Yes, Virginia There Is A Santa Claus

In 1897 Virginia O’Hanlon began to doubt there was a Santa Claus because her friends had told her that he did not exist. She wrote a letter to The Sun, a prominent New York City newspaper at the time. Her father told her “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” One of the paper’s editors, Francis Church, was thus given the opportunity to rise above the simple question and address the philosophical issues behind it. Church, a war correspondent during the Civil War, wrote his response during a time of great suffering and a corresponding lack of hope and faith in society at that time. The message in this story has become so moving to many people who have read it, that more than a century later it remains the most reprinted editorial ever to run in any newspaper in the English language.

Tammy Dalton, author of Building Moxie blog begs the question: “Is interior design, as we know it, dead?” which is preceded with a whole litany of supporting info regarding this sad view of the industry. So, Tammy, I’ve adapted Church’s editorial and rewrote it to reflect my faith in the future of the Interior Design Profession:

Virginia (Tammy), your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they read. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Tammy, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant. In his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Tammy, Interior Design will continue to exist as certainly as love and generosity and devotion will continue to exist, and you know that they should and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Interior Designers. It would be as dreary as if there were no Tammies. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We would have no enjoyment, especially in sense and sight. The light that Interior Design practice fills the world with would be be extinguished.

No more Interior Design! Well you might as well not believe in architecture! We may be seeing a severe decline in the practice and purse strings tighter than ever. Businesses are closing their doors right and left. And the very definition of Interior Design and what it means to practice it is changing forever… Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and place the rug, toss the pillows and specify the wall color and create views like Interior Designers. Is it all real? Ah, Tammy, in all this world there is nothing else as real and abiding.

No more Interior Design! Thank goodness it exists and will live on forever (in some form or other). A thousand years from now, Tammy, nay ten times ten thousand years from now, it will continue to make glad the heart of homeowners and apartment dwellers everywhere…
Sorry, Tammy, I don’t mean to come across condescending as in the tone of Church’s editorial to little Virginia… consider please their age difference and social mores of the time. Though from your picture, I can see that I am a bit older than you (actually a lot) –guessing probably older than your mom too. Thinking of Kathy Bates in “Fried Green Tomatoes” –“I’m older and I’ve got more insurance!” 😉 I too have never lived through tougher economic times as these but I had a dad (he just recently passed away at 87) that lived through the Great Depression as a child. I remember my grandmother who was born in 1887 would never throw away anything. She used to rinse and reuse plastic bread bags and paper towels. She helped support the family by baking pies during The Depression while my grandfather was away working in a placer mine trying to eek out a few bucks to send home. There wasn’t a profession called Interior Design at that time really except for the burgeoning movie industry that’s set designers actually brought the idea of home decoration to the masses. By the 1950’s when TV programming began to influence the average middle-class household, the opportunity developed to ‘professionalize’ home decoration.

Thus the field of Interior Design and Decoration is not a very old one though interior decoration has existed since people started drawing pictures of animals on cave walls. Even so, it is constantly evolving and changing to reflect the values, tastes and economy of the time. So is interior design as we know it dead? Yeah… it always is. It’s a mirror that reflects our times in the form of a professional practice that is about the architecture, use and decoration of the spaces in which we live. If the practice of interior design as you know it is dead, maybe you need to learn what aspect of the practice is currently alive and adapt to it. Life is a learning process. Do some soul searching to find out what it is about the industry that draws you to it. Is it about being creative or is it about making a lot of money? Maybe you need to bus tables awhile (as a lot of “dramatic artists” have found necessary) while you are developing your “art.” Like all creative endeavors that are fueled by passion, you sometimes need to sacrifice creature comfort (at least temporarily). Keep the faith baby –This (crappy economy) too shall pass!


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