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June 1999 Issue
A Novel Story
by Jenny Wojcik
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Once upon a time there were cavemen, named aptly for their dwellings. A cave is a cave is a cave, and therefore each underground chamber looked pretty much the same. Then one day the caveman decided that he wanted his digs to be more than your run-of-the-mill-subterranean-passageway. He wanted his home to be a bit more personal. Being good at most things, the caveman decided he could do some sprucing up and discovered that if he used a stick that had been seared over a roaring fire, he could make marks on the cave walls. What he soon realized was that he could make lasting impressions on his wall with the stick. (Pretty cool.) He could draw things that he’d seen, hunted or eaten like bear or elk. He could make all sorts of images by using just his imagination and a hot stick.

Why did he bother, you ask? This caveman wanted to know that if some other Neanderthal walked in, he would immediately know that he was in the wrong place. This cave was occupied and cared for, and by the caveman’s marks on the wall, it was evident that this was a home to someone. I’d even go so far as to say that if we had known that caveman, we would have immediately recognized the cave as his. Why? Because he reflected his life, his activities, his interests and literally who he was by his marks on the wall. And by doing so (at least for this story) that caveman discovered interior decorating.

If someone walked into your home, what could they tell about who you are? Perhaps they’d say you were tidy, generous and you must really like white. Or perhaps they’d say you were artistic, fun loving and liked to make people comfortable. Would they know immediately that you enjoyed reading or music or candlelight? (If it’s an important part of who you are, they should know it.)

Where you live, how you live and what your home looks like says a lot about who you are. Marketers know that. That’s why once you answer one survey, you get others. Once you purchase a book or video online, you’ll probably get information about "like" books or videos. The why here is easy. You don’t normally spend money on the things that you don’t like.

In America, we’re always being lumped into one category or another, whether its age, race, sex or economic status. (I hate that, but so far I haven’t figured out a way to change it.) We’re categorized by region, by state, by city, by street, by phone exchange, by whether or not we own and use a computer, the number of televisions we have, and on and on. Questionnaires always say, "Check the appropriate box" and then give some inane categories of age, income, race, sex etc. Even though most of these are now "optional" by law, they’re there and people complete them. And as soon as you do, you have "lumped" yourself and whatever you have just reported into a category.

While that isn’t the worst fate I guess, it does take away your individuality, and to me that’s a real waste.

I like knowing that there is no other person in the entire world who is exactly like me. Think about that. There is no other person in the world that is exactly like you! That’s way cool. So the fact that we’re "categorized" may give us some indications that we’re alike in some respects, but we need to remember that we are different.

You have no doubt read, or at least heard that men are from somewhere and women are from someplace (better). That’s only the beginning. We are individuals whether we like it or not. While we spent our teenage years trying to be like everyone else, we were really just frazzling our parents’ collective nerves. We might have worn the same styles, but that’s where it ended because we were and are different.

Unlike the cavemen, we don’t all have cookie cutter homes. Some of us live in houses, some in apartments, and some in lofts, walk-ups, duplexes or modular homes. We prefer different parts of the world, different automobiles, different clothing styles. While we may all worship the same higher power, we call on her by different names; Buddha, Allah, Jehovah, God. So while we share some commonalties, we exercise our expressions differently.

If you remember nothing else, remember that what you surround yourself with -- just like what you choose to wear -- speaks volumes about who you are and what you are like. There’s no universal style and I like that. I would like to think that you relish your individuality. Reflect who you are by how you keep your home -- it’ll give you a very personal style.

DÉCOR DATA: NEWS TO USE

    There are 4 basic design "styles": Traditional, Country, Contemporary and Eclectic. Traditional style is classic, timeless and always reflects quality craftsmanship. It reigns through the decades, combining period furniture, luxurious fabric and rich colors which create an elegant and formal design that never goes "out of style". Next time, we’ll check out Country!



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