Is there a doctor (Seuss) in the house?
Readers were first introduced more than two years ago to Dr. Seuss’ contribution to Harrison County architecture. It is now better known as ‘Chuck’s House,’ a distinction that flatters me too much.
No, I’m just the caretaker. The Dr. Seuss House belongs to all of Harrison County, and that’s why I feel obligated to disclose a few changes I’ve made.
The blank canvas left me by Dr. Theodor Seuss Geisel, author of such works as ‘One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish’ and ‘Hooray for Diffendoofer Day,’ is as rich in character as the books he penned. It has few right angles, few level surfaces, and few of any common measurements for that matter.
Seuss, you genius. I cursed the kitchen floor for its bowl shape, until I spilled milk and it pooled neatly in the middle. And that strangely vaulting ceiling above the shower, the highest in the house, seemed completely illogical until I began juggling in my tub.
And so I’ve found that everything unique in the Dr. Seuss House serves a purpose, even if that purpose has not yet been revealed to me.
But when it fell into my care, its white walls were decidedly plain. I took this as a message from Doc. I was invited to add a personal touch. And so I painted. And as with many things, it began in the bedroom.
There was a picture that reminded me of the plains of Africa on the back of a painting kit complete with instructional video. I tossed the video aside and with oddly specialized rollers and three colors of paint set out to create that sunny Serengeti.
I painted like Pollock. After a few days my walls looked like schizophrenia. Had I been even the mildest epileptic, a glance would’ve triggered a seizure. It was a hopelessly sleepless bedroom.
Assistants came and we painted in shifts, and though I’m pretty sure the square footage in the room suffered as a result of many coats of paint, the safari walls now look as though ‘ if one were to focus ‘ a tiger might be seen creeping along stealthily.
I moved to the living room at a time when I was reading a lot of Edgar Allan Poe. Do not shop for groceries when hungry and do not home decorate when reading Poe.
A color called dark ivy enshrouds the walls and ceilings now. It’s so dark and dense that it could cover the sun in one coat. After the painting was finished, I was leaving my home when I saw a green, cushioned chair at the curb.
I picked it up and carried it into my home and the green room. Another chair came. I took it. And then a couch. It was perfect. I took it, too. I waited for a coffee table or perhaps an armoire, but nothing else appeared. Still, what a magical curb.
In the utility room is a doorknob that is positioned approximately 18 inches from the floor. The door to the room of Thing One and Thing Two draws a great deal of attention. So I painted this room next. It’s a very thorough red. Ceiling, too. Which matches their red jumpsuits. I’ve often been asked why its red, and now you have the answer. Tell my mom, will you?
The kitchen remained white and the bathroom gray. But the second bedroom is three colors in all, which makes the square room with no right angles look like a rectangle.
The Dr. Seuss House is hardly complete. I was thinking, for example, of adding a fish tank complete with a school of Australia Fish. And visitors could coo at the baby fish in their pouches.
There’s much more yet to be done. But don’t think it’s greed that motivates my work. It’s difficult to appreciate the value of the already priceless architecture of Dr. Seuss.