-That was one kitchen cupboard door that never stayed shut 😉
-I had a little garden on the roof in the summer. I grew squash, peppers and had few healthy basil plants!
-I lived at the red door after core members moved out. For me, it was a quiet place, a retreat, a chat and chew meet-up, and occasionally a place for movie and game nights. It was memorial space of “what was” with core member’s artwork gracing the walls, forgotten movies and books on the shelves of resident’s past, a shed with buckets of copper and tools for making crosses. I was a part of many attempts to clean up the space and bring back some life, but it still always felt a little empty, dark, neglected, and lifeless. I’m hopeful for the Euclid crew to have a fresh start with a new accessible home to call their own together as assistants and core members!
By Brooke Lacock-Nisly
When I was a student and came to visit L’Arche GWDC for a week over my spring break, I enjoyed dinner around the Euclid dinner table with Sonny, Gene and Glen. After dinner, Gene beckoned a few of us upstairs. He led us down the hall to his room, where he gingerly opened his door just a crack, slipped in, and caught his cat. He introduced Milton to us with pride and enthusiasm. I felt I’d seen a treasure.
Even though I’m not much of a TV watcher myself, I loved to stay after dinner, sink into the couches and listen to Mo’s running commentary on NCIS. It was even better when I could start a pillow fight, or when a “ghost” untied my shoe.
Sometimes Nickolai Stefko would steal someone’s shoe and through it outside. There was always some mischief going on as the night wound down.
When I was working in the office and living with my parents out in Maryland, I would sometimes stay the night in the loft room at the Red Door if I was out late and it was just too much to go out the MD and come back to DC in the morning. People at Euclid House always made me very, very welcome.
At the dinner table Mo would often look up at Andrew and smile. “Big eyes!” he’d say with a gentle tease. Andrew loved it.
One time Bob Jacobs made savory oatmeal for dinner. This did not go over well.
I’ve never felt as free to bring my singing anywhere as I did around the Euclid dinner table after prayer. I think Andrew’s big smile created space for me to do that.
Dottie told the story of an inspector coming in and finding one of the house’s cats in the kitchen and ordering a cat door be installed. Then the next year an inspector declared the door a fire hazard and ordered it removed!
The front room in the basement had many lives. It housed files. It hosted massages given as David King, our accountant, went through massage school. It was a container for sacred conversation as Dennis O’Connor provided spiritual accompaniment.
By Mary Ruppert
The Red Door
after 33 years of this living together
By Sito Sasieta
I remember screaming goooool!
when México scored
in the 2014 world cup
on the summer day I arrived.
the veins above your brow
when you were short
of breath. I remember the alarms
of each day & that pink-orange
me keep it all straight.
I remember how
at the crack of every dawn,
asking, what are we gonna do now?
I remember the watercolors
that streaked across
your door, that claimed you liked to stir
up trouble. I remember that green
sticky note in the kitchen—
Mo, you’re an artist extraordinaire.
“I know that!” Oh, how you grumped
& hollered & swore & taught
us words worthy of soap
in the mouth. How you loved
to love by threatening
Keep quiet, four eyes!
You & I, we lived
a life in this dim
windowless rowhouse. Upstairs
was the snake that did when the plunge
would not. I remember spilling
the urinal on your leg. I remember
your handwriting with those Pilot G2
pens. I remember the napkins
on your dresser the bed bug leg
protectors the creaking
of the uneven steps the summer
nights when you came down
without a shirt for liquor
& cheese, how we watched
sitting on a plane,
how our family
would feud, especially me & you.
I remember tearing off
of resentment. It was afternoon
& I said I felt
I was doing all the dishes.
I have learned
some things that shouldn’t be so difficult
You & I, we had to move out.
I held your arm. You held your
bitar, your banjo, your pillow
your thirty plus years, right here.
We stumbled down the street. We bit
the concrete & all was bitter
until you baptized us
with the water
from your mug.
I placed the black mat
by your new bed & I heard
speaking in Prairie Dawn. I tell you
I used to dream
in Prairie Dawn.
many-a-thought at Team Meeting.
Not because I wanted to. Thank God
my hard-wiring. You extracted
the copper from my body.
You gave us the time
to say my name is ______
& I am
an alcoholic. I learned to pray,
which is a way of saying that I learned
to sing. Who of us did not sardine
on those blue
sofas? On the bottom
of the pile, you cackled.
You signed more. Everyone came
for Thanksgiving. Your papi
made gravy. Mine made guacamole. You said,
I like yo’ daddy. I like yo’ sister.
I made the turkey. You made the derby
pie. You called us old turkeys. You painted
a turkey that we framed
above the toilet. Your fingers
signed ‘turkey’ & we all returned
for seconds. We all stuffed
stuffing into our sternum
until our hearts were sober
& lucid. We prayed.
Once, when our life was in boxes,
we put a tiny tea candle
in an orange juice lid. Once,
you slammed a mound of whipped
cream in my face. You threw
a watch at me. You grit
your teeth. You pushed us away.
You pulled her tight. You binged
Home Alone in French
for Colonoscopies. We hid ten
alarms in Baldy’s room. We set them five
minutes apart. He charged
down the steps
onto the tupperwares of liquid
placed carefully for him.
Or so I had hoped.
But you & I, we did slide
onto the roof. We stargazed
& didn’t tell Don & didn’t
tell HR that we smoked
a baby cigar in North Carolina. I remember
on your shoulder
& the tree you painted in the basement.
Mostly, I remember that you stayed.
When you broke
your ankle when you birthed
your boy when you
COPD’d when you didn’t sleep
when you used a walker
for the first time
in a home full of steps when
belt wasn’t tight
when your eye
was swollen blue when you knew
you’d probably never fly
again, and then, when we hid
the airplane in a box
when we placed
a bow on top when you flagged
down the ambulance
when you feigned a sore
knee when you shuddered
& when we rushed
from the Emergency Room
to BWI. How we barely caught
our flight to France. How after 3 years
I heard you say, for the first time,
I love you.
I despised your presence
on a day away
when we painted your room
in the colors
of the Washington Football Team
& you didn’t say thanks
when I wanted to refit
the engagement ring & you wanted
You & I, we tried to serenade
with poorly sung lullabies
but it didn’t matter. You pointed
your finger at one of them & made everything
clear. I remember when you fainted
in the shower. I remember
when you peered out the back
of the silver van, & said, look, look
a pretty flower. I remember Elvis
& Al Greene & that boy—
Mary Kasper. I remember Mary Lou
& Lou-eee. I remember all the Melanies,
all the Marys you called Mare.
of MARs. I remember
Peanut Butter & Lasalle
& how you’d shut
the back gate
because no one else would do it.
Now, you’re gazing upwards. You’re showing
a sliver of the moon. I remember
how you named a friend
Finally, I remember when you slipped
on the ice by McDonalds. How
your shriveled & rugged body
shivered in the back
of an ambulance, alone,
speeding to an ER. How a doctor
sent you home
in a taxi. How the man in the cab
gave you candy. How this made your day.
How, bloodied & bandaged,
you sauntered up the front steps.
How you pressed
the discharge papers
into my hand. How none of this
was part of the plan. How the address line
had no numbers & read
the Red Door.