View full size photos in all of their glory at the end of this post.
Marianne McCann’s home presented several challenges for me, and I do love challenges. But before we get into the photos and her house, I’m going to say a few things. I want to make this blog about the residents and their homes, but inevitably my own viewpoints and opinions will be here as well, it seems. I’m okay with that.
Mari is another friend who volunteered her home to me. She’s someone who has taught me an important lesson that has had an impact on me in all worlds. I think of myself as a tolerant and accepting person. In Second Life, where we can choose to be whoever and whatever we want, I accept people as they present themselves. If you’re a bunny, then I think of you as a bunny. If you’re a mermaid, I’ll see you as a mermaid. I respect that our virtual world gives us the opportunity to express sides of ourselves that we often don’t have the opportunity to express in the Real World. I don’t think much about the typist that lives in the Real World, unless you bring them into the conversation. I respect the typist and their connection to the avatar, but I view you as you are inworld.
In Second Life, Mari is an 8-year-old child. I don’t relate well to children in any world; children make me uncomfortable. Children in adult oriented places make me very uncomfortable, and from day one of rezzing on Noob Island, SL has been an adult oriented space for me. Honestly, my entire life is an adult oriented space. And I don’t know the person behind Mari’s avatar. I know they’re a kind person, but beyond that – I only know Mari as the child she is inworld.
And so, when my path crossed with Mari’s years ago, I was uncomfortable. I ignored her, I didn’t engage with her, and I tried my best to pretend she wasn’t around. And it’s not as if we met at adult clubs or the like – our mutual friends brought us together at birthday parties, poetry readings, and listening sessions. I made my discomfort clear by deliberately choosing not to engage with Mari, and by making some generally snarky comments about kids in local chat. I am not known for my tact or grace.
Over time, I found that Mari accepted my discomfort and instead of being offended or confronting me about it, she went on with her Second Life. She participated in events and attended shows and just did her thing. And the more I got to know Mari, the more I came to respect her work in SL and her sunny disposition and her desire to make the world a better place.
Mari and I are opposites in every way in Second Life. I am selfish. I do what pleases me and I pay attention to what entertains me. Mari is unselfish, with her time and her spirit. She has done so much work in SL and has done it quietly and with dignity and always in character. I respect Mari and all that she does, and it’s not even a begrudging respect – it’s a genuine appreciation for her place in our world. And in my world.
I am thankful that I came to know Mari, and glad that I learned to let go of my own prejudices long enough to learn to like someone I wanted to dismiss entirely.
But I still hate kids in general.
Which brings me to the challenges I faced in Mari’s home. Children live in Mari’s home. Three children, to be exact, and so it’s a home filled with toys and drawings and cupcakes. I had to really psych myself up for exploring their home, but I needn’t have worried. Mari’s house is precious.
Precious is generally a word I only use for puppies or shot glasses. But it’s true and accurate, her home is precious! It’s perfectly vintage Second Life style. The house sits on a street in a neighborhood on a mainland sim, with neighbors of similar style and size.
Mari tells me this region was originally Linden “First Land” almost two full decades ago. As soon as you land, you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time to 1955 Anytown, Midwest America. It’s so wholesome and perfect, I immediately broke out in hives.
Another challenge that I faced with Mari’s house is that it’s not built to let in the natural light. It’s an old-school build (prims!), and there is something immensely charming about that. And while the build is nothing fancy and the sunshine doesn’t come inside much, the colorful décor makes the whole house feel vibrant and fun. Charming AND precious! (Who am I?!?)
Mari and her siblings, Pygar and Robin, have lived in this home since 2008, which is an incredible amount of time by SL standards. Mari tells me:
“The house, all prim, has weathered many years. Some day, well, we may replace it with something nice, new and mesh. We do regularly update items in the interior, though we try to keep the same general feel. While it isn’t strictly meant to, the home does tend to have a period look and feel, like it came out of the 1950s or 1960s.”
I love tiny things in SL, things that are unnecessary and easily overlooked – a pen on a desk or an open book on a side table. My Second Life is cluttered. Mari’s is also cluttered, but it’s an orderly collection of items that speak of Mari’s travels through SL. Everything has its place and feels perfectly deliberate.
The authenticity of the home makes it difficult to judge too harshly. It really does look and feel like children live here – albiet very tidy children. I found myself charmed by the personal items that reside throughout the house and offer a feeling of happy family.
I asked Mari what she will always have in her SL home:
“Gosh, so many things. I’d say the big, important ones are on my bookcase in my room. Some of the awards and honors I’ve been given, and some of the special things I’ve gotten. The MOST important, and the thing that will never, ever go away is the doll house in my room. Robin made a prim version for me back in 2007, and remade it in mesh a couple years ago. That dollhouse means a whole lot to me.”
My favorite spot was outside. The neighborhood feel of the area reminds me of deep summer as a child, out of school and hot and free to play and roam. One feels like the sky is always blue and the temps always perfect here in Mari’s back yard.
I will always leave you with a quote, dear reader, but today’s quote isn’t from Mari. It’s one of my favorite quotes about children, from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of The Little Prince:
“Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.”
Click any image to view a slideshow of full sized photographs.