YK’s 365 Release: Day 328

When I lived in Durham, NC during college and afterward, I rented spacious rooms in even more grandiose houses. The houses were 3, 4, 5 stories high with several bathrooms, living rooms, dining rooms, laundry rooms, decks, front and back yards with wraparound porches. I spent a lot of times on various and sundry porches, creating community with neighbors, passersby and friends. We would play cards, someone would take out their guitar (someone always had a guitar, and there were so many independent musicians in Durham), we would get a bottle of red wine and tell stories until late in the evening. The porches were my favorite parts of these homes not only because you could be outside and kind of inside simultaneously, but it is where countless socializing was born. Whether you had sofas, chairs with tables, rocking chairs or even just the railing to lean on, the porch gave me the feeling close to standing on a beach, looking out into the ocean.

These old homes were built almost entirely out of wood and I remember someone telling me that they were carpenter’s homes, most of which had built-in bookcases with ingenious breakfast nooks and attic spaces. The wood floors always creaked, the wooden framed windows always leaked and were cumbersome to open and close. And the houses that were being rented were always lacking fresh coats of exterior paint and sometimes pieces of wood on various places on the house would rot and fall off.

The winters in the South are moderate compared to the winters up North, and the houses are built only for such tempered weather. A Durham house wouldn’t make it through a New York winter. Most of the homes ran on central gas heating, but because they were colossal cavernous houses constructed almost entirely out of aging and disintegrating wood, it took hours to heat the homes and they could not hold in the heat. I remember some days it was colder in the house than outside of it.

To solve this problem partially, many people used space heaters. One winter, I remember a council leader (who was of course white) on the television speaking the worst Spanish I had ever heard. He was trying to communicate to the Latino population in North Carolina about how they should not burn charcoal inside of their homes. He kept on saying, in a thick Southern accent, “Mooooweee toxi-coh.” Several Latino folk had died from carbon monoxide inhalation that winter. (I’ll go into the extreme racism and classism in Durham another day). What could be a mild winter up North could prove fatal down South.

I was blessed enough to discover the magic of an electric blanket. So though I wore my jacket around the house during the day, at night, I was assured warmth at least for my sleeping hours. I guess those winters must have traumatized me a bit, because I still have that electric blanket. After I left Durham, I haven’t had to use it because where I lived in California never got that cold, and New York apartments are overheated by excessive radiators in the winter.

Today on Day 328 of my 365 Release practice for non-attachment, letting go and change, I am giving away this electric blanket that symbolized heat, and therefore survival. I am letting go of the winters of the past. May the recipient have warm winter nights and safety.


[I created the 365 Release Project to practice non-attachment, letting go and change by giving away 1 thing a day for 1 year. The background, vision and guidelines to the 365 RELEASE project are here. The running list of everything I have released is here.]

2 responses to “YK’s 365 Release: Day 328”

  1. […] aging and deteriorating wood so the insides were often colder than the temperature outside (see yesterday’s entry for more on Durham houses). The roads were too dangerous to travel by vehicle so people […]

  2. […] Day 328 (8/1/11): electric blanket [preparedness] […]

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