Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Adored By Decorators

Yesterday evening I had a reunion with my Aunt Mary, who is visiting London with her second husband as part of a two-month trip through Europe. They cruised over the Atlantic to Amsterdam, went through most of Western Europe and now, after experiencing London in all its raininess, they're about to head home.

Aunt Mary surprised me by bringing along this letter, which I wrote to her in 1978, when I was 11. The funny thing is, I remember writing it -- cutting the pictures out of the J.C. Penney catalog and dreaming about buying all those items for my room. I was especially obsessed by the big dramatic dry grass fronds ("adored by decorators"). I think that ad came from the back of Southern Living magazine, if I remember correctly.

I suppose I was pretty much advertising my gayness with my enthusiasm for interior design. It cracks me up that she saved that letter all these years! (The backstory: I was supposed to go on a Boy Scout trip to Arizona, and I had raised money to pay for my share. But I dreaded it, because I was relentlessly bullied by some of the other boys in the group. The scoutmasters had a very "boys will be boys" attitude about it, and finally my parents said I didn't have to go. I was relieved!)

I never bought any of the items in that letter. (And hey -- what happened to my money?!) What possessed me to send this to my aunt I'm not sure, except that she had been remodeling some rooms in her own house around that time. (Pumpkin orange walls -- very '70s!) I suppose I thought she would identify with my nesting instincts.

Anyway, yesterday evening, I walked Olga up to the hotel in Golders Green where Aunt Mary and her husband Randy were staying with their tour group. (Coincidentally, very close to where we live -- basically just the other side of Hampstead Cemetery, where I walk the dog all the time.) We got a cab back to our house, and they came in for a chat and to meet Dave before we all went to dinner at the Black Lion, our local pub. I got caught up on the lives and activities of my cousins, and we had a fun time.

At about 9 p.m. we bundled them into a cab for the trip back to their hotel, and the driver seemed perplexed about how he was supposed to get them there. (For some reason he was befuddled by the fact that they were staying on a divided highway and he couldn't cross the median. I have no idea why this was an issue.) Anyway, hopefully they made it!

Finally, the photo at left is my long-promised tie-dye portrait, part of the group photo of me and my fellow librarians. I don't want to post the entire picture because I'm not sure how they'd feel about being on my blog, but I'm sure they wouldn't mind if I show you their shirts:

Fun, right? And you can see the '60s themed books we held for the photo. I especially like my coworker Joanna flashing her peace sign!


37paddington said...

That letter is a great artifact from your past! And you seem to have very collegial coworkers. Love seeing your tie dye pictures.

Ms. Moon said...

You remind me of the David Sedaris story where he demanded a vacuum cleaner for his birthday or Christmas or something instead of sports equipment. That is such a great letter to your aunt! Bless your darling little-boy heart!
And wonderful pictures! I didn't even have to click on it to know exactly what book you were holding. Totemic. Perfect.

mary i said...

Thanks for the info on yesterdays post. Love the letter to your Aunt.Ok on the grass plumes,my front side yard is FUll of them! Some are over 8 ft.tall. My Mom called them Pampas grass.I keep some in my house in a vase. Nice picture of you and your co-workers.I always like to know what people look like that I read.Have a great day.

ellen abbott said...

I think the shirts came out well. We seem to use too much die as there is never any white left. My mother kept every letter any of us ever wrote. I've read through some of the early ones from when I visited my aunt during the summers and when I went to summer camp.

Lynne said...

I just now realized that the other day I left a comment on the wrong post. It made no sense in context with the one I posted on, but it would have had I gotten it right. Oh well.

The shirts came out great. I like the cropped shot of your fellow librarians, it adds to the mystique.

As for the pampas grass, I remember once stopping by the side of the highway and chopping some prime stalks down and carting them home. I carried those things around for some time before they fell apart. And yes, it was circa 1974.

Lynne said...

PS: Love the letter. I'm glad your parents didn't make you go!

Sharon said...

That letter to your aunt is priceless and it's wonderful that you got to visit with her while she was there. Back in the 70's, I decorated my house with some of those Pampas grass plumes. It was very fashionable at that time so you were definitely in tune with the latest in d├ęcor.
You did a great job on the tie die shirts. The look fabulous.

The Bug said...

I have a letter to my dad from around the same age (well, actually a hand made birthday card). Kids are so funny.

LOVE the tie dye picture! So cool!