There was an old lady who lived in a shoe/ She had so many children she didn’t know what to do–
I didn’t know people actually live inside windmills, like inside lighthouses. There is a waiting list of families who want to move in. Jerry and I have conflicting memories as to whether they can live there free but in any case they must keep the mill working. This picture of a miller’s family of 14, probably from around the turn of the last century, was on a wall of the Kinderdijk windmill we went through.
I pointed out to the tour guide that the children were all bald and pale–iron deficiency or something, I started to suggest. But she interrupted me to point to one or two children who had hair and said the others had hair, too; it was just too light to see–
I didn’t mean to make a criticism, just an observation.
Inside the cramped space of the vertical home are more staircases, ladders, corners, tiny wedges of floor and secret passages than Anne Frank’s house. People from our bus were going upstairs here and downstairs there; we were meeting ourselves coming and going like a living illustration of a multi-dimensional Mobius strip. Gave me vertigo. But I climbed to the very top, where the throbbing of the giant screw and the blinding, colorfully changing lights assaulted my senses and sent me cautiously backing down again.
A powerfully whirling wooden shaft went all the way down through the middle of the lighthouse to a giant revolving gear.
It seemed a perilous place to raise children, like raising them in the engine room of a ship, with so many staircases to tumble down, not to mention the central shaft, and machinery to get mangled in. Outside, canals to fall into. . .
Every few seconds a sweeping blade guillotined the view:
Spare boots for other large families who may have outgrown their shoes or their windmills.