The Living Room - July 1969

This picture illustrates my mother's penchant for collections. At various times in my childhood I can remember her avidly collecting tiny silver spoons, Avon bottles, souvenir dishes of the fifty states, dolls, stamps and John F. Kennedy memorabilia. She would invest untold amounts of money and time in each, only to sell them at ruinous prices at garage sales later on when she tired of them. Perhaps the truly representative picture of Madeleine M. Clark in this respect was taken when she was a young woman. The photograph shows her proudly smiling over a tabletop literally covered with tiny statues, salt and pepper shakers and little objets d'art ("geegaws and dust collectors," Dad would call them, "the French love that crap," he'd explain). She unloaded that collection long before I was born.

The curio cabinet was used to display Mom's demi-tasse teacup collection, which was later sold to a grumpy old bag at a garage sale (Dad was annoyed at having to make her a cup of coffee while she carefully inspected each and every piece for flaws). We sold the cabinet to a lady who used it to house her Avon bottles and Hummel figurines. As it turned out, we sold the curio cabinet just in time: it toppled over in the great San Fernando Valley earthquake of February 1971 and destroyed every umbrella-toting fraulein and clipper ship cologne decanter in it. I remember getting a mournful phone call from the lady, hinting that she expected reimbursement or something.

I must mention the antique gold panpipe-playing satyr on the table in the corner. It was made of antiqued plaster, and was one of Dad's acquisitions. He got it at yet another swap meet. I guess he thought it went with the Mediterranean faux marble end table. There he sat, squatting and blowing into his pipes for a number of months before Mom gave him, too, the heave-ho into the back yard. I threw D-cell batteries at him and broke him to pieces. (Old D-cells were a favorite backyard ammunition, especially when propelled by a tennis racket.)

Notice the antique gold drape fragment, carelessly hung to conceal an immense Norge room air conditioner that was precariously perched in the window frame. Every now and then some kid would sneak by and knock the supporting 2 X 4s out, and we'd have to remount the thing, a job I never looked forward to because the air conditioner weighed a ton.

Next photo

Home Page