Let me tell you a little something about Maria Louisa Duncan Kelly. She was the wife of James Crawford Kelly and the mother of six children. She was known as an immaculate housekeeper. She was also known to take in kids like I do cats. During her lifetime she fostered so many children that the Kelly family history can't even keep track of all of them, putting "countless others" at the end of a list of names. Some of those foster children might have lived in this house. Certainly her youngest son Marion, and her little grand-daughter Maggie (taken in after the death of Maggie's mother) lived here. In the back yard was a stable. Kids, a husband, a horse, and no Shark floor cleaner. And she was an immaculate housekeeper.
I think before now, Mrs. Kelly might have been giving me a little slack because she knew I was working my hiney off to make her house again be "one of the prettiest houses in town" as the Lexington newspaper described it in 1908. After all, she stopped her tappity-tappin' the entire time I was working on the exterior of the house. But now...now I think the good Irishwoman has taken a bit of a look around. And she is most unhappy. I imagine her walking through the house, fists planted on her hips, frowning, clucking her tongue at the dust and clutter and cat hair dust bunnies. "Would you look at that, James?" I can hear her saying. "There, under the dining room table, why it's enough fur to be makin' another cat! And when will she wash those windows?! Look at the clothes stacked on that table. The poor girl doesn't know how to put a thing away. Saints preserve us!" I imagine that's about the time she started knocking on the door between the parlor and my bedroom. "All this mess, and the child lays abed until noon! Wake up, girl, wake up!"
Maria Louisa Duncan Kelly has been dead almost a hundred years but she intimidates me. So I cleaned my house. Cooped up inside because of rain all weekend, I really, really cleaned it. Not just company clean, but Maria Kelly clean. And today, no knocking. Coincidence? I think not.