Casement in Point

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I love the coloring of this Mission Hills, San Diego apartment complex. In the mornings and the later evenings, the bright sun has flown over and the green, painted stucco exterior reveals all of its good stuff, from flaws and cracks, to tell-tale imperfections of long ago repairs. 

The building is a mystery. I don't know its name, what used to be there (assuredly, a home or homes), have never seen anyone come or go, and have never seen a garage door open: The structure sits on a corner, surrounded by two existing homes (one at left in photo, and then another behind) so you never get a sense of what the place really looks like besides being a three-story rectangular box. Its placement on the block and it's consistently shut openings make it all terribly mysterious.

The cool thing about this apartment building, as I walk by on the sidewalk below, are the casement windows above my head. We had these hinged, crank windows on one of the homes when I was young and I always found them fascinating. You would need to crank them open or closed, and in our home, several of the hand cranks were missing, so you had to grab one from another window, or even another room, if someone else had needed it last. 

My brother and I would speak of monsters at bedtime; our bedroom casement windows all faced the darkest part of the back yard, and on the east our bedroom looked right out to a giant magnolia tree which at night became larger, more sinister, and enveloped all parts of boyhood sanity, if there were such a thing; the tree tricked us into believing there were frightening things just outside the glass as it swallowed the moonlight and the life and light of neighboring homes.

Cranking these windows closed in the evening was a challenge: Again, to find a handle to reattach and then crank them each shut, but also because it put us right at the cold, dark glass, vulnerable to whatever thing looked back in at us from beneath the tree. We could never crank them closed fast enough.

Today, walking under this San Diego apartment building, I think of our old home, but here now I see nothing frightening about (or just inside) the windows, fully or partially open. Today they are friendly, looking like they are waving to me, moving ever so slightly on their hinges in the slight autumn breeze.