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So, what’s for dessert? The evening dinner when the ceiling came crashing down.

A note on Bertha McPherson’s yellow legal pad begins, “A large piece of the plaster ceiling of the parlor fell at dinner time on the evening of June 24, 1974.

In 1933 Bertha earned a Master’s degree from the Cambridge School of Landscape and Domestic Architecture operated by Smith College and she became one of the first female architects in Connecticut. As the letter continues, her training shows.

“…it seems quite certain that the joists were exposed when the house was built and the underflooring of the room above would have been seen between them…” Or, to quote Paul Simon,

“one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor.”

She continues…”it was impossible to expose the joists again as many had been mutilated to put on the plaster ceiling at some later date…”

And she reports on the reconstruction that “put on sheetrock using fiberglass insulation around the steam pipes to absorb any moisture from them which previously had loosened the plaster and caused the accident…”

As to be expected, Bertha handled this ‘accident’ with grace, intelligence, knowledge, and good humor. We remain in her debt.

Image 2: The exposed joists in the Mather Homestead parlor 1974.

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