Lighted Windows and Home

Painted in Waterlogue
All her life lighted windows had fascinated her.

Snow has fallen and chilled the air. Even with hats, gloves, scarves, and wool coats, we walk quickly to stay warm as we trek through the neighborhood and view Christmas lights. When it’s cold like this, homes look warmer than usual, lights glowing in windows, lawns dappled with reflected color. Lighted windows… Emilie Loring loved them.


The lighted windows of the house seemed like bright, kindly eyes looking down upon her.          Uncharted Seas

“Those lighted windows in the red brick look like brilliant eyes watching for us. Nice old house.”              “I love it. Always feel like patting it as I pass.” Hilltops Clear

207 W Springfield
The lighted windows of Emilie’s youth

It takes a happy childhood to think of home that way, to see lights glowing in house windows and feel welcomed. From age four to eighteen, Emilie lived with her family in a red brick home on West Springfield Street in Boston. Emilie’s lively father brought home actors and authors, amateur dramas and literature, and her mother was the calm balance wheel who kept everyone warm, fed, and comforted. So strong was the meaning of home for Emilie that she felt its pull everywhere.

Instinctively she looked up. Were her eyes deceiving her or were those stars? Stars, like a million lighted windows. They gave a sense of home glowing through the darkness, sent her courage soaring like a captive balloon let loose. All her life lighted windows had fascinated her. In the city at twilight she would pass them slowly, imagining what was going on behind them. Always to her they suggested home-coming men, someone calling, “Is that you, dear?” That had been her mother’s gay, tender greeting to her men-folk. Mother. She seemed very near out here under the stars. Lighted Windows

Emilie pursued plenty of her own activities, achieved ambitions in the women’s club movement, Arts & Crafts, and eventually, a full-time career as a world-famous author. But she loved and defended homemaking without apology, both for men and for women.

“I would rather make the kind of home my mother made, which was an inspiration to everyone who came into it, made a tired man stand a little straighter when he entered it, than do anything else.” Hilltops Clear

Lighted Windows wprIn the novel Lighted Windows, bachelor engineer Bruce Harcourt creates a homey log cabin appointed with civilized amenities in the wilds of Alaska.

How the instinct of home-making persisted everywhere… Bruce Harcourt and the sick boy planning and building a cabin in this wilderness. Bruce mushing back to headquarters through the snow, sensing home behind the lighted windows of the H-house. Lighted Windows

Boston 2003
Gas light in front of Emilie Loring’s Beacon Hill home

As beautiful as lights can be, especially at this time of year, we sense the difference between flashy displays and tender ones, lights for show and lights of warmth and love. Perhaps this was amplified for Emilie, who grew up with the cozy ambience of candle and lamp light.

Lights in house windows beaconed a steady welcome to home-comers. What individuality there was in lights the girl thought. Those across the river seemed entirely municipal and commercial, those on the boats carried a silent warning, those in the windows seemed warmly human. The Trail of Conflict

If you have the chance, bundle up and take a walk some evening soon.  Enjoy the stars, the brisk air, and the lighted windows.

“See the lights springing up in the houses, see how the shapes of things are beginning to lose their sharpness of outline? I love twilight, love lighted windows. They are like the welcoming eyes of a home.” With Banners 

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