOBE AND ROOFED WITH TILE.
HENCE, THESE TILE SLATES WERE PUT ON THE OLD FRENCH QUARETER - VIEUX CARRE BUILDINGS FROM THAT DAY FORWARD. THIS SLATE IS 100-200 YEARS OLD AND YOU CAN SEE THE HOLDS WHERE THEY WERE NAILED TO THE ROOF AND WAS REMOVED FROM TOSE BUILDINGS FOR VARIOUS REASONS.
HAND PAINTED ON VERY OLD SLATES FROM ROOFTOPS OF OLD FRENCH QUARTER BLDGS. VIEUX CARRE , NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANAI finished reading and looked up at Sharon. She said two words to me, "Take it!" I couldn't believe she was giving this to me. Why wouldn't she want to keep this for herself? She told me that when we were discussing history and architecture, there was an excitement about me that she hadn't seen in me in a long time. I instantly thanked her, took the slate to my car, and enjoyed the rest of my afternoon with her.
I'm not quite sure where to hang it yet, but I know that I want it displayed. Something about holding something in my hands that is potentially 200 years old is amazing to me. This also makes me think more about where my life is headed, or better yet, where it could be headed. Time will tell all, but I definitely can feel that there is durastic change in the air, and that it's coming my way!