Does it matter that I’ve never actually been inside? Does it matter that it started as the fantasy of a ten-year-old little girl? Does it matter that I had the main character of my novel live there?
If you think it does, then I’ll tell you about my love: The St. Paul Court Apartments, 3120 St. Paul Street.
I discovered this beauty in the 1950s, when I was sent to the drug store, the grocery store, the Blue Jay Restaurant to pick up items for my great aunt who lived in the unforgettable house at 2900 St. Paul. I flew down those few blocks on my red scooter, such were the days then. And I always stopped to look. Always. The way it was set back from the street, the fountain, what child who read grown-up novels, stories of career women living in New York, wouldn’t translate those fantasies into something at hand. That’s what I did. That building represented my dreams, though I wouldn’t have been able to tell anyone that. Just that I loved that building; just that I stood in front of it every chance I got; just that I knew that, one day, somehow, I would live there.
Well, I didn’t, though now I realize I could have. Actually, I forgot about that dream until a few years ago. It came back to me as I sat wondering how I would transition the main character in my book from a naïve girl to a woman. Fittingly, she moved into the St. Paul Court Apartments. And the rest is history.
Cynthia Strauff is the author of three historical novels set in Baltimore. Information about her and her work can be found on her website: cynthiastrauff.com