Unpeel The Layers


If schools had a personality (and they do in the words of my psychologist husband Alan) then the school that our children attend has a personality that is gold/blue. Now the blue personality type is people driven, it is all about heart and soul, in short it’s loving and the gold is structured and process driven.

On the grounds of this gold/blue school sits an old double storied house – they call it The White House. She looks to be about 80/90years old, she’s solid and has determinedly remained.

This structure to me is the heart of the school.
I love to look at this old lady through the trees and imagine what she looked like in her heyday.
She really has seen better days and I know that it will take a more than a bit of money to restore her.

The White House is surrounded by new, practical, clinker brick classrooms. As I pick up conversations from the moms, The White House is quite a despised object and most wish her levelled. The thought twists in my stomach as I listen.

When I look at her compared to the new buildings, it’s as though she breathes and they don’t. This big mamma has soul, she has stories to tell, she has history behind her large sash windows…

I dream of arriving with fistfuls of money and refurbishing her. Gleaming floors, sturdy roof, paint, pots of herbs growing on her cement stoep. Children hanging around her, reading and playing.
I hear music drifting from the upper floor and chess being taught to the sounds of Vivaldi.
Whenever I have dared to say that I love her, my words are met with looks of stupor.

This is all about how we view the world.
Am I right and they wrong?
But now I have an opportunity to voice my thoughts and to me it’s all about the art of possibility.

It is about how we view the world.
It is about the creative eye.
It is about seeing beyond the skin and looking into the heart of something.

So many people, objects and situations have beauty lying just beneath the skin of ugliness.
The White House is one of those.

If they knocked her down, they’d be knocking down immense potential and large chunks of history.
They’d be knocking down the only structure with a bit of soul.

Potential is a latent quality or ability that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness. That’s what the dictionary says and I like it!

To me she grounds the campus, to others she is an eyesore.
How many things in our lives have beauty lying just underneath the ugliness?

It is easy to view the world with the critical eye. It takes your creativity to peel back the layers and find the gem.

May you use your creativity.
May you peel those layers and find the gems, be it at work, in your relationships or in your home – and with your eyes, heart and head; practise the art of possibility.

This is me, Tania Ahlfeldt and I love The White House.


3 thoughts on “Unpeel The Layers

  1. I used to sit during breaks in that house with my best friend while we played piano and sung to pass the time. I loved ‘The White House’!

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